Weather v2.0

Recently I updated the Microsoft Weather app to take advantage of new Windows Phone 7.5 features like background agents, secondary tiles, and FAS.  The update hit the Marketplace today.

In addition to having new features, this version was architected from the ground up for performance following many of the guidelines I call out in my recent blog post Optimizing Apps for Lower Cost Devices.

I encourage you to follow the same performance/UX principles demonstrated by this new Weather update.  Following these principles will ensure your apps perform great regardless of the device.

Hope you like the new update and have fun building for Windows Phone!

Comments (14)

  1. Andrew says:

    I've tried deleting and updating the Weather app 3 times from the marketplace but it's still downloading ver 1.0. I have Windows Phone 7.5 on a Noklia Lumia on O2

  2. Dany says:

    Same here. Updated and Uninstalled / re-install weather. Only shows v1 even though MP says v2.  Have a Trophy on VZW.

  3. When you install the app, does it allow you to pin locations to start?  I've noticed that the about screen is showing v1.0.0.0 even though v2.0.0.0 is installed (and the about screen should be reading the version number from the manifest directly).  If you are able to pin locations to start then you have v2.0.0.0.  Let me know if you still aren't able to pin locations to start.

  4. Andrew says:

    Thanks Mike, yes I can pin locations to start (and yes it still says ver I think I was also confused as in MP the app 'icon' is black but when installed on the phone it's blue (just like ver 1). Anyway thanks very much for the update to the App!

  5. No problem.  I'm not sure why the version number isn't reported correctly in the app, but I will address it one way or another.

  6. Andrew says:

    All fixed in your new 2.1 release, thanks!

  7. Richard Szalay says:

    Is there a reason the weather app generates a live tile with a solid theme-color background, rather than a transparent one?

    I've gone for the latter approach with my app and it results in the tile automatically changing background color when the user changes theme (without having to regenerate the tile).

  8. Yes.  In order to get the current temperature on the front of the tile, I had to deviate from the standard tile templates provided by the framework.  By dynamically generating the tiles, I lose the convenience of being able to use a transparent PNG which does, in fact, reflect theme changes immediately.

    A side effect of this is that if you change your theme, the tiles won't reflect the new theme immediately.  The next update to the weather data will update the theme color, though, whether that update is via the background agent or via the foreground app.

    I played around with helper libraries to generate transparent tile images dynamically, however, this reduced the quality of the tile images and added complexity to the code.  I made a design decision that favored quality tile images (which the user sees every day) over optimizing for theme changes (which don't happen very frequently).

  9. Richard Szalay says:

    @Mike – I've run into the same issues (in that the PNG libraries I'm using don't result in the same quality as the built in JPG libraries), so I might follow suit.

    It would be nice if PNG support were built in to a future version of the framework (pre-Apollo timeframe, obviously).

  10. Nic Bedford says:

    I've installed your updated weather app on my Lumia 610, but I can't get the live tiles to work 🙁 I read here and other places that say the new version is re-written to support lower cost devices. Can you let me know if I am doing something wrong, or if that support doesn't actually extend to live tiles.

    As for what I know Lumia 610 can support live tiles, but not background agents, so updates have to be done with push notification style updates?

    Would like to know your thoughts / opinions. So far I am enjoying the Lumia 610, but a live weather tile would really make the experience better and more comparable to low cost Android devices 😉

    Regards, Nic

  11. Hi, Nic.  I'm glad you're enjoying your 610.

    Your understanding is correct.  Live tiles are still supported and there are several weather (and other) apps in the Marketplace that offer live tiles via push notifications.

    This weather app does use background agents for its live tiles currently so on the 610 you can pin multiple locations to Start for convenient access from Start, but those secondary tiles will be static.  I do this myself (pin multiple locations to Start) on my 610.

    A lot of the rework that went into this app was targeted at performance updates to make deep linking into your pinned locations fast, so if you'd still like to use this app the deep linking should be fast enough to get you the data you need quickly.  I, of course, won't be offended if you choose to use another app that uses push notifications.

    Adding push notification support to this app has definitely been on my radar, though working on the phone OS itself has always been higher priority.

  12. Nic Bedford says:

    Thanks a lot for the reply Mike, it certianly clears things up.

    You metion there are several apps in the Marketplace that offer live tiles via push notifications, I've tried quite a few in my quest to find something that can offer me this on the 610, but haven't found one that works yet 🙁

    I suspect that perhaps a lot of the weather apps have gone down the route of background agents…

    But if you have any recommendations, apart from your own app of course 🙂 I'd be interested to know which apps can actually provide an updating live tile on the 610.

    Regards, Nic

  13. WeatherLive has nice Metro live tiles powered by push notifications.  WeatherBug also is powered by push notifications.  You may need to wait a short while before pinned tiles will start to update (WeatherLive wasn't updating at first for me but after a short time it did update).  WeatherBug defaults to a 60 minute update interval which you can shorten in its settings page.

    This isn't always completely obvious but often the primary tile won't be live but secondary tiles created from within the apps will be live.  If you pin the app from the app list, it may not update, but if you pin specific locations from within the apps, those tiles will update.  Each app provides its own interface for pinning secondary tiles but you should be able to find a pin button or a "pin to start" menu item in the apps somewhere.

    As far as other apps go, Words by Post is a fun game that uses push notifications to update its tile with your pending turn count and to send down new turn alerts.  We used this one a lot internally while we were tuning the OS for the 610.

    A quick way to identify whether an app in the Marketplace uses push notifications is to scroll down on the Marketplace details page and look at the "Requires access to:" section.  If you see "push notification service" there, then the app is powered by push notifications and you should be able to find an interface/settings in the app to take advantage of them.

  14. Nic Bedford says:

    Great post Mike, thank you for being so helpful. With all your insight into the work that has been done for mid-tier devices (Lumia 610) maybe it would be worth a dedicated blog post on information like this for others. I know it can get easily lost buried in comments.

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