Ratings and reviews on VS Marketplace!

We’ve enabled a rating and review system on VS Marketplace for VSTS and VSCode extensions. Until now, download count of an extension served as a proxy for estimating the quality of an extension but no more!

You can see a 5 star rating on the extension on the marketplace homepage. Note that rating and review was already available for Visual Studio extensions. This enables it for VSTS and VS Code extensions as well.

Hovering over the stars shows you the exact rating and the number of people who have rated this extension.


Clicking on the extension takes you to the details page, where we show the average rating of the extension and the number of ratings on the banner,


If you notice carefully, you can see that that color of the stars on the banner will change between orang-ish or red-ish based on the background color on which it is rendered. This is done so that the stars have a nice contrast and can be seen clearly against the background. Here’s an example: red stars on a light background and orange stars on a dark background,



You can click on the stars to scroll down to the details section,


The detailed section consists of, as you can probably guess, details of the reviews. You need to be logged-in to leave a review, you can use your Microsoft Account or any other AAD backend account for this. The detailed section shows the picture and the display name associated with your profile. You can easily change this by clicking on your name at the top and then editing your profile details,



The name and picture you set here will be used in the review details section. So you have the control to change this anytime.

Clicking on the ‘Write a review’ button brings up the review submit dialog, (who’s excited about pink buttons! :-)


You need to provide a rating, that’s mandatory. The submit button will be disabled until you select a rating. The review comment is optional and you can choose not to enter any text, though I recommend entering the text as it helps the developer get more details out of the review and figure out what you like/dislike about the extension.

After you provide a rating and review comment, click on ‘submit’ and your review will magically appear in the details section!


If you see a review that’s offensive or just plain spam, use the flag icon on the review to report it. We have three categories that show up currently,


You can select the most relevant option while reporting a review. Our team will run through the reported reviews and take appropriate action based on the content of the review.

That’s it for now, stay tuned for more!

You can read more about this here,



We’d love to hear any feedback, feel free to leave a comment or ping me on twitter at @prabhuk

My next job

Today was my last day at Samsung. I completed 3 years there this July. My next job takes me to a new city and my domain takes a 180 degree turn from device drivers and firmware to something more related to the web.

I will be joining Microsoft, Hyderabad as an SDET in the Bing team.

Next monday, 12th September, will be my first day at Microsoft. I’m really excited and I know there is a ton of things for me to learn. Really looking forward to this!

A quick update: Mango on my HD7


This is going to be a quick post. Just over 2 weeks ago I got the Windows Phone Mango invite I was waiting for; my HD7 has been running mango in full glory since then. The installation took a long time but went pretty smoothly, backing the data up takes most of the time. I am really liking the Mango update, this is what windows phone should have been when it launched. Multitasking, IE9, better facebook integration in people’s hub and a plethora of other features. The voice command integration in mango is exceptional, and I find myself using it quite often. Being able to listen to an incoming message, compose a reply and send it, all using only your voice, is really amazing (or magical, as some might call it) and works really well.

Strangely, I am not using the multitasking feature all that much. Somehow I have an obsessive compulsion to keep the backstack clean all the time. Whenever I am done using the phone, I keep pressing the back button just to make sure there is nothing on the stack. I have a feeling I’m not alone.

In other news, AppHub gets some new features and Windows Phone is expanding to new markets. More importantly, Microsoft’s pubCenter, finally, will be available to developers outside of US of A. According to Todd Brix’s post, pubCenter should launch to new markets (including India!) before the end of 2011. I can’t wait to try out adCenter. You can read Todd’s post here,


Windows Phone Mango 7.1 SDK Beta 2

The developer tools for Windows Phone Mango were updated to Beta 2 a few days ago. You can find the bits here,

Web Installer – http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=en&id=26648

ISO file – http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=220415

You can read this WindowsPhoneGeek article on installation instructions.

On June 29th, Microsoft also released Mango for developers,


I am still waiting for my invite. Looks like they are sending out invites starting from the list of supported countries, which unfortunately, India is not a part of. I’ll write when I get the invite and let you know how the installation goes on my HD7.

Windows Phone Mango Developer Tools

The consumer side of Windows Phone Mango was unveiled yesterday by Microsoft. It brings in some great new features like multitasking, IE9, fast application switching, maps, web marketplace etc to name a few. I was also impressed with enhancements to bing like local scout, bing vision and bing voice. With the NoDo update fiasco now behind us, I think the expectations are set just right for the ‘mango’ update which will be coming this fall ;) One thing that annoys me is the feature-market fragmentation that’s happening with Windows Phone. What’s the deal with making some features available only to a few markets! Just look at the way zune services and their features are split region-wise. It’s horrible and needs fixing.

