Category Archives: UWP

Auto Added by WPeMatico

Visual Studio 2017 Update 4 makes it easy to modernize your desktop application and make it store ready

Last year with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, we introduced the Desktop Bridge to provide desktop applications a path to modernize with the Universal Windows Platform, and to distribute via the Windows Store and the Microsoft Store for Business to all Windows 10 PCs, including devices that are running the Windows 10 S configuration.
The primary developer tool at the time was the Desktop App Converter, a tool that converts your current app installer into a Windows app package (.appx file), which can be submitted to the Windows Store or deployed via your distribution mechanism of choice. With Update 4 for Visual Studio 2017 we now have great support directly in Visual Studio for your Windows desktop application projects (WPF, Winforms, Win32, etc.). With the new tools you can now as you develop them in VS by simply hitting F5!
Let me walk you through an example, step-by-step. I am starting out with this Winforms app that showcases various chart controls. It’s been created several years ago in an older version of VS against .NET 4. Now my goal is to release it in the Windows Store and incrementally modernize it. Here is how easy it is now with Update 4 for Visual Studio 2017.

Step 1 – Add Windows App Packaging project to the solution
Before we start we need to make sure our desktop application project is loaded in Visual Studio 2017 and builds without error. Then in the next step we want to package our application as a Windows App Package (.appx file) so our Winforms app can take advantage of all the same Windows 10 app deployment features that are available to UWP apps: clean install & uninstall, seamless updates, Store distribution and many more. To do this, we will take advantage of the new tooling features introduced in Update 4 for Visual Studio 2017. We are adding a new project of type “Windows Application Packaging Project” to our solution:

Now we need to specify our min/target versions…

…and let the packaging  project know which project output to include in the package. To do so we right-click on the “Applications” node and set a reference to our Winforms project – done!

Important! Select the “DistributionPackage” project as your startup project. Now hit F5 and watch how your app gets packaged, deployed and launched as a Desktop Bridge app. You can start testing and debugging in this new execution context. If you set the Winforms project as startup project and hit F5, you can still test and debug the unpackaged version of your application
Step 2 – Configure app for Windows Store release
Our app is already running as a Desktop Bridge app now and we have successfully tested and debugged it in this configuration. Next we just need to put some finishing touches on the package so it integrates nicely with the Windows 10 Shell (tiles, badges, etc.) and to make sure it conforms to the Store submission requirements. First thing, we need to replace the default visual assets that come with the project template with our real, application-specific assets. This is very easy now in Visual Studio 2017 with the Visual Assets Manager in the package manifest editor:

To prepare for our Store submission we need to create the application in the Windows Dev Center and reserve our application name, provide screenshots for the store front, set the price, age ratings, etc. If you are not planning to distribute via the Windows Store, you can skip this step.

Last thing we need to do before we can release our app to the public is create a package bundle that is ready to deploy and Store-compliant. This bundle can contain binaries for different architectures, resources for different locales as well as the symbols for our binaries so we can later make sense of any crash reports in the Dev Center or Mobile Center. This can be done for Desktop Bridge apps directly from Visual Studio now, just like you would do for any UWP app:

As part of creating the packages we also run the certification tests and then submit the package to the Dev Center for certification and publishing. You can try the result of my submission out now and install the sample app on your machine from the Store by clicking on the badge below – source code for the app is available for your reference here.

What else does this enable for developers?
Aside from distributing and monetizing via Windows Store, your app now enjoys the modern deployment capabilities built into Windows 10. You don’t need to build an installer anymore, updates are automatic and differential. Uninstalls are guaranteed to be clean. Moreover, since your app is now in the Windows 10 App Model, you have access to UWP APIs and features, such as live tiles, Cortana integration, background tasks etc. Another important benefit specifically for Windows Forms apps is the new high DPI support in .NET 4.7, which is included in the Windows Creators Update (1703). Our sample app here is taking advantage of this new support, by following the steps outlined in this article.
And there is more
Talking about installers, did you know that your app package is also your installer on Windows 10? Users can just click to install it, as long as it’s signed with a certificate that is trusted on the target device. This enables you to distribute your modernized desktop application in the way that’s right for your scenario, without having to go through the Store – e.g. for LOB applications in an enterprise. Learn more about it here.

