Must have apps for Windows Phone App Developers

To be a successful windows phone app developer one needs to be on top of every aspect of the app life-cycle which not just includes the development of the app but also following key aspects:

  1. Research – Analysis of similar/competitor apps, Discovery of pre-built tools, libraries, UI controls, icons and resources available for app development.
  2. App reviews tracking – To be on top of how users are responding to your app.
  3. App rank monitoring – To check how popular your apps are in respective category and overall (in different markets).
  4. Stats tracking – App Downloads, crashes and revenues
  5. Development news – Keeping up to-date with Windows Phone development news.

Few kind developers and publishers have made windows phone apps to ease off some of the processes mentioned above. I am listing down all such apps that I use myself and found them to be must have for any Windows Phone developer.

(If you find any of the apps you use missing from the list, or if you have developed any app which helps developers, then let me know in comments below and I will add it to the list.)

1. Dev Center

Having this app is a no-brainer and chances are that you would already have it. Dev Center is an official app from ‘”Microsoft Corporation” and is a mobile companion of your development dashboard (

Dev Center integrates a lot of features that you have on your developer dashboard like download and crash trends of your apps, translated user reviews (worldwide) of apps and your payments info. It also offers a live tile, which makes it quite the candidate to be one of your start screen tiles.  Stats and live tile usually update once in a day.

Price: Dev Center is a FREE app!

2. App Spotlights

Next up is App Spotlights by “DotNetApp”. Published less than a month ago, this app has already become an indispensable tool for Windows Phone developers. It offers something that neither Dev Center app nor the online dashboard at offers. It allows you to track your app getting featured (spotlight) by the Windows Phone store. It is also capable of showing detailed history of where and when your apps were in the spotlight. This tool can not only help you track why you see a sudden jump in your download count but can also be a big bragging tool . It will also help you track the visibility of your competitor apps. Toast and Live Tile notifications offered by the app is a plus.

App Spotlights is backed up by windows azure hosted servers and the app performance is very good. Sébastien Lachance is the guy behind this app and is also a Nokia Developer Champion. You can find him on twitter @archiecoder

Price: App Spotlights is offered at $1.49 and is worth its price. There is also a trial mode available.

3. App Rank

App Rank is developed by Slobodan Stipic and is currently one and only app to offer you real-time app ranking of your apps (if present in the top 1000) in 65 Windows Phone Stores around the globe.  Apart from overall ranking and category ranking it also offers average user rating, user rating since last update, number of user reviews and number of user reviews since last update (for each market).

What is an App’s Rank?

It’s the number at which an app gets shown in its own category (e.g. social) or overall in the Windows Phone store. Rankings are generally determined by how popular (downloads and ratings) the app has been recently, how frequently (or seldom) it crashed, how often users pinned the app to their start screen etc. etc. If an app is ranked higher, it means users will be able to find the app easily while browsing a particular category.

Price: It’s available as FREE (Ad-supported) as well as PAID $1.99

4. WinPhone DevHub

This is one of those apps that come in handy when you are in need of pre-built custom UI controls, utility libraries and icons. Next time when such a need arises, you can head straight to this app and browse through it to see if it is available in various toolkits, libraries and icon packs that this app demos.

WinPhone DevHub provides access to demos of the most popular control libraries (e.g. Coding4Fun toolkit, Silverlight Phone toolkit, Aviary Photo SDK, amCharts etc.) and set of Application Bar icon packs (Templarian, Pedro Lamas, Aha-Soft free pack etc.). Having a demo of the control available to you can help you quickly play with it to decide whether to use it in your app or not. This can save you a lot of time as you won’t have to code-up to see how the control actually looks or behaves before taking a decision.

WinPhone DevHub is frequently updated with newer version of the libraries available as well as to include newer resources.

Price: FREE (ad-supported)

5. Telerik Examples

Telerik provides a great premium component library called RadControls for Windows Phone. It offers more than 45 beautifully designed custom controls and many other utility libraries for Windows Phone Development and is an absolute must if you want to save 100s of hours of development time.

Telerik Examples app is a great showcase of these beautiful controls and does a very nice job of presenting the various possibilities of how these controls can be used. The app also allows you to view each demo’s source code.

In my opinion having this app and browsing through it’s examples can give you a lot of ideas of the ways your app can present its own data to the user even if you don’t actually use RadControls.

Price: Telerik Examples is a FREE app

(Note: RadControls for Windows Phone costs $99 however you can get it for FREE if you join the Nokia Premium Developer Program)

6. Telerik Design Templates

Telerik’s RadControls for Windows Phone not only provides components and libraries for Windows Phone but also 50+ great Design templates which can be used easily to represent your content in a beautiful manner. Telerik Design Templates app is provided by Telerik as showcase of these templates.

Similar to the other app offered by Telerik,  having this app will also enable you to brainstorm through various design choices to represent the content in your app. As I said earlier, whether you use Telerik controls in your apps or not, these templates are good demonstration of Windows Phone User Interface design and can be a good inspiration source for your own app design.

Price: Telerik Design Templates is a FREE app

(Note: RadControls for Windows Phone costs $99 however you can get it for FREE if you join the Nokia Premium Developer Program)

7. WPCentral

WPCentral is your best source of anything related to Windows Phone. WPCentral will keep you up-to date with latest happenings in the Windows Phone world. With this you can be on top of upcoming new apps by other developers, apps which are getting popular, and can gain insight into what users want by reading user comments. WPCentral  also has separate developer section in its forum where developers can collaborate, ask questions, and showcase their new apps.

The WPCentral app for Windows Phone is a well made app and offers a variety of features including full support for browsing, posting and replying in forums. WPCentral also accepts tips for app reviews so don’t miss submitting your own apps.

Price: WPCentral costs $0.99 and also has a trial mode which is ad-supported with limited functionality.

More apps that you should definitely check out:

  1. WindowsPhoneGeek
  2. PubCenter Adviser
  3. Jack of Tools
  4. Dev Helper
  5. AppFlow App Discovery
  6. WPDev Feedback
  7. Find My Champ
  8. AppStats

I have not included, many of review reading apps (like App Reviews) here as they no longer work due to zune api changes. Dev Center app already includes reviews of apps and makes all other review reading apps redundant.

Your comments on the above list are welcome! I plan to keep this list up-to-date with newer apps as and when they are available so you are welcome to suggest an app in the comments. . Thanks!

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