By Nick Randolph

Nokia Windows Phone: Question 10

By Nick Randolph

We’re nearing the close of our challenge wherein you can Win a Nokia Windows Phone. The rules are detailed in the aforelinked post. Tonight is question 10, the penultimate question with only Monday after the weekend remaining.

Question 10

The Mango update for Windows Phone brought with it better support for multi-tasking. Now in addition to the back-stack of applications that the user can switch through, applications are able to schedule some tasks to run in the background to give the illusion of multi-tasking.

Give an example of how features of the Windows Phone platform can be used to run tasks in the background and inform the user of important information as it becomes available?

  • Craig Naumann

    One of the simple approaches (not requiring services to provide push notifications) is the Background Agent. Background Agents allow you to run code while the app isn’t running to perform processing and optionally provide feedback to the user. An example of the feedback is to update the Live Tile to change the count, back tile, or icon.

    Background Agents are limited in what can be done and also provide the user with the option to disable them, so make sure your code checks for that. The limitations and other information (including a link to an example) is available at

  • Another option added with mango is the option to play music in the background

  • Garth Bacon

    By using push notification services and one of the three type of messages, tile, toast and raw. The Toast message with Mango also allows for a Param element to enable passing information into the application so not starting the app blind and with the previous version. The Tile message can update both the front and the back of the tile. THe Raw message has remained the saw and useful for passing larger amounts of data.

  • Kunal

    There are many ways to do this.
    – Background Agents
    – Push Notifications
    – Live Tile Update

    All the three have their possibilities.
    Background agents can be used when the update frequency required is more.
    Push notification can be used to instantly notify the user.
    Tile Updates can be used to update the tile(s) in the background for giving the required info.

  • If there is some information for which the user doesn’t need to be updated about instantly you can consider adding a “Shell Tile Schedule” to update the background image of your Live Tile.

    You can schedule an update to occur once, a specified number of times or indefinitely. The location of the Tile background image is sourced from a remote URL.

    This is a simple method of bringing life to your Live Tile without the need to understand or integrate with the Push Notification Service.


  • The competition is now closed for entries. The following entries have been recorded for this question. If, for whatever reason, your entry is not in this list, please feel free to respond
    Craig Naumann (2 entries as first answer)
    Garth Bacon

    • Hi Nick,

      Just wondering why my entry wasn’t included? It was posted originally well before the “extended” time of “9pm EST on Sunday 18th December” (according to ).

      I believe my entry answers the question, does not repeat an existing answer and that I also tweeted a link to the question (as required, see here:!/AdrianJSClark/status/148305693122904064 ).

      I’m happy to respect the judges decision however I certainly feel hard-done by here.


      • Adrian,
        My initial ruling was based on your entry being a duplicate of live tile updates. However, on closer inspection your submission has been included as it provides significantly more detail on how to use the ShellTileSchedule.

        Thanks for contributing – hold on, winner to be announced soon!


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