My first Windows Phone development experiences

Via this post I would like to share my first Windows Phone development experiences with you.

But before I do that, let me first introduce myself. My name is Jeroen Fürst and I am the lead Kentico developer at TrueLime in Breda, The Netherlands. In the daytime I develop websites using Kentico CMS and during the night I pretty much do the same. But since about a month ago I started doing some Windows Phone development (on the side) which I find pretty interesting! I run a blog dedicated to Kentico CMS development (for those that are interested) at the following location, and I will post Windows Phone development related content here on Init. So here goes:

Tip 1: Download the tools

To start Windows Phone development, download and install the Windows Phone SDK. The download includes i.a. Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, the Windows Phone Emulator and Microsoft Expression Blend for Windows Phone.


Tip 2: Explore the different types of Windows Phone applications

My first application was based on the Panorama Application (nice browsing experience) but I ended up rewriting my application using the Pivot template. I would recommend creating a couple of demo projects based on different templates and experience the differences hands on.


Windows Phone templates


Tip 3: Become familiar with the Metro concept

With the choice of using the Panorama template for my first project, I started changing the application to my needs. This included capitalizing titles and picking ugly colors and backgrounds. A couple of days later, while I was chilling on the couch, I watched the following (Dutch) video by Fons Sonnemans, trainer & consultant at Reflection IT, where he demonstrates basic Windows Phone development using Microsoft Expression Blend. This was the first time that I became aware of the importance of Metro and started my journey in some Metro basics:

  1. Windows Phone Capitalization, when to use upper and lowercased titles
  2. Theme Design Decisions, dark and light themes via two background colors and 10 accent colors.
  3. MetroGridHelper, the grid system assistant, to achieve optimal alignment.


Windows Phone Terminology

For additional info and a video on Metro click here.


Tip 4: Avoid the Windows Phone Emulator close button

The Windows Phone Emulator is a great tool to test-drive your creation. The emulator automatically runs every time you run your app. But because it’s actually a virtual machine that has to be started, it can take up quite some time before the emulator is loaded. Luckily you will only have to load it once, just make sure you don’t hit the close button (like I did).


Tip 5: Don’t reinvent the wheel!

While Windows Phone development is currently a hot topic, it is definitely not new. I found that very much info is already available on the WWW. Below you can find my top 5 favorite references:

  1. Scott Hanselman’s: From Concept to Code in 6 hours: Shipping my first Windows Phone App
  2. Jeff Wilcox’s: “Metro” design guide for developers, v1.00
  3. WindowsPhoneGeek: WP7 Master - Detail Navigation with Repository Pattern
  4. Init: Phone channel
  5. Bil Simser's: The Big Dummies Guide for Windows Phone Developer Resources


This concludes this first brief overview of my Windows Phone development experiences and I hope you found it interesting and/or useful. In my next post I hope to cover some more in-depth techniques and code samples that I used to create my first application, alongside a link to my first app, published in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Stay tuned!