Interview with 2 WikiNinjas: Peter Laker & Ana Paula de Almeida (part 2 of 2)

So, earlier today I introduced you to Peter and Ana.
Just admit, it was quite interesting to know more about Peter & Ana.
But wait to see the next step.

As discussed earlier: Peter & Ana were the few that answered to my Win 8 app challenge.

Let me dig a bit deeper into this Win 8 ap challenge.

The interesting part of the challenge is that Ana got into a WP7 app, which is pretty similar the development of a Win8 app... I thought.

Ana Paula de Almeida's avatar


Ana Paula de Almeida - Profile

Ana, can you please introduce / explain your app. What is it doing?
(Ana) My app is called 'TNWiki Feeds' and basically is a reader rss feeds.

How do you get started with developing an app?
(Ana) When I started contributing to the TechNet Wiki I missed having a single place for news of Wiki.

Moreover, it was pretty bad having to access multiple apps to monitor what is being posted on the Wiki! One day I got tired of it and decided to make an App like i wanted!

I sought an example of an rss reader to get started.

What are your resources, skills, online hints& tips you used? Any information you like to share?
(Ana) If you want to make an app, do not know how this link will help: 

What are the steps to get it published?  
(Ana) The steps are few. To register on the site with a Live ID (

There you add your App and the information that will become available in the marketplace. Then just wait for the process validation and publication.

How long does it take to get a result?
(Ana) The validation process of the app lasted two weeks.

What are the pittfalls or difficulties you encountered?
(Ana) One difficulty was to extract information from feeds! For example: I could not extract information from the author.

There is another difficulty :(, but I view this as an opportunity :)! I'm not a developer!

What functionalities does your app offer?
(Ana) 4 feeds are displayed:
- New posts of WikiNinjas Blog
- The Twitter of Wikininja Brazil (due to a change in the last week of Twitter crashed.: (£
- Search the hashtag #tnwiki in Twitter
- Articles published recently in Wiki-Br.

Any roadmap for future features?
(Ana) Yes!
I need to fix the bug's Twitter feed and i put the feed Wiki en-us too.
I also want to improve the layout!

Will you document your app on wiki?
(Ana) No. :(

Anything the Wiki community can help with?
(Ana) Any help is always welcome! 
But my knowledge for developing apps for Windows Phone are limited!

Lessons learned?
(Ana) Making apps is very cool! It is not difficult to develop for windows phone, there is enough material available for it! And it can be an opportunity to put you in touch with other people.
But I saw, through conversation with Peter (xaml_guy) on the app to Win8, it is important to have the opinion of other people! The project tends to get better!

Thank you, Ana, for the amazing insights!


Now we head over to the second part, and dive a bit more deeper on the Win 8 app of Peter Laker.

Peter (aka XAML_Guy), can you please introduce / explain your app?
The TechNet Wiki Widget (TWW) is a tool to help highlight and monitor new content, comments and changes to articles on TechNet Wiki.
I hope to make the wiki workings more transparent and contributions even more organisable.
I want to help the wiki community work closer, and keep updated on developments.
This first release is in response to your app challenge, a few weeks ago. I hope to develop it further over the next year.

How do you get started with developing an app?
Anyone can start developing today, by downloading free tools for Windows Phone 7 at the Windows Phone Dev Center, or Windows 8 at the Wndows Store Dev Center.
You can learn, develop and play for free. You only need to pay a small fee for a yearly license, when you want to publish apps on the marketplace. 
You also need to submit a few tax forms, but ONLY if your app isn't free.
The toolkits come with templates, and built-in search tools for sample code, and frameworks to plug into your project and take all the pain out of learning and development.
You can even develop Windows 8 apps on Windows 7, because Visual Studio Express 2012 comes with a built-in W8 simulator!
Being a WPF/Silverlight obsessive, I slipped straight into WinRT, and had a working prototype within the first evening!

I then went back to basics, read a lot, then heavily refactored my code and UI to fit with all the Marketplace restrictions and styling.

What are the steps to get it published?
Once designed, Visual Studio has a "Store / Create App Packages" menu option, that packages up your App and runs basic operational tests on it.
If you pass these tests, you can upload the package to the Windows Store for certification.
There are several stages to certification, the longest being a seven day wait for "content approval", which is a manual stage.

My app failed the first time through, because I did not include a "Privacy Policy" with the App.

Although I do not store any personal information, I was told I had to make this clear, because the App had Internet capabilities.

What functionalities does your app offer?
Currently it monitors various important TechNet Wiki RSS feeds, like the TNWiki Ninja Blog and its comments, and new or updated Wiki Articles.
You can also add Tag searches for your favourite subjects, and article watches for updates to specific articles you are watching.

Any roadmap for future features?
Ana has given me some great ideas for future features, including Twitter TNWiki RSS feed, and closer integration with your Live account.
I plan to add extra social features like Facebook, Digg,, etc - to propagate news of Wiki articles out to other networks.
The social network "propagation" aspect will be expanded upon, allowing you to tailor messages, then post to multiple sites.

Will you document your app on wiki?
Have already started! :D

Anything the Wiki community can help with?
I'd love anyone with Windows 8 to take a copy, follow and support developments.
Like all of us, I put my valuable spare time in where the most interest is being generated.
Most importantly of course is give feedback, either as wiki comments, or through a [future] in-built feedback feature.

How do you look back to it? Lessons learned?
To be honest, it couldn't have been any easier, for me at least.
WinRT is currently a step DOWN from my beloved WPF. It is more like Silverlight in it's features.
I have also developed Windows 7 Phone apps, so I already knew all the concepts, and find VS 2012 very easy to use.

I registered for and obtained a Marketplace developer key, all within Visual Studio, as I opened my first new project - it was truly seamless!£
It also comes with "Blend for VS 2012". I have been a huge fan of Blend since its first release, as it is invaluable for UI design, animations, and for pulling controls apart, to see how they tick.


Well, that's it for today!
Thank you Peter!
Thank you Ana, it was a pleasure to have you on the interview!


[Ka-jah Shakaah!]
The Security & Identity Ninja.

Peter Geelen Premier Field Engineer - Security & Identity at Microsoft

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