Windows Phone 7 App Hub – my complaints

In the wake of complaining about background tasks in Win 8 (that was later rescinded), here are my complaints about the Windows Phone 7 App Hub, where you submit new apps and look at download numbers, etc.

Before I begin: I rant because I care 🙂 I’m still very happy with Windows Phone 7 (and Windows 8!) development, and plan on sticking around it for a while, unless of course Microsoft pulls a webOS like HP did. (dear Microsoft: please don’t do this!) But there is some serious need for improvement here.

(Had I been writing this a few months ago, my number one complaint would be that the page itself was dog slow, but Microsoft seems to have fixed that. Yay!)

When I load the App Hub page, 95% of the time I have a simple question: How many copies did my app sell today? For webOS and Android, their consoles answer an equivalent question: how many copies has the app sold over its lifetime? Let’s count the number of clicks it takes to answer that question:

First I load the page (I won’t count this as a click), and I see something like this:

You might think the answer to my question is right by the word “FlightPredictor”: 101. Or at least you might think that’s the total number of sales. Sadly, it is the number of downloads in the last 30 days. This is interesting information (as is the graph at the bottom), but it doesn’t answer my question. So click 1 is to click on the “101” number, which by the way does not do the same thing as clicking “FlightPredictor”.

That takes us to this screen:

Here we can see a nice pretty graph, which is again interesting, but it only covers the last thirty days. So clicks 2-4 are setting the Start date to March 1, which is before FlightPredictor was released. (for bonus fun: this will take one more click every month!) Then click 5 is clicking Refresh Report, which shows me the full graph. But the numbers include trial downloads, which I am interested in, but I don’t get paid for. To see the paid numbers, click 6 is clicking on Details, which takes me to this screen:

and then click 7 is advancing to page 2, where I can see the paid downloads for the US. If other countries had any paid downloads, I guess I’d have to add those up.

So…yeah. In theory I could get by with not resetting the date range and use the “export details” button to look at an Excel spreadsheet and look at just the most recent daily numbers that way, but most of the time I’d much rather be able to see the numbers in a browser, rather than firing up Excel. It would be really nice if this information was more easily accessable!

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