Simulation Dashboard for Windows Phone 8

August 19, 2014

A phone app is vulnerable to the unexpected actions of its users, to the constraints of the devices and networks on which it’s running, to the location where it’s being used, and to the many possible interruptions that can occur on a phone. These vulnerabilities can result in problems like the following:

  • Large downloads over slow networks make the app unresponsive.

  • Music and video playback stutters on networks with high latency.

  • The app fails or crashes because of intermittent network connectivity issues.

  • An app that uses location services fails to handle intermittent interruptions in the flow of data.

  • The game or app continues to run, instead of pausing, when a reminder or a phone call interrupts the user.

  • The app fails to restore its state correctly after the phone has been locked and unlocked.

Typically a developer builds and tests an app under optimal conditions, and then releases the app with the hope that it will work equally well in the real world. There the app encounters all the vulnerabilities listed above. When the app fails to handle these conditions smoothly, the user experience is disappointing. Dissatisfied users are likely to give the app negative reviews in Windows Phone Store.

The Simulation Dashboard in Visual Studio gives you the option to validate in advance how your app will behave under real-world conditions. When you use the dashboard in conjunction with app monitoring and profiling, it provides detailed and actionable insights to understand and improve the performance of the app. With this information you can tweak your app to ensure that the app performs well under various real-life conditions, and that your users are satisfied and happy with your app.

This topic contains the following sections.

To open the Simulation Dashboard, in Visual Studio, on the Tools menu, click Simulation Dashboard. After you open the dashboard, it remains open and available even when you open and close projects in Visual Studio.

NoteNote:

When the default project type is not a type that runs as a stand-alone application — for example, a class library or a background agent — the menu option for the Simulation Dashboard is not available.

To learn more about the real-world conditions that you can simulate by using the Simulation Dashboard when you are testing your app, see the following topics:

The following illustration shows the options that are available in the Simulation Dashboard.

Simulation dashboard options

You can easily include simulation testing as you design and code your app. This makes quality assurance part of the development cycle.

You can use simulation testing in the following scenarios:

  1. When testing your app by using debugging (by pressing F5).

  2. When testing your app without using debugging (by pressing Ctrl+F5).

  3. When testing your app by using app monitoring or profiling (by pressing Alt+F1). For more information about using app monitoring and profiling, see Windows Phone Application Analysis for Windows Phone 8.

Make code changes in your app based on your testing, and then repeat these steps as necessary. Finally, you are ready to publish your app with the confidence that it performs well in real-world conditions.

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