Microsoft: We are working to help fix WhatsApp on Windows Phone

A few days ago, the WhatsApp port for Windows Phone 8 and 8.1 was pulled from the operating system's store front with no advanced warning and no reason. Now the leader of the Windows Phone team at Microsoft, Joe Belfiore, has used his Twitter feed to give an explanation for the move.

In a couple of posts this morning, he stated,

Belfiore's statements would indicate that there might be something wrong with Windows Phone 8 Update 3, rather than the WhatsApp software itself, that's causing the bug. The app has not been made available for download for five days, although WPCentral reports that the private beta version is still live and being updated for its testers.

Hopefully Microsoft and WhatsApp can work quickly to get the Windows Phone version back up to speed ASAP. We will post up a report when the app is available again to download.

Source: Joe Belfiore on Twitter | Image via WinBeta

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I think the problem is that apps like WhatsApp do not have a proper codebase from which the different OS versions can be created but more likely they develop for one and then port to the other(s).

Both iOS and Android really share a common mindset/workflow which is much less an open and 'real' code writing environment and more a 'script it together' kind of approach. That makes is easy for your average joe to create apps but will tend to make the options less flexible and open. Windows Phone basically shares, and does increasingly so, the API and with that the codebase between all windows platforms which once properly applied opens a huge potential. MSFT is hard at work to bring all form factors closer together so this gets only better as we move forward.

i really dont get it.

is programming high quality windows phone apps more difficult than for android or iphone? or is it a lack of experience of the devs? why do wp apps suck compared to the android/ios ports?

does microsoft make enough effort to bring the important apps to wp? i mean come on, whatsapp is a must-have-app for millions of users and it still doesnt work as smooth as it should.

typu said,
i really dont get it.

is programming high quality windows phone apps more difficult than for android or iphone? or is it a lack of experience of the devs? why do wp apps suck compared to the android/ios ports?

does microsoft make enough effort to bring the important apps to wp? i mean come on, whatsapp is a must-have-app for millions of users and it still doesnt work as smooth as it should.

You can make a decent app for Android without needing more coding experience than a script kiddie. The tools are simple. Windows tools are on a more professional level, so that means they are probably more robust, but overly complex. It's like taking a guy that knows illustrator and forcing them to do autoCAD drawings. Sure the basics are the same but the toolsets completely different.

Notifications on Windows Phone work pretty much like they do on iOS. Meaning that there is a service on MS' end that the developer hooks into both on the phone and on the server. Placing MS in the middle as the go between to the device. The problem appears to be with the MS Notification service (either server side or running on the device).

So, this is largely a black box for the developers (just like on iOS). There isn't any major learning involved, but it does lead to a bit of a hunt to ensure the blame for issues ends up at the right door step.

Overall app quality is very subjective so I won't comment on that portion of your question.

typu said,

is programming high quality windows phone apps more difficult than for android or iphone? or is it a lack of experience of the devs? why do wp apps suck compared to the android/ios ports?

It exceptionally easy, actually. And Microsoft provides hundreds of sample apps with full source code to help.

IMO it's a lack of experience, so what should be a 1 week project becomes a 1 month project, and since they've spent so much time on the basics, the quality and polish falter.

There's plenty of high quality apps in the WP store, and they either do more or similar to Whatsapp, except its far from as buggy. Whatsapp crashes at least once a day to me since a recent update. Before it was every few days.

Also Whatsapp for a while when I clicked the notification of a person or group, it would take me to that chat window. Which stopped working with the same recent update. (never worked a couple of updates ago).

And with the same update, I can now only access a select few photo albums (default and whatsapp one). So I can't share pictures I stored on OneDrive from my PC.
This worked flawlessly before :/

The app has some serious issues and seeing the app rarely update, I get the feeling the guys at Whatsapp (now Facebook, maybe it changes but probably not if I look at the FB app) don't really care for WP users.