Microsoft wants developers to focus on the user experience behind roaming app data

Kareem Anderson

The Windows team is at it once again, extolling the virtues of its Universal Windows App platform and encouraging developers to pay particular attention to how they can enhance user experiences across devices. Yesterday, the Windows team began the first of its two-part series on Roaming App data and its importance to developers transferring information about data, content, and settings in apps from one device to another.

Today, the Windows team follows up their previous walkthrough of coding for roaming app data in apps with a secondary announcement about how to give users a magic-like experience by properly implementing the feature.

Have you ever noticed that getting roaming app data to sync between devices is a lot like transporting people through space on Star Trek? For instance, does anything actually get transported when crew members are sent through the transporter? Their pattern—a snapshot of the geometrical relationship between all of their atoms—is captured and then recreated using atoms at the destination. Since this creates duplicate data, though, the source version must be dematerialized—otherwise, you end up with inconsistent versions of the same crew member.”

The Windows team would like developers to consider how they can preserve a user’s experience with:

  • Roaming prerequisites
  • First-time data load
  • Writing data
  • Syncing and app suspension/termination
  • Offline data
  • Roaming data change notifications

In a semi-lengthy blog post, the Windows team covers each of the above topics and settings briefly, with examples and snippets of code that can be followed as samples for interested developers. For example, developers who have questions about App suspension or termination are informed:

At some point, your app will be suspended, terminated, or both. Think about what should happen when your app enters these states to give your users have a more seamless roaming experience.

You can keep this from happening by handling the Application.Suspending event. Then, override the Application.OnLaunched method when the app starts up again. The coding pattern for managing potential app termination only requires you to save off any useful data from the current user session. Then, if the app does get terminated, you can restore this data with custom code once the app is relaunched by the user.”

There is obviously more to cover, and the Windows team does a great job going over a majority of it with its announcement today. Understanding how roaming app data works in the new Universal Windows Platform is just another step in creating a truly unrivaled seamless experience for Windows 10 users.

Head over to the Building Apps for Windows blog for more on roaming app data as well tutorials, posts and feedback on building Universal Windows apps, Windows Store requirements and practices, App guidelines and much more.