Conclusion
Getting your desktop application development project ready for Windows Store submission is easy now with Visual Studio 2017 Update 4. Once converted to a Windows App Package your app can take advantage of all the Windows 10 platform capabilities and start using new APIs and features on Windows 10. Here are some resources for more details:
Desktop Bridge docs
Desktop Bridge samples
App Modernization video on Channel 9
Are you ready to submit your desktop application to the Windows Store? Let us know about it here, and we will help you through the process!

Adobe XD CC: A New High-Performance UWP App for UI/UX Design

It’s a big day today – after a year of public preview, Adobe released Adobe XD 1.0 on Windows 10 and Mac: a new tool for user experience creators to design, prototype and share interactive designs for apps and websites.

When it comes to designing anything, it’s important to have design tools that support a fast and fluid process – one where you can iterate rapidly through a design, test, and build process: designing at the speed of thought. For interaction design, creative professionals have often used tools that excel at creating images of screens, but these tools that created static images have always missed something: transitions and interactions that demonstrate the experience. Putting an interactive prototype in front of stakeholders that they can try out is now a crucial part of the process, and being able to iterate on design rapidly based on the feedback from the prototype is essential. Being able to create a prototype without any coding is mandatory for this process. Almost a year ago, I wrote about a new app that fits these requirements, when Adobe released a public preview of Adobe Experience Design CC (XD) on Windows and Mac. Since then, Adobe was able to iterate quickly, releasing monthly updates of Adobe XD, responding to early customer feedback and an ambitious list of features that interaction designers wanted. We’re excited to share that today, Adobe XD as part of the Creative Cloud, is available today on Windows and Mac. Here are a few other reasons that that this is such an important release.
XD is a Universal Windows Platform App
Available through Adobe’s Creative Cloud subscription, XD takes advantage of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) to deliver a modern, high performance, professional design tool. Whether you’re working with one artboard or a hundred, XD gives you the same fast performance. The rendering surface is accelerated by DirectX and the UI is implemented in XAML, C++ and JavaScript.  Using this architecture, Adobe was able to have maximum code reuse between their Mac and Windows versions yet take advantage of the most advanced, platform specific UI layout technology. During XD’s preview period, Adobe was able to iterate quickly, leveraging a proprietary automated testing framework for much of their code built on the Windows Application Driver. The end result is a high-performance, stable, professional tool.
Design, Prototype and Share in One Tool
In creating Adobe XD, the team thought of the whole Design/Test/Build workflow that interactive designers go through, and made an easy-to-use tool for designing experiences, creating rapid prototypes and sharing them with others to get their feedback. With Adobe XD, you can rapidly create screens with standard tools as well as utilizing tools that have been specially designed for UX designers. Repeat Grid, for instance, allows users to quickly create content grids based on a single element – helping designers to simulate the type of content they often have to create. The Assets Panel helps users reuse important design elements such as colors, character styles and symbols – so that making changes across an entire document is fast and easy. At 1.0 XD is also connected to Creative Cloud Libraries, allowing users to leverage content across documents and teams. You can also add artboards for common screen sizes ranging from Android Wear to Surface Pro.

Switching from design to prototype mode is a single click, and you can quickly connect artboards to communicate the flow and paths of multiscreen apps.

Once your prototype is ready for feedback, you can generate shareable web link of the prototype or embed it onto webpage or supported application. Since my team uses Microsoft Teams to collaborate, I can create a tab page in Teams using that link to share the design with my colleagues – they can interact with the prototype in Teams and we can chat about it there.

Designer and Developer Resources
In addition to the tools available, Adobe XD has a number of UI resources available for designers to use while creating, including Apple iOS, Google Material Design, Microsoft Windows, and Microsoft Office UI Fabric. Our Office and Windows teams worked closely with the Adobe XD team to deliver a great set of UI components that designers and developers can use to craft their user experiences. We will continue to work closely in the future as we help developers and designers take advantage of the Fluent Design System.

This Is Just the Beginning
Having worked closely with the Adobe XD team for the past two years, this is a very exciting day. The designers, engineers, testers and product managers that I have met on the Adobe XD team are passionate about their product and are eager to hear your feedback as you try it out, use it and craft the next generation of user experiences. While today marks the 1.0 release of Adobe XD, the team has big plans ahead, including improvements for the way designers and developers work together. Read more about where they’re headed here.
You can download XD as a free trial or as part of Creative Cloud today. Adobe will also be hosting a live stream on UX design from Oct. 24-26. Watch and interact with Daniel Alegria, a Microsoft UX designer in action using XD on Windows. See the schedule and more content here.
Adobe has delivered a new, high-performance, UWP app that is useful to designers, and you should try it out today.

