Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Convert My Units V1.1 is out

We recently updated our app 'Convert My Units'. Here is a rundown of the main changes and how we made them:

Negative temperature input handled
Not sure how this issue got by us in v1.0, but when trying to input temperatures the user was only given a number-pad with no minus symbol. Fortunately the following comment alerted us to the issue:

Would give 4 stars if Temperature conversion fixed: NO negative temperature input. If not interface is pretty good, I mean intuitive.

This is an easy fix.  Essentially we just needed to change the input scope on our input textbox for temperature from "CurrencyAmount" to "CurrencyAmountAndSymbol" as per below:

 <TextBox Name="textBoxTemperature" Text="1" InputScope="CurrencyAmountAndSymbol" />

Selecting of results for copy/paste handled
This is one feature that is pretty useful in a unit converter, as user's may want to transfer results from our app into an email or document without having to transcribe.  in v1.0 our results were displayed in a textblock which is a control that does not allow text selection.  The best solution seems to be to replace the textblock with a textbox.  However using a vanilla textbox looked a little "cheap" so we needed to override the style so that the textbox looked like a textblock. 

To do this we just needed to add some custom style to our xaml page as per below:

<Style x:Key="ResultsTextBox" TargetType="TextBox">
<Setter Property="Foreground" Value="{StaticResource PhoneForegroundBrush}" />
<Setter Property="IsReadOnly" Value="True" />
<Setter Property="TextWrapping" Value="Wrap" />
<Setter Property="Template">
<ContentPresenter x:Name="ContentElement" />

...and then reference the style "ResultsTextBox" in our textbox

 <TextBox Height="71" Foreground="Red" Margin="10,-5,0,0" TextAlignment="Center" FontSize="40" FontWeight="Bold" Name="textblockVolumeResult" Text="" Style="{StaticResource ResultsTextBox}" />

Background color added to listboxes to improve readability
We have also received some feedback saying that sometime certain values were difficult to read because of the background image and the fact that the selection listboxes were transparent.  The solution was to add some background style to the selection boxes.  As all Windows Phone apps need to handle the phones default light and dark themes the best way to do this was just to leverage the phones static resource style which automatically adapts to the phones theme.  So for each listox we just set the Border Brush and Background to the static resources used by the default text boxes.  See below:

<ListBox BorderBrush="{StaticResource PhoneTextBoxEditBorderBrush}" Background="{StaticResource PhoneTextBoxBrush}" Foreground="{StaticResource PhoneTextBoxForegroundBrush}" Name="listVolumeFrom" BorderThickness="1" Margin="0,0,60,0" ItemContainerStyle="{StaticResource ListBoxItemStyle1}">

See the following screenshot of how this looks.  These static resources have built in opacity which looks quite nice with our panorama background image.

So that's a majority of the changes. So far the response has been pretty good since the updates release about 5 days ago.  Advertising revenue from this app is up significantly and it has reached the top 10 unit conversion apps in the following selection of countries:

Germany - 5th
Ireland - 8th
New Zealand - 9th
Great Britain - 10th
USA - 10th
Australia - 10th

We have just started planning the next round of improvement to this app and adding a currency conversion component seems to be at the top of the list.   If you have any feature requests or suggestions leave us a comment.