Top Ranked – All About You

Date : March 13, 2012

The About page is usually one of the last things you think about when building an app.  It’s just not core to the whatever it is you’re trying to build.  And yet, you’ll soon find that it’s pretty much a necessity for most apps.  Not only is it something you can use to help build a better relationship with your users; it’s also something that can help you to fulfill some of the marketplace certification requirements. 

Having a place in your app that encourages the user to reach out to you and connect is a very good thing.  It could be used by them to report a bug or a wish list item (before they use the app rating to express their frustrations) or it could be another place where you encourage end users to rate and review or actually buy your app.  By communicating with users you will become more connected to them and your app’s ratings and reviews will tend to be more positive. 

The other area where the About page can be useful is in fulfilling some of the Marketplace Application Certification Requirements.  One requirement in particular (5.6) states that your app must include “application name, version information, and technical support contact information that are easily discoverable.”

View or download the video on Channel 9 (includes higher quality video)

In the video, I show a very simple app that surfaces an about page as a manually created page providing information about the app and myself.  Once you start thinking about what else you might include in the About page, manually maintaining that in code is probably not ideal.  You can add all sorts of things e.g. rate and review the app, a buy link for users using a Trial app, legal terms of use, credit to others who may have helped you (like open source projects) or a development change log.  As you can imagine this can start to get quite complicated and become a project in and of itself.  Fortunately someone has already done some of the heavy lifting for you.  Peter Kuhn aka Mister Goodcat has open sourced a project called Your Last About Dialog (YLAD) that goes a long way to making the About page a dead simple thing to add to your projects.

“Your Last About Dialog” is a robust and generic, highly configurable implementation you can easily pull into your own app and set up for your needs. It is able to pull most data from your application automatically, supports fetching both text and Xaml content from remote sources (with fallback local content), and allows easy localization of the complete dialog content to all of the languages supported by your app.

In the video I show off a few of the YLAD features but there are many more.  I encourage you to have a look by pulling it in to your app using NuGet.  You have installed NuGet, right? If you haven’t go do it now, I’ll wait here.

Let me know what you think about this episode of Top Ranked.

SOURCE CODE: I’ve provided the source code for the very simple app I showed in the video as an attachment ( to the blog post below .

As an aside, I say the word “aboot” enough times that I’m sure many will spot my Canadian accent.  Don’t hate me.  Embarrassed smile 

If you have questions aboot any of the videos, aboot problems or issues you’re hitting or if you have topics that you think would be of interest to other devs on the Windows Phone platform then drop me a note. I’d be particularly interested in hearing aboot some of the best practices you’ve adopted that you think have raised your quality or your ratings/ranking in the Marketplace. I’ll be sure to give full credit and link love whenever I can.

The Top Ranked series is hosted on Channel 9. You can view all the past videos there. You can also subscribe to the entire series via Zune or iTunes. All that is available here:

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