Igor Kulman

The sad state of DVLUP (MS Tech Rewards)

· Igor Kulman

If you are a Windows Phone developer you must know DVLUP. It was a program for developers developed by Nokia. The idea was simple. Do Windows Phone development related challenges, make your apps better thanks to them, get points, exchange points for rewards. Sounds good, does it not?

Interesting, but location dependent

The problem with DVLUP was that it was location dependent. It opened in my countries maybe two years after US and developers from other “more important” countries could participate. The challenges were also location dependent, showing me only a small subset in my country. But they were interesting. They made me implement some new stuff into my apps that I would not do otherwise. And I got points for doing them. When I wanted to exchange the points for some rewards, there were not that many available in my country. No phones or other hardware like in the US. A Steam gift card was the only useful think that I could get. But I did not mind, I liked doing the challenges.

And then Microsoft bought Nokia and slowly DVLUP turned into MS Tech Rewards.

Pushing Universal Apps too hard

Recently, all the challenges changed to challenges for Windows 10 apps only. They do not seem to care that most of the Windows Phone apps in the Store or in the works are for 8 or 8.1. Rewriting 8 and 8.1 apps that work well on 10 is simply not feasible. To me its seems like pushing Universal Apps too hard, ignoring the developers that invested in the Windows Phone platform in the beginning and created apps before Universal Apps were a thing.

Sure, they will tell you that making a 8 or 8.1 app into a 10 app is not rewriting, but porting. They can even argue with you about this on Twitter. But you know better. Maybe you are fed up of rewriting, you did it from 7 to 8 and from 8.1 ..

More stupid challenges, new rules, still not good rewards

I think that making all the challenges for Windows 10 apps only made the developer participate a lot less. Otherwise they would not come with the new stupid rules. One of the rules is that you have to participate challenges with a given period, otherwise your earned points (the points you cannot spend on anything useful) would expire!

Some of the DVLUP challenges were making you to implement unique Windows Phone features to your apps. It sometimes looked a bit forceful, but generally it was ok. Now that Windows 10 Mobile lost all of the Windows Phone unique features, the challenges are getting really stupid sometimes. Just take a look at a challenge called Give Your Windows 10 App a Festive Holiday Glow. Reminds me of times when people put JavaScript snow on their websites in Winter. About 15 years ago. And it looks like I am not the only one who thinks it is really stupid.

For me, DVLUP is dead, I really do not want to rewrite my apps for Windows 10 and add Christmas theming to them. It makes me sad it ended this way.

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