With the launch of Windows Phone 7 imminent I thought it high time I wrote a new blog post on Windows Phone 7 Development and how bloody easy it is.
It is very easy to mock Microsoft and Windows Phone 7 for so many reasons. Yes previous versions of Windows Mobile, although good in their day, are now not up to scratch. Yes Apple has a clear lead as well as Android at the moment but now the iPhone is starting to look a little (actually a lot) long in the tooth and Android is nipping at their heels. Let’s face it Android is good and I have blogged as such. My iPhone now sits collecting dust and my HTC Legend has taken its place.
I blogged sometime ago about the HTC Legend and while I take back a little of what I said (my thumbs are too big for the onscreen keyboard) I still think the phone and Android are awesome. I am not the only iPhone to Android convert of late I can assure you.
But enough about the competition, back to Windows Phone 7.
There are a lot of Windows Developers out there, and I mean a lot.
Silverlight although not mainstream on the net (market penetration is good though) is an awesome product. The fact that Silverlight (and XNA) are the development tools for Windows Phone 7 means you are supplied with a killer toolset for developing applications.
That and the sheer number of Windows Developers out there cannot be underestimated.
And then there are the doomsayers that tell us “Microsoft has lost it”, “They are no longer relevant” blah blah blah. Hey Kids, 12 months may be a long time in the IT game but things can change very fast, so don’t rule out Microsoft just yet. It wasn’t too long ago that the media was telling us that “Windows is dead and MAC OS-X will rule the desktop”and then came along Windows 7. The only people (read fanboys) that can say that is a bad product are the ones who haven’t actually used Windows 7.
But enough, this is a developer blog not a propaganda piece for Microsoft.
As I was saying, developing for Windows Phone 7 is ridiculously easy and the toolset, hmm what’s a better word than killer, I will go with FULLY SICK for the Gen-Y audience out there.
Below is a short video of an application I created today which was based on some work I have been doing for a client that is a web based rewards program. This was to illustrate how insanely easy this was to port to Windows Phone 7. Sure it’s not all that flashy looking, it may not be that exciting but slap a little lippy on it ala a Graphic Designer and we are cooking with gas folks.
What this video demonstrates was a few hours work creating a Windows Phone 7 version of part of the application I have been working on.
It makes use of the Windows Phone 7 Application Bar shown below which provides access to actions that are in context to our current location within the application.
It also provides access to the context menu (those three dots) for our current location within the application (also shown below) which can provide us with access to application features that we may want to make available but are not key to our application.
It demonstrates server side paging against a SQL Server database of 500,000 records and efficiently returns us back results at 100 each time. Paging is accomplished using the ‘Prev Page’ and ‘Next Page’ buttons shown above.
So what do you need and how much will it cost? Well fortunately it is all FREE.Just download the tools from the Windows Phone Developer site. The other thing you will need is also free but comes at a price, your brain.
Expression Blend 4
When you are developing your UI, Expression Blend 4 is the way to go. It is built for designing a UI and I have to say ‘I love it’.
Making good use of the animation tools and behaviours makes it’s a cinch to create a UI that responds to user interaction without a single line of code.
Visual Studio 2010
When it comes time to really make your application fly then you switch across to Visual Studio 2010. You still get the UI tools but this is really built for coding.
Everything you need is at your disposal and it’s the same Visual Studio that you are used to working in if you are a Microsoft Developer.
Now that Windows Phone 7 is nearly here I am excited.
I want to develop for the mobile world (or at least have that as additional skillset) and Windows Phone 7 makes it a painless exercise.
And that is why I think it will be a success. It has the backing of a great (oft misunderstood) company and it has an enormous developer community that I think, like me, have been waiting for the opportunity to develop for Windows Phone 7 and that time is nearly upon us.
But this doesn’t just open up opportunities for us as developers, it also opens up opportunities for our customers. Those that already have a strong investment in Microsoft technology and are not about to just throw it away overnight for the current flavour of the month. This seamless development experience makes it an extremely easy decision for our customers.
And for the consumers. Well heck, who doesn’t like a shiny new toy to play with and Microsoft have something truly compelling on offer here.