Using Nokia Ad Exchange on Windows Phone 8


Following on from the last two articles :

  1. Adding a TimeStamp in Azure Mobile Services
  2. Semi-Transparent Panoramic Background Images

this article came about as a result of new Apps I have been developing / enhancing for Windows Phone 8.

In the past I have used Microsoft’s’ own Advertising SDK but for I thought it would be interesting to try out Nokia’s new advertising SDK*.  Further down the line I will blog some results and contrast these with those resulting from the use of the Microsoft SDK.

Getting started is easy, sign up and download the SDK from this page:

I followed the instructions on the developer wiki for Windows 8 Phones here:

Windows Phone 8 SDK guidelines

This will take you through the three basic steps:

  1. Adding the SDK to your project.
  2. Adding required references and capabilities.
  3. Displaying ads within the application.

The approach looks to be marginally simpler than the Microsoft SDK though both are very easy to implement.

I opted to Add everything using code:

image(Click to enlarge)

I’m not sure about the value of the optional parameters but decided to add them anyway

NB Note the reference to App.NokiaID – this is the App ID that is given when you add an App in the Ad Exchange Web Site below (I simply declared it in App.Config for tidiness sake).  The ID should look something Like:



Payments are monthly and are triggered as soon as you go over the $200 threshold (I have to say that probably equates to never for me but hey, lets’ not be too pesimistic!)

And that is all there is to it.

If you would like to see an example of the Ads that the App serves up check out one of the following Apps (make sure you select the free trial)

1. Which Diet?

2. Fishing Tips

Have fun!

* Which is actually a badged version of the Ad SDK from Inneractive.

WordPress suspended my blog!


Having just gone through a couple of days of angst following the suspension of this blog this morning I got the following email from

Hi there,

Thank you for getting in touch.
Your site was flagged by our automated anti-spam controls. We have reviewed your site and have removed the suspension notice.
We greatly apologize for this error and any inconvenience it may have caused.

Phil | Automattic Inc.

It probably won’t come as too much of a surprise that I am now looking to get this blog hosted somewhere else .  If anyone finds themselves in a similar position to me and doesn’t want to risk their blog being replaced with a message like this:

"This blog has been deactivated because we believe it does not comply with the Terms of Service or advertising policy."


without any warning whatsoever then perhaps now would be the time to begin looking elsewhere. 

There are a bewildering number of alternatives out there and I have started this thread to get some advice on which solution to go with:

“Blog hosting recommendations please”

Please let me have your own suggestions, either via Channel 9 (above link) or by comment below.

Thanks  (& rant over)

Which Diet? (Windows Phone 8)



I needed to loose a few pounds after Christmas (6 so far!) and found I was a little bewildered by the number and variety of diet programs along with the amount of abstract advice I was being given.

Now everyone of us is different and for sure there is a diet plan out there that will fit you like a glove  (at least until you lose a few pounds).

This app covers the popular diet programs of the day and features real people talking about their own experiences with each diet.  The videos range from introductions of what constitutes the diet and how best to start, to peoples’ own experiences at various stages in to the diet.

You can save the most useful videos, reviewing them as often as you like. and new videos are published daily allowing you to follow someone else’s’ progress (perhaps before ‘jumping in’ yourself!)


Take a look at the screenshots above or jump straight in and try the App, and good luck with your diet!

Which Diet – Free ad- supported version.

Transparent Panoramic Background Images


I have used images for the panoramic control to good effect in phone applications in the past but one issue I have always had to manage is ensuring that the image works equally well  with both the light and dark themes.  With skill it is sometimes possible to use a single opaque image to good effect.  It is also possible to check which theme is in operation on start-up and set the image programmatically accordingly (not covered by this post)

When working on my latest ‘App Builder’ inspired App ‘Fishing Tips’ I suddenly had the thought of using a semi-transparent background image (instead of a ‘compromised’ opaque image).  I commonly use “Paint.NET” for any image related work and so took a little time out to search for a suitable plug-in that might help me to test out my idea.

I found a suitable plug in here and proceeded to test out my theory:

Here are the results:

Applying the effect in Paint.NETimage

Before and after transparency application.


Within the App using Light and Dark themes.

As you can see the same image works equally well with either theme selected
(Note to self: it looks like some of those images need re-aligning?)

BTW The XAML used for the Panoramic Background image is as follows:


Someone also pointed out that the same result can be achieved with a completely opaque background image by setting it’s opacity to 0.25 – which I must admit gave me a ‘slap  forehead’ moment.

NB You can download ‘Fishing Tips’ once it has been published <here>

Adding a TimeStamp in Azure Mobile Services


Buoyed on by the new App Builder reward program in the UK, combined with my attempts to loose weight (some little success with the 5:2 so far) I have developed a new App using the YouTube API to show a selection of feedback from users of popular diet programs. 

One of the things encouraged by this new program is the use of Azure Mobile Services.  Great! thought I, I have been keen to have another look at Azure for some time so this looks like the perfect opportunity.

I was surprised and encouraged by how easy it was to make use of  Mobile Services and managed to incorporate some logging into the App that I felt would be useful further down the line.

With a view to adding a future feature to the app I wanted to log favourites that were highlighted by users within the App (I may add an extra panorama item that shows the 10 most popular favourites for the App at some time in the future).

I was surprised how easily I was able to achieve my aim. I simply had to add the following script to the insert statement for the logging table:



This simultaneously created the new column and inserted a new date time value.  The operation->insert option offers similar functionality to a standard SQL server insert trigger (although the syntax is c# rather than T-SQL)


imageI should add that at this stage the ‘Dynamic Schema’ flag is still set to true (the default) which enables the above column to be added the first time an insert operation is attempted.

(Ordinarily this flag should be set to false when the App is submitted.  In reality I still have this flag set to true as the App has not yet been published in the store).




Now when I add a video to my favourites within my client App (as shown on the left, above).  A record is created in my back end table within Azure:



How easy was that?

You can download ‘Which Diet’ for free here once it passes certification (trial version is ad-enabled with nag screen)