“Keeping up the Joneses” is generally associated with materialistic goods (i.e. your neighbor purchases a [insert shiny new item here] so you do as well) but now that same metaphor can be easily related to technology. In today’s ever increasingly connected world, mobile devices are at the forefront of this tidal wave of information and people expect instantaneous access to their data. Therefore developers need to be proficient in a multitude of areas which means lowering the learning curve that may be in front of them is extremely important.

Of course not everyone can allocate time for a 2-3 day workshop (or longer in some cases), so on demand/online training is a great alternative. Having said that, the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) has recently published quite a few new Windows Phone 7.5 “How do I? Videos” which cover a number of topics. These 10 to 15 minute videos demonstrate specific tasks for developing applications with step-by-step instructions on how to accomplish them.

These videos will not only help you keep up to date with the latest market demands but also benefit your organization if they have not (or are at the early stages of) exploring the use of mobile apps in their enterprise environment.

Since we’re speaking about development, implementing best practices should always be followed and if practical guidance is available; all the better. To that end the Microsoft patterns & practices (p&p) team released the Windows Phone Developer Guide and it does a fantastic job in conveying all aspects that make up phone development (e.g. pattern usage, authentication, testability, synchronization, etc.). This should definitely be on your list of reading material.

So, fire up your virtual machine (VM), watch a video and start developing your very own Windows Phone application today!

Note: The Windows Phone SDK allows you to create apps and games for Windows Phone 7.5 and 7.0, and is available in English, Japanese, Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, and Spanish, and includes productivity enhancements such as an app profiler and an improved emulator. The Microsoft Advertising SDK for Windows Phone is also now conveniently built into the Windows Phone SDK, making it easier to earn money through in-app ads.