Thanks for attending September’s Windows Community Standup

Thanks everyone for attending and asking some fantastic questions. We strive to answer all questions and be transparent with both what we are building and why we are building them. Kevin’s next Windows Community Standup will be on October 10th, 2017 at Windows Developer Day!
Kevin showed off how .NET Standard 2.0 works in a Universal Windows Platform Application by showing SqlClient code being used directly from a classic WinForm application, dragging those files into the UWP app’s code base and just running the application!
Kevin also showed off some of the advances inside Windows Ink that developers can take advantage of today. Shape recognition and much more!

More Resources for Universal Windows Platform Games with Fall Xbox One Update

Since the advent of consoles, developers have asked for ways to create games for one platform that you could run anywhere. With the release of the Expanded Resources feature in the Windows Fall Creators Update, we are taking the industry closer to that goal than it has ever been before. Now, developers will automatically have access to 6 exclusive cores, 5 GB of ram and full access to the GPU!
When Windows 10 launched in July 2015, Windows and Xbox converged to a single operating system for game development and introduced the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application model.
UWP apps created for Windows 10 PCs and Xbox games created for Xbox One could be bought and run side by side on consoles, but only in a specialized environment created for lightweight entertainment experiences.
Coming this fall, UWP games published through the Windows Store to Xbox One consoles such as Fallout Shelter by Bethesda Softworks, games in the ID@Xbox program, or games in the Xbox Live Creators Program will be able to access the expanded resources. UWP game developers get both a performance boost and a much larger sandbox in which to Dream, Build, and Play.
Team Xbox is excited to see how creators take advantage of this extra power to bring even more variety and creativity to Xbox One. ANYONE can become a creator for Xbox One, get started here.
*D3D12-Based UWP Games get access to the full power of the GPU

Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge Updates

When we launched the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge in June, we had big plans for not just a contest, but a way for indie game developers to connect with each other and show off their skills and experience. We didn’t set out to replace existing communities, but maybe we could create a little something that would complement other systems. Our goal is always to help indie developers be as successful as possible, and Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge is just one thing we thought up.
Before I begin, I do want to say that this article is long. I’ve got a lot of cool and important information to share, and rather than break it up into individual posts and have you search for it in multiple places, I’m throwing it all down in one place. Come back and refer to this page as often as you need to. Ok, let’s get started!
State of Play
By the look of it, that contest is generating some great interest from you all. To date there are over 2,000 indie developers from all walks of life signed up on the competition site, and we know there are more to come. And what do I mean by “walks of life”? Well, we have students, we have professional developers trying their hand at building a game, we have dedicated indie studios who want to showcase their talents.
But it doesn’t stop there. We have indie developers from all over the world too. My home country, Australia, is represented, as is the US and the UK. But how about Bangladesh? Yep. Austria? Yep. Greece, Sweden, France, Brazil… The list goes on. Dream.Build.Play is turning out to be a truly global experience.
That’s all great and all, you say, but what about these big plans you mentioned?
Glad you asked.
The Big Plans
This month, we launched phase two of the Dream.Build.Play website. It takes the contest and amps up the stuff you can do with it in a big way, but we’ve tried to do it in a thoughtful way that will help you out for other things too.
As of now, you can log into the Dream.Build.Play website and check out the community of developers who have created profiles. And you can create your own too. Each profile comes with name, country, photo and a brief bio description. But then it can be enhanced with what I consider the special sauce of Dream.Build.Play. Besides that basic biographical info, you can add all the ways people can connect with you, plus all the skills you have, plus all the games you’ve worked on.
Yes, all. First, take connections and networks. You can choose from Xbox, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and so on, but you can also add your DeviantArt or Bandcamp accounts, or GitHub, Unity, Unreal or Stack Overflow accounts. And a whole lot more. And if there’s something missing, we’ve got you covered with a Personal Website link. Add as many as you want. Add none. It’s up to you.
When it comes to skills, it gets event better. We’ve built an extensive list of skills, from a variety of programming languages, to middleware and game engines, to more softer skills like game design. But if you want to advertise a skill that’s not listed, just add it in, and as long as it passes our moderation queue, it’ll show up in your profile.
Adding games is where the magic really starts to show through. You can add every game you’ve worked on, and each one comes with its own set of information. From the game’s name and genre, to cover art, screenshots and even a trailer video. And then add a description, and what platform category it belongs to and you’re almost there. Every game entry can have its own set of connections. So if you have a website for your game, a YouTube link, a Twitch channel and a Facebook page, add them all so people can check it out.
Why is this important?
We created the community like this for a very important reason: so you can all connect with each other. Let me give you an example.
Dave is building a game in Unity, but he doesn’t have a single audio engineering bone in his body. But he really wants to enter the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge and potentially win big cash money. I can relate.
Dave heads to the Community page and filters the Skills list for Audio Engineering. In the results pane, he sees a few other members who have that skill. He clicks on Grace’s profile. Dave sees that Grace not only has Audio Engineering as a listed skill, but she also has Unity. Great! She’ll likely know how to incorporate sound into his Unity game.
He can then check out the games Grace has listed, heading to their websites, or videos, and check out the audio that she has created previously. He likes the sounds he’s hearing and decides that he wants to see if Grace would like to join him on his epic journey. He can then return to Grace’s profile and click on any of the Connections she has added and get in touch.
Cool!
Cooler, if they agree to join forces, the Dream.Build.Play website allows them to do just that. All Dave has to do is head to his game page, edit it and add Grace to join his team. Bam! Both will now be listed as being part of the cool game that they’re collaborating on.
I love this community
One of my favorite things about the game developer community, is the willingness of everyone to help out and give people tips, feedback and advice on how to improve or fix their creations. I wanted to flag one great example of that that came out this week: Simon Jackson’s post on Unity and Visual Studio.
Simon and fellow indie dev Jim Perry brought to my attention a small issue between Visual Studio, Unity and Xbox Live. They thoughtfully investigated and figured out a workaround, and for all of you who are actively building UWP games in Unity who want to integrate Xbox Live, Simon has written up their findings on his blog: https://darkgenesis.zenithmoon.com/resolving-build-issues-for-uwp-packages-with-unity/
Also, I also want to highlight that Simon has created a special area on DevPost for Dream.Build.Play here: https://devpost.com/software/dreambuildplayresources. If you’re looking for additional info or resources, or you want to contribute back to the community, please head there and take a look.
Quick recap so far
A quick summary of where we are:
Phase two of Dream.Build.Play has launched. Woo!
You can now add your personal profile, complete with skills, connections and games.
Games can have their own connections, as well as screenshots, videos and more.
Games do NOT have to be for the Dream.Build.Play 2017 Challenge. They can be used to showcase your experience.
You can search the community based on skill.
You can form teams.
One special note. As I mentioned right at the beginning of this post, we’ve had (to date) over 2,000 people register to compete. If you look on the Community page and see less than that, that’s because only those people who have created a profile will show up on that page. So get in there and create your profile and make sure your friends and colleagues are heading back to Dream.Build.Play and updating theirs too, so the community fills out.
But wait, there’s more!
I hope you didn’t think we were stopping there. I’ve got some exciting news to share! We’re announcing a new contest as part of Dream.Build.Play: The Developer Diary Contest.
The Developer Diary contest challenges Dream.Build.Play creators and developers to document their journey in building a game. It has some minimal requirements such as needing to do at least five posts or videos, across at least a month in duration, but it’s really about encouraging you all to share your stories with each other.
Talk about a pain point you encountered and tell people how you fixed it. Or maybe something you were pleasantly surprised by when you started exploring UWP. Or how about how Azure made your life easier with some kind of cloud coolness.
Here’s a great example from Tarh Ik who we shared this with just a couple of days ago: https://tarhik.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/antimatter-instance-dev-log-entry-1/
And yes, the game he’s blogging about is indeed on Dream.Build.Play! https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/Windows/dream-build-play/game/7
You’ll have until December 31st to create your Developer Diary and be in the running to win $5,000 cash and the adulation of your peers. Get to it!
Need help?
To finish off this article, I know that creating a game can be tough. But we’re here to help. Not only can you post questions to our Windows Developer Twitter handle or Facebook group, but you can grab a whole bunch of documentation, all conveniently located in one place: The UWP Game Development Guide!
Until next time, good luck, create your profile and add all the games you’ve worked on, and see you in the Dream.Build.Play community!
Oh, and keep your eyes peeled. We may have some other announcements soon.

