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Instagraph: Instagram uploading from Windows Phone

InstagraphFinally, after the many moans and groans from the Windows Phone user community a developer (Venetasoft) has managed to find a way to enable image uploads to Instagram from any Windows Phone app with the “share…” support, in the form of Instagraph.

It should be noted that Instagraph is solely an image upload app with a degree of image editing thrown in using the power of Aviary online image editing functionality. A big hurdle that the Venetasoft have managed to overcome as well as the ability to upload from Windows Phone devices is the ability to create a new Instagram account direct from a Windows Phone device.

Some may complain as the app is being initially priced as $2.49 (£1.99) with an upload limit of 3 images per day ( to be increased in the coming weeks), but the app fills a big gap in the inter OS battle between Windows Phone, Android and iOS as it stops one of the big “My OS can do something your OS can’t” arguments made against Windows Phone at last.

Application Background

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The reason for the app not being cheaper, or free, is that the developers need to cover months of development and hardware costs, in addition to on-going maintenance costs. The architecture behind Instagraph is supported by hundreds of racked iOS/Android motherboards, hosted on managed servers and geographically distributed Azure cloud services. The developer’s plan is to double their server infrastructure every week, in order to guarantee acceptable publishing time for all users, so all income from the sale price of the app will be re-invested on both hardware and software infrastructure, and the development of new, missing, apps and functionality. Venetasoft hope that the price of Instagraph will be seen as a "contribute to the platform" campaign, as they are primarily WP enthusiasts and users too with the ability to develop where they perceive gaps in WP Store offering.

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The big plus for the app is that it integrates into the “share…” functionality in the Windows Phone OS enabling users to “Share” to Instagram directly from the OEM Camera and Photo apps.

The current Instagraph backend server infrastructure can easily manage many thousands of concurrent uploads, and if the number of uploads is even bigger than expected, Venetasoft reserve the option to temporary hide the Instagraph app from the Windows Phone Store stopping new adopters whilst they upscale accordingly which should only take a few days.

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The initial release is limited to Windows Phone 8, although a Windows 8 (WInRT) version has completed beta testing and Windows Phone 7 version is near to being sent to the Windows Phone Store for certification.

Some extra good news is that all Venetasoft apps will be free for one week to celebrate the release of Instagraph. This includes one of our favourite apps (Turbo Camera) which is, in our opinion, one of the best, if not the best burst image capture app in the Windows Phone Store .

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Usability

Once installed, Instagraph is a pleasure to use, partially due to it’s simplicity. Opening the app presents a main image selection screen showing the image files contained within the captured and saved images folders. At the bottom of this screen there are options to:

  • use the camera app to capture a new image to upload,
  • search other image folders using the default OEM image browser or
  • check the upload history for the status of previously uploaded images.

Account setup is simple requiring an Instagram username, password and email address. The good news is that if you haven’t managed to get one already you can create one within the Instagraph app. Once account setup is complete, image upload is as simple as selecting an image and saving/uploading it to Instagram with modifications made via Aviary if required.

Once uploaded to the Instagraph servers there is a waiting time before the image appears on Instagram, but you can check progress at any time using the upload history screen which shows a cross if the image is not yet on Instagram and a tick when upload is complete.

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This is where Instagraph ends, although it does provide access to your Instagram page via a web browser link, but Venetasoft expect users to make the most of existing Instagram browser apps for viewing and commenting on images on Instagram.

The true premise of Instagraph is to enable sharing to Instagram via the standard Windows Phone “Share…” menu so that you can upload to Instagram from any app which has access to the default “Share…” menu.

Verdict

Instagraph is a true “Does what is says on the tin” kind of app and we love it’s simplicity. The ability to share to Instagram from any app with the “Share…” menu is well worth the initial $2.49 (£1.99) price tag. We accept that the 3 uploads per day limit may be a little inhibiting for some, but on average this should not be an issue for most users as not all images are Instagram worthy and the limit should increase is the near future.

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Score:

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Below you can read some of the developer’s Instagraph FAQs.

FAQ

Why it is not official Instagram?

  • Well, we cannot do anything about it 
  • We asked them to release a WP version, as we are WP users and enthusiasts too, then we asked for the complete API set, but without success, so we felt abandoned and started working on Instagraph.

Why is it not possible to create a new Instagram via Instagraph ?

  • Instagram accounts can only be created directly from iOS and Android devices currently, due to Instagram access restrictions.
  • The next Instagraph update adds this feature for WP devices.

Why is it not possible to see post or comment ?

  • Instagraph in its first releases will only cover important features missing from other Instagram Apps. You can use other beautiful Apps such as WPGram and Metrogram for this, or even the web browser. Once installed, Instagraph is integrated into the "share" and "edit" menus, so it is super easy to share pictures from other sources or Apps too.

Will a WP7 version be available?

  • Yes, and a WinRT version is en-route too

Does Instagraph use Instagram API?

  • No.
  • We don’t spoof, sniff, alter or "hack" Instagram calls to their web services in any way.
  • Nor have we emulated, reverse engineered, disassembled or altered any Instagram App on iOS or on Android.
  • Instagraph is completely compliant with Instagram terms and policies, as we did it legally.

Why do we need to enter username and password on settings page, and not on classic oath web page?

Is privacy preserved?

  • Your data is HTTPS encrypted, all network communications between apps and services are SSL secured.
  • We delete an image immediately after being successfully submitted to Instagram.

Have you been helped/supported/funded by Microsoft or Nokia to build this App?

  • No, Microsoft only certified it to prove Instagram is legal, secure, and it does not violate your privacy.
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