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  1. #1
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    Distinguishing published app from development version

    Hi,

    I would like to open a discussion on something that's bothering me since a while:

    I have a pubished app, say with version 1.1 and I am currently developing the next version, say 1.2. On my phone I have installed the published version in order to see when updates get pushed or to compare it with the in-development version or to reproduce possible bugs.

    Both instances appear in the app list on the phone with the same name and logo, they are indistinguishable. I don't know of a rule about the order in which they appear, it looks like the published app comes first but I'm not sure of this.

    On the emulator this problem doesn't appear because there is no published version available.

    I binged for this but didn't find any matches, so I thought about a homebrew solution. But I'm not yet content with the results of my brainstorming:

    * Give the app a different name or logo during development. This is too error-prone. Forget to reset the name before uploading and you got a problem.
    * Use the localization mechanism to create two different native resource libraries for your preferred language and use the modified one with a changed app name just for debug mode. You need post-build steps to copy the dlls here and there. This at least solves the problem for the debug version but it's a lot of work if you don't have a localisation of the app title using a native resource library in place.

    Does this problem bother anyone else?
    Does anyone have another idea what can be done?

    Open for discussions on this...
    Thomas

  2. #2
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    Quote Originally Posted by influencer View Post
    * Give the app a different name or logo during development. This is too error-prone. Forget to reset the name before uploading and you got a problem.
    You're making the issue too big of a problem, IMO. Just go with the above approach, and if you're afraid that you won't remember to check the production release for the production name & icon, keep a checklist of items to check all the things to need to do/remember when making a production/release build (as opposed to a development build). You can probably even make this automatic, where a debug/development build automatically gets a debug/development name/icon and a production (non-debug) build gets production name/icon.

    Also, in your test suite, you can have a fatal/required test case for this. (You do, have set up test cases, and a test suites for different purposes, and run through the release test suite and handle any discovered issues that needs to be handled before you release a product/version, right?)

  3. #3
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    I had the same issue - I had 2 versions of my app installed, one from the Store and the other from VS 2012, and I wanted to be able to tell the difference.

    I used Visual Studio's ability to execute a pre-build and post-build script. It does the following...

    1. Pre build, it appends the app name with Beta or Debug (Release is what I send to the store)
    2. App gets built and deployed
    3. Post build script runs and returns app name to normal

    I like my beta build to expire in 2 weeks so it's also possible for the build script to take the current date, add 2 weeks, then write that into the code (find+replace a variable).

    My scripts are quite basic, but I'll post them if you like?

  4. #4
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    I think for both these app you have different ProductID which is defined in WMAppManifest file so you can query manifest file obiviously by parsing it to get ProductID from which you can differentiate both builds.

  5. #5
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    Theo,
    sounds interesting.
    How about writing an article in the wiki about it. If you like we can combine our forces to get it done...
    Thomas

  6. #6
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    Quote Originally Posted by influencer View Post
    How about writing an article in the wiki about it. If you like we can combine our forces to get it done...
    Good idea, I'll get started over the weekend and let you know.

    - Neil

  7. #7
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    There is a very simple way to do what you want - if xap contains file WMAppPRHeader.xml (check using Application.GetResourceStream ), then it's app from marketplace. Otherwise it's handmade xap.
    Anyway, we're all waiting for the article!

  8. #8
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    I got the same issue, Can you share your script with us?

    Quote Originally Posted by theothernt View Post
    I had the same issue - I had 2 versions of my app installed, one from the Store and the other from VS 2012, and I wanted to be able to tell the difference.

    I used Visual Studio's ability to execute a pre-build and post-build script. It does the following...

    1. Pre build, it appends the app name with Beta or Debug (Release is what I send to the store)
    2. App gets built and deployed
    3. Post build script runs and returns app name to normal

    I like my beta build to expire in 2 weeks so it's also possible for the build script to take the current date, add 2 weeks, then write that into the code (find+replace a variable).

    My scripts are quite basic, but I'll post them if you like?

  9. #9
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    I solved that with the following technique: Using different WMAppManifest files for release and debug builds.

  10. #10
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    Quote Originally Posted by to_pe View Post
    I solved that with the following technique: Using different WMAppManifest files for release and debug builds.
    I thought I posted a similar link a couple of weeks ago, not sure why the post didn't appear - sorry about that.

    That solution is simpler than mine and works well

  11. #11
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    Quote Originally Posted by theothernt View Post
    I thought I posted a similar link a couple of weeks ago, not sure why the post didn't appear - sorry about that.

    That solution is simpler than mine and works well
    Thanks. I hope to see your solution as well. It is a great chance to learn how to use pre/post build events

  12. #12
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    Sounds like there are a couple of good lessons here. Toni, would it be possible to cross-post your solution into wiki?

    I also quite like Alex's idea - pretty easy to update the "About" for the app to include a line "Debug" if the xap isn't from marketplace?

  13. #13
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    If I get the chance this week, I just might do that.

  14. #14
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    Quote Originally Posted by to_pe View Post
    I solved that with the following technique: Using different WMAppManifest files for release and debug builds.
    I like this but we have to remember to track each modification of the manifest (e.g. version number) in both versions of the file.

    The intention of my question was to differentiate the app names in the app list and not having to start the app and browse to the about page.

    Thomas

  15. #15
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    Re: Distinguishing published app from development version

    Quote Originally Posted by influencer View Post
    The intention of my question was to differentiate the app names in the app list and not having to start the app and browse to the about page.
    Ok, my solution suits a little better then - my script does a find + replace on a few entries in WMAppManifest, builds, then undoes the changes.

    I'll write up a wiki article mentioning the two techniques next week.

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