Cognitive Toolkit Model Evaluation in UWP

We are excited the share with you that Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK) 2.1 has added support for model evaluation on UWP applications. This means you can harness the power of deep learning in your Windows apps delivered via the Windows Store! Read on to find out how can infuse your apps with the power of AI.
The Virtuous Intelligence Cycle
Cloud-connected devices can perform operations locally or delegate them to the cloud. The virtually unlimited compute power of the cloud makes it a good choice for running tasks that need significant compute power but don’t require low latency. In machine learning, model training is an example of such a task. It might require hours or days to train a model, but once the model is trained, deploying it closer to where the data is generated has some very useful properties. First, it reduces the roundtrip latency inherently unavoidable in cloud communication. This is critical for time-sensitive deep learning scenarios like self-driving cars and industrial equipment failure detection. Second, it can unlock insights from data that were previously discarded due to network transmission costs. And finally, it allows machine learning solutions in scenarios with intermittent network connectivity like search & rescue, agriculture and others.
We refer to devices with non-trivial compute power that are in closer proximity to the data source as “intelligent edge” devices. Intelligent edge devices can vary broadly depending on scenario as shown in the figure below.

In the virtuous intelligence cycle, deep learning models trained in the cloud are deployed and evaluated at the edge. Additionally, the edge feeds valuable data back to the cloud where the models are improved and redeployed to the edge, hence completing the virtuous cycle.
The improvements described in this post allow UWP applications to be part of the intelligent edge where deep learning models can be evaluated.
Image Classification Example
Let’s look at an example where an image classification machine learning model is built into an UWP application. The app allows you to pick a CNTK compatible model to perform image classification on an image. Several pre-trained models to use for this purpose are available at this link.
The code for the entire solution is available in the CNTK Github repo.
Currently, only C++ CNTK UWP bindings are supported. However, the sample demonstrates how a C# based UWP solution can perform model evaluation by referencing a WinRT library that wraps the UWP-compatible CNTK native components available on NuGet.

packages.config specifies the NuGet packages the library uses, and points to the UWP-compatible package:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<packages>
<package id="CNTK.UWP.CPUOnly" version="2.1.0" targetFramework="native" />
</packages>
 

This NuGet package provides UWP-compatible CNTK components, including the OpenBLAS math library, for CPU-based model evaluation. ImageRecognizerLib exposes Create and RecognizeObjectAsync methods used to load the pre-trained CNTK model and classify the specified image input as an array of bytes.
The rest of the solution is a few simple XAML UI elements to accept input from the user. Here is a quick animation of the app in action:

Now it’s your turn!
We’ve demonstrated how you can use the newly added UWP support in CNTK to bring the next level of intelligence to your Windows applications. We can’t wait to see the awesome apps you will build with this exciting new technology!

The UWP Community Toolkit v2.0

Today, the UWP Community Toolkit graduates to version 2.0 and sets the stage for future releases.
There have been seven releases since the UWP Community Toolkit was first introduced exactly one year ago and version 2.0 is the first major and largest update to date. The developer community has worked enthusiastically to build something that is used by thousands of developers every month. Today, there are over 100 contributors, and developers have downloaded the packages over 250,000 times. This would not be possible without the strength of the community – Thank You!
For developers, and designers alike
Beginning with the v2.0 release, the UWP Community Toolkit is making efforts to align with the latest Windows 10 Fall Creators Update to enable developers to take advantage of the new APIs and the new Fluent Design System.
The Fluent Design System defines several foundational elements that will make new designs perform beautifully across devices, inputs and dimensions. To prepare for the general availability of the Fall Creators Update later this year, the community has committed to update all UWP Community Toolkit controls to adopt Fluent Design. Over the coming months, new and existing controls will be updated to support light, depth, material, motion and scale. The sample app will also be updated to take full advantage of the new foundational elements to demonstrate what is possible.

Updating the Sample App
The UWP Community Toolkit Sample App showcases toolkit features for developers by providing tools to get started using the toolkit in their apps, and it continues to get better. In the largest update since the initial release, developers can now edit XAML directly in the sample app and instantaneously view the results side by side. This is a very powerful addition that allows developers to get started with development immediately by simply downloading the app from the store.
But that’s not all. Taking inspiration from the Fall Creators Update, the sample app has been updated to use an improved and redesigned navigation model. The navigation has moved to the top and it’s now much easier to get to any sample. In addition, a new landing page has been added to make it easier to find what is new and keep track of favorite samples.

