August 14, 2017 2:00 pm

New Tools in Windows Device Portal for the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update

By / Program Manager, Windows Device Portal, DEP

In the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, Device Portal now offers several new tools from across Windows to help you location test your UWP, explore Mixed Reality, build new hardware peripherals and test your app’s new installation pipeline. It’s a little bit of goodness for everyone, and we’re excited to share these with you.

If you’re not familiar with Device Portal, you can check out the blog posts below to see what other tools you can find in Device Portal, or look at the new docs.microsoft.com to learn how to enable it.

And as always, all of these tools are backed by a REST API, so that you can use it from a scripting or client application environment using the Device Portal Wrapper.

Location Based Testing

Most of us don’t have the travel budgets to test our apps across the world – but pretending to travel is almost as good! The Location tool in Device Portal lets you easily change the location that Windows reports to apps. By tapping the “Override” check box, you can swap out the device location for whatever you set using the map or lat/long text boxes. Be sure to uncheck the box when you’re done so that your location (and timezone) come back to reality – every vacation must end…

Figure 1: The News app keeping me up to date with local headlines!

This also works for web pages in Microsoft Edge, letting you test your webpages in different parts of the world.

Some notes on what this tool can and cannot do:

  • This doesn’t change the locale of your PC! So the News app above still saw an EN-US user in the middle of Italy.
  • You may not see all apps using this location. Some programs don’t use the Windows API to determine location or have special logic (e.g. using your IP address) to determine your location.
  • This tool marks the PositionSource of the location data as “Default.” Some apps may check for the source and alter their behavior based on it.

Happy travels!

USB Diagnostics

This one goes out to all the hardware folks – if “HLK” or “WDK” sound familiar, you might find this handy. The USB team has updated the USBView tool to work inside Device Portal, so developers working on new hardware can have more tooling at their fingertips.

The USB Devices tool can be a bit tricky to find – head to the hamburger menu in the top right, and go to “Add tools to workspace.”  Scroll to the bottom and check the “USB Devices” box, then hit “Add.” And voila – a full view of your systems USB hubs, controllers and peripherals. The hubs and controllers expand to show individual devices using the + (plus) sign, and clicking the gear will expand to show the items properties.

Streaming App Install Debugging

The Windows 10 Creators Update added “streaming installation” for UWP, which allows a user to launch the app before it finished downloading. In order to make this easy to test, the App Model team has added a Streaming Install Debugger tool to Device Portal. To use it, deploy an app with content groups to the device, then open the Streaming Install Debugger. In it you’ll be able to edit the states of the content groups so you can test your apps behavior as streaming install is being simulated and ensure it behaves correctly when content groups are missing.

For more details, check out Andy Liu’s blog posts about the new App Installer and Streaming Install Debugger tools.

Mixed Reality Tooling

One of the bigger splashes in the Fall Creators Update is the addition of Mixed Reality to Windows Desktop. As part of that release, we’re including a suite of tools to help developers build great Mixed Reality apps. Two of these tools may look familiar to HoloLens developers – 3D View and a Framerate counter. There’s also a new app launch option that appears when you have an immersive headset attached to your PC, which lets you launch your app in Mixed Reality.

Frame rate is an important factor in making mixed reality apps comfortable, and it’s important for developers to optimize performance to hit full frame rate on the systems they support. The Frame Rate tool in the Device Portal helps by showing developers both the frame rate of their app and of the system’s compositor.

The 3D View helps when testing your immersive headset’s interactions with the real world, displaying its position as it moves through space.

Finally, what good is tooling if you can’t actually run your app in your immersive headset? Now, when you have an immersive headset attached, the Installed Apps tool will add a button letting you launch the app in the HMD. While fully immersive apps will always run in Mixed Reality, this new button is particularly useful for 2D UWP apps (or apps that switch between 2D and immersive) when you want to test them in Mixed Reality.

As always, if you have ideas for Device Portal that would help you write or debug apps, please leave us a note on our UserVoice or upvote an existing request. If you run into bugs, please file it with us via the Feedback Hub.

Related Posts:

Using Device Portal to view debug logs for UWP

Using the App File Explorer to see your app data

Updated August 16, 2017 8:46 am

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