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So you wanna do WP7 dev? What do you need to get started?

Mar 17

Written by:
Wednesday, March 17, 2010 10:32 PM  RssIcon

WP7You've heard some great things about Windows Phone 7 development and you want in?!  Great!  Read on to get the best info about the minimum you need to get your feet wet!

WP7If you're like me, you're probably SO JAZZED about Microsoft Windows Phone 7, you're like a Toronto Maple Leafs fan after winning the Stanely Cup........hhhhhmmmmm wait a sec, they've never won the Cup in my lifetime, sooooo hhhmmmm oh ok, you feel like a Canadiena fan after winning the Stanely Cup!  Ya, that's it!!!!!! haha  Little hockey humour there eh!  Yes, I'm a Crazy Canuck!  LOL

But back to the topic, so!!!!!!!!  You want in!  GREAT NEWS!!!!!!!  Let's do this journey together!!!!!  Misery loves company.....hhhmmm bad cliche!  LOL haahha  But seriously, learning a completely new technology has it's hiccups, stumbling blocks, frustrations but also it's COMPLETE AND UTTER ELATIONS OF CAFFEINATED INDUCED EUPHORIA!!!!!!!  How many OTHER times in our lives does a completely new opportunity come along like this?  What?  CPM?  Commodore 64?  OS/2?  Windows 3.0?  C++?  ASP?  Java?  .NET/C#/VB.NET?  Did any of you ca$h in on those technologies when they were in their infancy?  (Chances are if you DID, you would't be reading my blog, so I'm guessing....uhhhhh, no.)

First, the bad news.  Hardware (i.e. the phones/devices) aren't available........yet!!!!!!!!!!!  Ya, ya, I wish I could tell you if you had enough money you could get your hands on one, but you can't.  Hey, I've been trying ALL week to get my grubby hands on one and I just don't think the HW manufacturers have them to give them out......yet!  Give them a bit of time and we'll get the real hardware.  Don't worry, MIX 2010 conference attendees were already ALL OVER the presenters and MS telling them we want the real deal.  They know and are trying.

Charlie KindelSecond, the BEST NEWS OF ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The development tools you and I need ARE AVAILABLE NOW AND ARE FREE!!!!!!!!!!  To copy Charlie Kindel's phrase from his MIX presentation "Let me repeat that, they're available NOW and they are FREE!"  Who's Charlie?  Only the head honcho from MS who's in charge of the WP7.  Check out his blog, very cool, if very high level stuff.

Third, here is a list of the tools you'll need to get your hands on!

  1. Visual Studio 2010 RC
  2. Microsoft Windows Phone Developer Tools CTP

Oh, did you get that list?  You want I should just wait while you copy that down?  Long enough?  Ya, there's only two downloads!  Ok, granted they will take you a little while to download and install, but you just fire the process off and you're golden!  Honest, check out the links I put there and you'll see screen by screen, blow by blow what you can expect when you install them!  Once you do that, you are just a few mouse clicks away from running your first WP7 Silverlight app in an emulator (you DID read that part up above about no HW available yet right?).

After that you can flail around a bit, looking at blogs, poking around forums, asking people on the side of the street for help, or maybe you could just get a book.  hhhmmm "Books are so 90s Peter" or "Books are so expensive"  Normally you'd be right (I'm cheap LOL) but Charlie Petzold of Windows C++ fame has offered up (not sure for how long but it's there now) his newest WP7 programming book!  Sure, it's not perfect, it's a "Preview Content" but don't forget, we're in on the ground floor as the building is being built!  There's gonna be some "LOOK OUT BELOW!" screams and you just have to deal with it.  This book's got my attention and is a FANTASTIC companion in the washroom....uh oh, too much information.....bed time reading!  LOL  But seriously folks, Charles Petzold has been around coding and authoring books for 25 years, he's got NO illusions the books perfect, but it is free and it is the only one available at this time!

OH and one more thing, when you start to run the CTP, you might wonder WTF do you need VS 2010 RC for (notice, I said RC not Beta 2 there!), well, it's part of the CTP's prerequisites.  I'm assuming the CTP is using VS 2010's main editor/runtime engine, etc and just adding the phone specific stuff.  I'm pretty confident MS will be able to completely bundle WP7 dev environment into VS 2010 at some point in the near future.

"BUT WAIT PETER, you forgot about Expression Blend for the Phone!"  Nope, no I didn't.  Remember, our question at the top?  What do you need to get started?  THIS WILL GET YOU STARTED!  Let's focus on JUST the basics right now!  In hockey, you need to learn to take a wrist shot before you can start taking slap shots.  The analogy holds PERFECTLY here cause ALL peewee hockey players want to do is slap the puck but they just don't have the basics (hip movements) down and it ends up taking them MUCH LONGER to do EITHER shot properly.  So let's nail the basics first eh?!  THEN we can move onto Expression Blend for the Phone.

Now that you know how to get started, it's time to grab a coffee and get coding!  (well, after the downloads at least LOL).


PS  hhhhmmmm With uh, that Canadiens reference, YES, I know my team's not STELLAR this season, but I'm STILL a fan. LOL

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