Beyond UWP
The UWP Community Toolkit has received feedback about the importance of supporting cross-platform development to enable developers to share more of their code across platforms. Version 2.0 introduces two new packages: Microsoft.Toolkit and Microsoft.Toolkit.Services with the commitment to support more cross platform APIs in future releases. These packages are built with .NET Standard and support any platform with .NET Standard 1.4 and above. The Bing Service is the first API to go cross-platform and there is currently work underway to move more services to the new packages.
What else is new?
As with every release, the community has worked together to share their ideas, build new controls and helpers libraries and improve the UWP Community Toolkit for everyone. This release is no different.
There are several large additions and updates to highlight here, but make sure to visit our release notes for all additions and improvements:
Added InAppNotification control – a control to show local notifications in app
Added TextToolbar control – text editing control that enables easy rich text and Markdown formatting
Updated Expander to support all orientations and added LayoutTranformControl from the WinRT XAML Toolkit
Updated Menu to support underline characters, orientation and many other improvements
This is just the start
We learned a lot in the past year, and the community has worked together to make toolkit APIs as easy and flexible as possible. Few APIs and packages have been restructured to make them more convenient for developers and allowed more flexibility for future additions and updates. For example, the Microsoft.Toolkit.UWP.Connectivity package was added to unify all connectivity APIs such as Bluetooth and networking. Likewise, all extensions and helpers are now unified under a single namespace and are consistent across API.
As a reminder, although most of the development efforts and usage of the UWP Community Toolkit is for Desktop apps, it also works great on Xbox One, Mobile, HoloLens, IoT and Surface Hub devices. You can get started by following this tutorial, or preview the latest features by installing the UWP Community Toolkit Sample App from the Windows Store.
If you would like to contribute, please join us on GitHub! To join the conversation on Twitter, use the #uwptoolkit hashtag.

New Tools in Windows Device Portal for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Device Portal now offers several new tools from across Windows to help you location test your UWP, explore Mixed Reality, build new hardware peripherals and test your apps new installation pipeline. It’s a little bit of goodness for everyone, and we’re excited to share these with you.
If you’re not familiar with Device Portal, you can check out the blog posts below to see what other tools you can find in Device Portal, or look at the new docs.microsoft.com to learn how to enable it.
And as always, all of these tools are backed by a REST API, so that you can use it from a scripting or client application environment using the Device Portal Wrapper.
Location Based Testing
Most of us don’t have the travel budgets to test our apps across the world – but pretending to travel is almost as good!  The Location tool in Device Portal lets you easily change the location that Windows reports to apps. By tapping the “Override” check box, you can swap out the device location for whatever you set using the map or lat/long text boxes. Be sure to uncheck the box when you’re done so that your location (and timezone) come back to reality – every vacation must end…

Figure 1: The News app keeping me up to date with local headlines!
This also works for web pages in Microsoft Edge, letting you test your webpages in different parts of the world.
Some notes on what this tool can and cannot do:
This doesn’t change the locale of your PC! So the News app above still saw an EN-US user in the middle of Italy.
You may not see all apps using this location. Some programs don’t use the Windows API to determine location or have special logic (e.g. using your IP address) to determine your location.
This tool marks the PositionSource of the location data as “Default.” Some apps may check for the source and alter their behavior based on it.
Happy travels!
USB Diagnostics
This one goes out to all the hardware folks – if “HLK” or “WDK” sound familiar, you might find this handy. The USB team has updated the USBView tool to work inside Device Portal, so developers working on new hardware can have more tooling at their fingertips.
The USB Devices tool can be a bit tricky to find – head to the hamburger menu in the top right, and go to “Add tools to workspace.”  Scroll to the bottom and check the “USB Devices” box, then hit “Add.” And voila – a full view of your systems USB hubs, controllers and peripherals. The hubs and controllers expand to show individual devices using the + (plus) sign, and clicking the gear will expand to show the items properties.

Streaming App Install Debugging
The Windows 10 Creators Update added ““streaming installation” for UWP, which allows a user to launch the app before it finished downloading. In order to make this easy to test, the App Model team has added a Streaming Install Debugger tool to Device Portal. To use it, deploy an app with content groups to the device, then open the Streaming Install Debugger. In it you’ll be able to edit the states of the content groups so you can test your apps behavior as streaming install is being simulated and ensure it behaves correctly when content groups are missing.

