In November 2015, I joined MailOnline and created their first Windows Phone and Windows 10 app. It was a standard XAML app following MVVM pattern etc etc. The design was tried and tested first on iOS and then on Android. There were discussion on a clean new design and being the smallest platform, new design Windows 10 app were approved in March 2016. Fast forward 9 months and Windows 10 app rework has been pushed to store today with a limited rollout 5% users
I mentioned that the design is different – it follows the curated style on the website closely. Not only that I have followed a new style myself – I created this app as an SPA (Single Page Application). With WinRT API page caching is disabled by default and maintaining scroll positions etc is PITA. In past I have seen ListView behaving oddly when page caching is turned on. To get away from this, I created this app as an SPA. No forward backward navigation – its more like show / hide correct content. Its a big experiment on my side. Above and beyond all else two libraries played key role in creating this app
ReactiveUI My first go at using RX ever. It has made many things so simple. I still use event wiring in a few places but I will try to remove those over coming versions.
UWP Community Toolkit In previous version trying to tune the caching was a pain. In this version thanks to the toolkit I have multiple caches (image, video and json) and image ready for offline usage.
I should thank my colleagues George Medve, Jan Knotek and VK. I should also thank my ex-colleagues Zeno Foltin, Kristian Angyal and Rui Peres. They all helped out in many ways including happily getting trolled in the process.
Here are some of the screenshots.
Its an adaptive app and adapts to mobile devices.
There much more that needs to be done. This is only the beginning.
Did I just say Windows Universal ? Sure that came and went with Windows 8.1.. If I am still talking about it… I mostly likely do not have anything useful to add. I am going to any ways.. Haters are gonna hate.
If you are contemplating a brand new Windows 10 app targeting Windows 10 device families like Windows.Desktop / Windows.Mobile etc you most likely have a Windows 8.1 or Windows Phone 8.1 app or both (or Windows Universal). If you don’t then you like many have been attracted by the idea of massive growth in Windows 10 install base since launch in August.
Yes Windows 10 will make it and your app will finally have a big big market however that day isn’t today. Windows Phone 8.1 still constitutes 90% of Windows on Mobile devices. Windows 10 on desktops is same as Windows 8.1 out there today. Yes a big chunk of them will eventually convert – maybe but they still haven’t.
App usage is important and growth is important and for that reason if nothing else you shouldn’t leave existing Windows 8.1 (phone included) out of this equation. Let me give you a personal example.
We (me working along with my employer) released our official app on Windows 10 Mobile to coincide with launch of Lumia 950 and Lumia 950XL on the 2nd of December. We started getting installs and reviews from around the world. I had left out Windows Phone 8.1 version because of a bug I couldn’t put my hand on. After a few days of messing around, we released Windows Phone 8.1 app on 15th December (17:00 hours). By end of day of 17th Windows Phone 8.1 accounted for 62.2% of the users and exceeded 70% on 18th.
Less than 3 days and 70% user base – don’t make them wait. Serve one serve them all.
Our app available on Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 10 devices and can be downloaded Windows Store
All said and done I am hoping to follow my own advice about Window 8.1 users soon.