Encouraging the users of your WP7 app to rate or buy your application, view other apps by you or just send a feedback email can make or break an app. However, the MarketPlace API can be a little confusing, and takes a little time to figure out which method does what. You can’t even try and see for yourself, because most MarketPlace actions don’t work until you actually have the app published.
In this blog post I am going to share the code we use in our SurfCube 3D Browser for the above tasks. To be precise, I am sharing four Actions that can help you, and have passed the MarketPlace a few times.
To use these behaviors, just add the attached source code or binary to your project, recompile, and use them as any other Action in Blend – drag and drop them on the FrameWorkElement you want to perform the action, and set the properties.
Here is what the About screen of SurfCube looks like:
It is possible that invoking the MarketPlace or the email program can take a little time. Users get impatient, and click on the link again, causing an Exception saying that the app is already dectivated, can’t invoke Launchers. The solution is to make sure the links are only clicked once, by disabling the Action, so that a repeat invokation won’t crash your application. Note, that all four actions cause you application to Tombstone, so plan accordingly.
This Action is added to the “Rate this app” link, and has no parameters. It opens the MarketPlace showing your app and the rating interface.
This Action is not used in SurfCube – it opens the MarketPlace and shows the details of your app. The underlying MarketPlaceDetailTask API can show another item, but you would have to extend the Action to accept parameters.
This action is used in the “Other apps from Kinabalu Innovation” link, and can really help cross-promoting your apps. Just set the SearchTerm property to your publisher name, and the other apps will be displayed. Here is my setup:
The Send feedback link allows the user to send an email. Tapping it will bring up a new email, pre-filled with the To, Subject and Body properties. I just attached the SendEmailAction to the hyperlink, and I set the properties:
At another point of the application, I am asking for feedback about the future TAB support in the browser. I am using the same SendEmailAction with different parameters there:
Users usually leave the subject of the email unchanged, so I immediately know when I got a feedback from the app.
You can download the sample application here. It contains the source code of the above mentioned behaviors and a little WP7 app using them.
Well, that’s it. I hope you find these little Actions useful!
Jan 08 2011, 12:38 AM