For more details, check out Andy Liu’s blog posts about the new App Installer and Streaming Install Debugger tools.
Mixed Reality Tooling
One of the bigger splashes in the Fall Creators Update is the addition of Mixed Reality to Windows Desktop. As part of that release, we’re including a suite of tools to help developers build great Mixed Reality apps. Two of these tools may look familiar to HoloLens developers – 3D View and a Framerate counter. There’s also a new app launch option that appears when you have an immersive headset attached to your PC, which lets you launch your app in Mixed Reality.
Frame rate is an important factor in making mixed reality apps comfortable, and it’s important for developers to optimize performance to hit full frame rate on the systems they support. The Frame Rate tool in the Device Portal helps by showing developers both the frame rate of their app and of the system’s compositor.

The 3D View helps when testing your immersive headset’s interactions with the real world, displaying its position as it moves through space.

Finally, what good is tooling if you can’t actually run your app in your immersive headset? Now, when you have an immersive headset attached, the Installed Apps tool will add a button letting you launch the app in the HMD. While fully immersive apps will always run in Mixed Reality, this new button is particularly useful for 2D UWP apps (or apps that switch between 2D and immersive) when you want to test them in Mixed Reality.

As always, if you have ideas for Device Portal that would help you write or debug apps, please leave us a note on our UserVoice or upvote an existing request. If you run into bugs, please file it with us via the Feedback Hub.
Related Posts:
Using Device Portal to view debug logs for UWP
Using the App File Explorer to see your app data

Using your ad units correctly when you have multiple store apps

As we had blogged earlier, ad unit performance has a direct correlation with the application category and the users targeted by the application. Having an ad unit associated with multiple store applications leads to ambiguity, which can result in improper ad delivery. This will have an adverse impact on your revenue and user experience. The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and other compliance requirements mandate that there is a 1:1 correlation between a store application and an ad unit.
Each ad unit must be only be used in a single store application. This requirement includes applications that target Universal Windows Platform applications, along with Windows 8.x (WinRT) applications.
We’ve reached out to developers through various means, including multiple notifications inside Dev Center. The ad delivery will soon stop on ad units used across multiple applications, so if you have any such ad units, please update! Setting up new ad units is extremely easy.
Don’t forget these following tips that can help maximize your in-app-ad revenue:
Move to the latest advertising SDKs
Set COPPA settings for your app
Use only IAB standard ad sizes
Set your ad placement appropriately
Use Interstitial Banner as fallback to Interstitial Video

Xbox Live Creators Program Is Now Live!