Nothing was mentioned about Microsoft’s ad framework, PubCenter, and its expansion plans. It’s been close to 8 months since windows phone came out and PubCenter has expanded its market by zero, zilch, nada! There were talks a while back that it will be made available in europe, I don’t know how that’s working out. Hey you, make it global already! And show us some pay-per-impression love.


You can download the Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 Beta from here, (web installer) http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=77586864-ab15-40e1-bc38-713a95a56a05&displaylang=en

And if you don’t believe in web installers, here’s the link for downloading the ISO file, http://download.microsoft.com/download/0/0/D/00D22BA8-E716-4272-93D8-C4D98F0567AE/WPDT_v2_Beta_en1.iso

Aaron Stebner’s post contains some more links and other useful information, do take a look, http://blogs.msdn.com/b/astebner/archive/2011/05/24/10168008.aspx

And remember to install Visual Studio 2010 SP1 first.

You have a good day while I watch the ISO getting sucked from the interwebs at mind-numbing speeds.  /s

Until next time…

MIX’11 : Windows Phone Sessions

Here is a list of all windows phone sessions from MIX this year, (list taken from AppHub)

Day 2 Keynote
Joe Belfiore

Application Design for Windows Phone
Megan Donahue

XNA Game Studio for Fun, Profit, Danger, Excitement and Windows Phone 7 Games
Rob Miles

Expert Lessons: Top Tips to Building a Successful Windows Phone Application
Stefan Wick

Who Would Pay For That Feature? Adding Analytics to Your Windows Phone 7 Applications
David Poeschl

Rx: A Library for Managing Asynchronous Data and Events in Your Windows Phone 7 Application
Jim Wooley

What’s Coming Next to the Windows Phone Application Platform
Andrew Clinick

Building Windows Phone 7 Applications with the Windows Azure Platform
Wade Wegner

Going Mobile with Your Site on Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Phone 7
Joe Marini

Get Ready for Fast Application Switching in Windows Phone
Adina Trufinescu

What’s New in the Windows Phone Developer Tools?
Vibhor Agarwal

Multitasking in the Next Version of Windows Phone, Part I
Darin Miller

Multitasking in the Next Version of Windows Phone, Part II: Using Background Agents
Peter Torr

Flickr API: Tap Into Billions of Photos for Windows Phone 7
Markus Spiering

Sensor and Camera Access in the Next Version of Windows Phone
Mark Paley

What’s New for Windows Phone Development with Silverlight?
Shawn Oster

Windows Phone Architecture – Deep Dive
Istvan Cseri

Analyzing and Improving Windows Phone Application Performance
Jeff Wilcox

What’s New for Windows Phone Development with the XNA Framework?
Brian Hudson

Making Money with Your Application on Windows Phone
Todd Brix

Enhanced Push Notifications & Live Tiles for Windows Phone
Thomas Fenne

Creating Windows Phone Applications Using Expression Blend
Unni Ravindranathan

New Data Access Features Coming to Windows Phone
Sean McKenna

All Thumbs: Redesigning an Existing UI to Suit Windows Phone 7
Ward Bell

The Tale of Two Apps: Making a Splash in the Windows Phone Marketplace
András Velvárt, Bálint Orosz

Over 1500 new API’s have been added to the next version of Windows Phone, called Mango. And yes, all existing devices will be updated to Mango, the update can’t come soon enough :)

Windows Phone 7: Freeing up space after installing the pre-NoDo update

Like I mentioned in this post, if you installed the pre-NoDo update, the process would have required a fair amount of storage space on your primary drive depending on how much content you have on your phone. The Zune software takes a backup of your phone’s content before updating the OS on the device. This backed up data stays on your machine, here’s how to move the data to another location so you can free up some space on your primary drive.

On your machine navigate to the following location,

C:\Users\<user-name>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Phone Update\

the folder AppData is hidden, so you’ll need to enable the option to show hidden folders. And depending on your configuration you may also need admin privileges to move stuff around. The Windows Phone Update folder contains the data backed up from your device,


All the data is present inside the RestorePoint folder. Move this folder to another location to free up space. Make sure you keep this backup of the backup safe, just in case something horribly bad happens to your windows phone 7 device.

Windows Phone 7 – The pre-NoDo update

A quick post, about two days back I got a notification on my HD7 saying that there is a update available to be installed. Yes, it was the pre-nodo update that you might have read about on the windows phone blog. Just installed it, and it completed without any hitch. Reading several reports about some devices having trouble installing the update (particularly the Samsung ones) and some even getting bricked, I was wary at first. I waited two days and there were no reports of issues with any of the HTC devices. I went ahead and installed it today.

The only downside is that you might need a lot of space on your primary drive, close to 8GB for me, depending on how much data your phone contains. The update process backs up all the data in your phone, just in case something goes horribly wrong. The whole process took about 45 minutes, majority of the time for data backup. The OS version was updated from 7.0.7004.0 to 7.0.7008.0.

Now if we could just get the NoDo update.