Problematic sign up process with WP7 dev

I recently purchansed a Nokia Lumia 800 and was very excited with the prospects of developing apps on it. I probably did a dumb thing by not doing some information gathering before I actually purchased the mobile. When I first got the cell, I installed WP7 development tools on my machine. Created my first ‘Hello world’ app and was all excited to run it and things went far far down south from there.

First thing – The WP7 emulator needs the developer key. The error message is quite cryptic. It does not say something like ‘Please enter your developer key as retrieved from AppHub’ but instead gives an error code. Alright, I googled the error and figured out that I need to get the key from AppHub. I set off to sign up on it…

Second thing goes wrong. I realized I need to pay to become a developer. WTF!!! Alright! Im ready to pay. Lets get it done with. I go to the payment details and my country is selected as US which is not my country now, but it was an year ago. I don’t have any more money in my US credit cards so I wanted to change the country, but whatdyaknow…. You can’t. Now how am I supposed to pay?

I go update my windows live account and try again. This time I get an error:

Unable to complete your request
We cannot complete your request now, please try again later.
MessageĀ 40001
Hmmm… Alright. Very helpful indeed! Exactly what I was looking for!!! Idiots.
So I googled this error and it looks like I need to email Microsoft and ‘hope’ for an answer. So I did it. I sent a very detailed email.
I reply I got was to update the payment information on Xbox.com! Alright. Microsoft has definitely not thought about a proper distributed DB for their accounts. Ok… Im still going to try to get this thing working… I deal more with broken stuff than proper functional stuff in my line of work. I open my XBox account (which by the way gets created automatically, I guess, when you register your WP7 phone) and look for the country. Hmm… The messed up thing is you can’t bloody change it!!!
Now the solution is to create a new WindowsLive account that is registered in India, then reset my phone to its factory settings and log in using the new credentials… And lose all my previous settings… What bull!
I like WP7 and things… But – “Microsoft… You need to get your act together!! X( “

Mobile emulators

Lately, I’ve been taking a lot of interest into mobile development. I have started developing some Silverlight apps for Windows Phone 7. I plan to upgrade my mobile development skills to include Java, for Android apps, and iOS, for iPhone apps, at some point in the future. (Hopefully that is. For the lazy bum that I am, I am very optimistic in my planning). While I wait to update my skill sets, I need to do something to make my apps available on mobile platforms other than Windows Phone. So creating a mobile version of the web app is the current solution.

I recently developed some test HTML pages and I wanted to test out how it looks on my mobile. To do this test here are my options:

1. Host the site content on some publicly available server (like this… ShishirRao.com šŸ™‚ )

But this is a boring process. I feel sleepy when I open FileZilla. Besides, I’ve messed around with hosted content in all wrong ways before. So I would do my best to prevent doing this with anything other than code ready for production.

2. Host it locally, connect to a LAN connection with WiFi and open the IP:Port of my machine’s Apache/IIS.

This works very well actually. This is my favorite mode of development actually. However I often end up in situations without a WiFi connection. (Like my office where I’m not supposed to be developing mobile apps for my amusement… Or writing this post… {Evil grin})

3. Use a Mobile Emulator on the machine I’m developing stuff on.

This is another good solution. There are several standalone apps and virtual boxes available that emulate mobile browsers for various phones. This is a great way to test my locally hosted app as well as try out the looks of my app on other browsers. (It is very important to see how browsers interpret your HTML. With the advent of HTML 5 and CSS 3.0 and the millions of mobile browsers… ok hundreds… the amount of mismatch in the way a sites are rendered have started to vary greatly) Most importantly, I test out the way it shows up on Safari, Opera and IE. That is for iPhone, Blackberry/Android and Windows Phone.

Here is a link for the windows phone emulator. Nice app it is.

But here’s the best link I’ve found – MOBILE EMULATORS. A neat collection of the emulators available right now.

I almost started making a list of mobile emulators myself, but after seeing the neat job this author has done, I just want to share a link to his page. Hopefully he updates it with new emulators whenever they come around.