Back in March, we revealed the Xbox Live Creators Program. Today, we’re excited to announce that any developer can now directly publish their games to Xbox One and Windows 10. We’ve already had some great games published during the preview program (check out the list below!), but there’s always space for more, and it’s time for your game to shine. Microsoft is committed to ensuring that any developer who wants to publish their game on Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox One console family can do so, and the Creators Program enables creators big and small, from around the world, to do just that.
What’s the Creators Program, you ask? Xbox Live Creators Program allows any developer to directly publish their games – any of their games – to Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs with a standard certification process already in place for any other app or game in the Universal Windows Platform ecosystem. In other words, if you have a Dev Center account, then you’re ready to publish your game to Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
But it gets better! Using the Creators Program also allows you to implement a number of Xbox Live services directly in your game. Stuff like Gamertag Presence, Xbox Live leaderboards and Connected Storage. Things that make your life as a game creator easier, but also enhance your gamers’ experiences. And you also get to take advantage of killer features like Game Hubs and Clubs, Mixer streaming (and integration for more interactive experiences) and some really awesome accessibility features to make sure your game is available for an even wider audience.
And because you get to use the standard Windows Store certification process, you can have the freedom to publish when you’re ready, set pricing the way you like and establish sales and updates that fit your schedule.
Any Creators Program game published on the Windows 10 Store will be listed in the Games category, it’s that simple. On the Xbox One console, we’ve created a special section of the Store called Creators Collection, so that your game can be easily discovered by people looking for something new. We also did this because we know from feedback from players, parents and developers, that the current curated experience on the Xbox One Store is something they love. So, having the Creators collection gives all of us the best of both worlds: A curated store and a fully open marketplace in the Creators Collection.
Does the Creators Program sound good to you? It does to us! And it’s so easy to do. First step is to build your game utilizing UWP and Xbox Live SDK, and for that you can use the tools you’re already using – Visual Studio, game engines like Unity, Construct 2, MonoGame and Xenko – and combine them with a retail Xbox One console and your Dev Center account. You’ll need to grab the free Dev Mode Activation app from the Xbox Store, but then you’re just a few button presses away from converting that retail machine into something ready for your development efforts.
The Dev Center account is the standard one for anyone building apps or games in the Microsoft ecosystem. If you don’t have one yet, it costs as little as $20 as a one-time fee. Then get started on your Xbox Live integration by checking out the Creators Program page and the Xbox Live Creators Program step by step guide.
Creators Program games have access to a large set of Xbox Live services, but not all of them. You’ll be able to implement features such as sign-in and presence, use of your Gamertag, leaderboards, access to your Activity Feed, Game Hubs, Clubs, Party Chat, Game DVR and broadcasting on Mixer.
However, since Creators Program is an open program as opposed to a managed one, some services are not available to you: Achievements, Gamerscore or internet multiplayer. The good news is that if you want access to these features, we encourage you to apply to the  ID@Xbox program where you’ll get the ability to incorporate these. And of course, there’s a path for games to move from the Creators Program to ID@Xbox during development (or even after they reach the Store) if a developer decides they want to add Gamerscore, Achievements or internet multiplayer later on.
While ID@Xbox was designed for professional game developers who wish to use the full set of Xbox Live features through a full certification process, the Creators Program gives all the other developers a “right-sized” set of Xbox Live services. So whether they’re small studios, hobbyists, makers, teachers and students, or if they’re just learning the ropes – the Creators Program is a simplified way to create and ship games to the Xbox community.
We know that the below set of titles is just the beginning. We’re going to highlight more of the diverse array of Creators Program games that catch our eyes on the Xbox Wire. I hope to see your game listed there one day soon.
Here’s a quick look at the first titles that will be available via the program:
Animal Rivals, Blue Sunset Games: Animal Rivals is an action-packed couch party game for one to four players. Drop into the game and fight for the Animalonia’s throne as one of the furry contenders in different mini-games and locations. The game itself presents a unique art style mixing the cartoonish looks and satire approach. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Block Dropper, Tresiris Games: Block Dropper is a fast paced, arcade style, 3D platformer. Try not to fall as you guide your character through the challenging single player mode or grab a friend to battle head to head in a local multiplayer Block Battle Arena. Tresiris is a small game studio based in Olathe, Kansas, who create fun and simple games with quality as their top priority. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Crystal Brawl, Studio Mercato: Gauntlet meets NBA Jam in Crystal Brawl, a 2v2 capture-the-flag local multiplayer game that melds fast action with MOBA-like strategy. Choose from a variety of characters with different abilities, with a notable twist: each character has a unique ability that alters the terrain. Experiment with different character combinations to uncover hidden strategies! Studio Mercato is an independent game studio based in New York City. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Derelict Fleet, Bionic Pony: Derelict Fleet is a fast-paced space combat game. You are tasked with defending a refugee fleet as you travel the stars searching for a new colony to call home. Bionic Pony is a small indie studio based in Tampa, FL that started making Xbox Live indie games in 2010. (Xbox One)
ERMO, Nonostante: ERMO is a relaxing puzzle game featured with a calming and peaceful graphics. Immerse yourself in the landscapes and colors of ERMO and let you be carried away. You will learn the rules in a few seconds, but ERMO will catch you for hours. (Xbox One)
GalactiMAX!, ONLYUSEmeFEET: In the vast darkness of space, GalactiMAX has the player shooting aliens for points to pierce the heavens in classic arcade shooter action! As more aliens are defeated, the player’s ship will increase in size and power. How big can this ship get?! (Xbox One, Windows 10)
kubic, Pixel Envision Ltd: kubic is a relaxing optical illusion puzzle game based on M.C. Escher’s art, impossible objects and other geometric designs. The object is to construct the goal configuration from a number of pieces. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Space Cat!, GershGamesLLC: Shoot your way past an onslaught of enemies and bosses. Collect weapon upgrades like missiles, bombs, laser beams and much more. GershGamesLLC is a group of young hobbyists that makes for fun on the weekends. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Stereo Aereo, The Stonebot Studio: Stereo Aereo is an action rhythm game that is inspired by the pop-culture influences of the 80’s. You, the player, have to make sure that the mediocre space rockband Stereo Aereo, gets to their life changing concert, on time, in this comic styled sci-fi game. (Xbox One, Windows 10)
Finally, to celebrate the availability of Creators Program becoming open for any developer, we’re also highlighting the Dream.Build.Play contest, which has an Xbox One category for any game developer who incorporates Creators Program features into their game. So not only can you get your game on the console for the first time, you have a shot at winning some cash money while you do it. Sounds good to us!