imageWhile I’d love to say that I’m giving you each a Windows Phone 8 device for the holidays, I can’t. Sorry. But, given that most of us have some time off coming (or perhaps you’ve already started your winter break), I can give you the gift of a Windows Phone 8 developer course – 20+ hours worth of learning! – to help you learn how to build cool apps and games for Windows Phone 8 (and have a new hobby? start a new startup? show off new skills at work? etc)

This fast-passed, demo-rich online course features two mobile development thought leaders as presenters: Andy Wigley, a sought-after mobile app developer and co-author of three best-selling books on mobile application development and Rob Tiffany, mobile strategist, author, and speaker for Microsoft.

If you’re a developer or architect who needs to move beyond the hype and deep dive into the real meat and potatoes (LOL, can’t get away from thinking about food when thinking about the holidays), you will love the content of this course.

1 Introducing Windows Phone 8 Development
After some brief introductions and a detailed overview of the agenda, expert instructors Andy Wigley and Rob Tiffany kick off the course with an information-packed introduction. This module has two parts. In the first part of a two-part module and covers the new app platform in Windows Phone 8, application development models, the Windows Phone 8 version of WinRT, supported application models and a "getting started with WP8 app development" section. In the second half of a two-part course introduction led by Andy Wigley and Rob Tiffany. This section provides a broad new features overview (details of these new features are covered in later modules), Windows Phone 7x compatibility, and using the Windows Phone Developer Tools.
2 Designing Windows Phone 8 Apps
With Windows Phone 8, it's more essential than ever that developers know how to properly express apps so they adhere to the overall look and feel of the phone. In this session, Andy and Rob introduce the Windows Phone design language and how to start designing an app; application structure and navigation models, getting started with XAML, understanding Themes and built-in control styles; new features in Windows Phone 8 to help you align controls correctly; how to generate design time data in Blend, an introduction to MVVM and databinding; ListBox and LongListSelector and designing list item layout templates.
3 Building Windows Phone 8 Apps
This module provides developers with a comprehensive understanding of the key components required to build a Windows Phone 8 App, including Page Navigation, the Application Bar, building UI for multiple screen resolutions and portrait/landscape orientations, implementing page transition animations with the Windows Phone Toolkit and Localization.
4 Files and Storage on Windows Phone 8
This module covers new storage concepts for Windows Phone 8. The concepts covered in this module include accessing the Installation folder or the Local folder using the Windows Phone Runtime Windows.Storage APIs. Additionally, Andy and Rob focus on background file transfers, Special Folders (Shared/Media, Shared/ShellContent, Shared/Transfers), and exploring the local folder with ISET Using Removable SD cards. If you're looking for Local Database information, see modules 8a and 8b from the Windows Phone Mango Jump Start (see related links).
5 Windows Phone 8 Application Lifecycle
During this session, Andy Wigley and Rob Tiffany focus on key concepts like the Windows Phone 8 program lifecycle (Launching and Closing, Deactivating and Activating, Dormant and Tombstoned applications and the Simulation Dashboard). Next, they discuss Idle Detection on Windows Phone and Detecting Obscured events, Fast Application Resume, Lifecycle design, and Page Navigation and the Back Stack.
6 Background Agents
Andy Wigely and Rob Tiffany cover concepts during this module that will help ensure your apps help ensure the best possible performance and battery life for the phone user. Topics such as Windows Phone task management, multi-tasking with background agents, updating tiles from a background agent, creating tasks in Visual Studio, File transfer tasks, and Background notifications will be covered.
7 Tiles and Lock Screen Notifications
In this module, developers learn about Tiles in Windows Phone 8. Topics include Local Tiles API, Updating Tiles from ShellTileSchedule, Updating Tiles from Background Agents, Lock screen notifications for Windows Phone, and Lock screen background for Windows Phone.
8 Push Notifications
During this session, Push Notifications and server-initiated communications are covered. Andy and Rob discuss Push Notifications Infrastructure and demonstrate three kinds of Notifications: Raw, Toast and Tile, then cover Push Response Headers.
9 Using Phone Resources in Windows Phone 8
Andy & Rob demonstrate how to leverage a variety of Windows Phone 8 resources in tihs module. Working with Launchers and Choosers, using Contacts and Calendars (SaveAppointment Task, Custom Contacts API), taking still images and manipulating video streams (Camera APIs, lenses), working with the Windows Phone Microphone and Sensors (such as the Motion sensor) and working with Video Content are all covered in this module.
10 App to App Communication in Windows Phone 8
In this session, Andy and Rob demonstrate app to app communication in Windows Phone 8. Topics such as auto-launching with File and Protocol Associations (URI), launching apps to handle particular File Types, and launching one app from another are covered.
11 Network Communication in Windows Phone 8
During this module, developers learn how to leverage patterns for asynchronous use of networking APIs. Topics include WebClient, HttpWebRequest, Listener Sockets, Web Services and OData V3, Data Compression support, Simulation Dashboard, Data Sense and applications. Storing data in Skydrive. Encryption and Authentication. Accessing services running on localhost.
12 Proximity Sensors and Bluetooth in Windows Phone 8
Andy & Rob cover local communication with Windows Phone 8 in this module. After a Bluetooth Overview, using Bluetooth from an application, Near Field Communications (NFC), bump-to-connect, using NFC from an application and proximity API functionality are covered.
13 Speech Input in Windows Phone 8
In this session, Andy and Rob illustrate the vast speech capabilities for developers on Windows Phone 8, including speech synthesis, controlling apps using speech (voice command definition files, building conversations, selecting application entry points), simple speech input/speec recognition, and speech input and grammars, such as using Grammar Lists.
14 Maps and Location in Windows Phone 8
During this module, developers learn how to leverage the new Location API and new Maps Controls with Windows Phone 8. Primary topics include the Windows Phone Runtime Location API, acquring the phone’s current location, continuously tracking the phone’s location, running location-tracking apps in the background, the New Map Control, specifying Map center and zoom, animating Map Display using Map Views.
15 Wallet Support
Andy Wigley and Rob Tiffany provide and important overview for Wallet Support during this session. After the Wallet Overview (applications and wallet storage, wallet capabilities), they cover creating and using a membership card, the Wallet Background Agent, and creating and using a payment instrument card.
16 In-App Purchasing
During this module, developers learn how to support In App Purchases. Rob and Andy cover topics such as adding products to your application (durable and consumable items), the purchase lifecycle, and the Application Programmer Interface (finding products, purchasing products, using product receipts).
17 The Windows Phone Store
This key module provides important content for preparing your app succesfully for the Windows Phone Store. Performance Analysis, creating an Application (configuring the application, the Store Testing Tool), Distributing an Application, the Windows Phone Store, Advertising Supported Applications, and Maximising Uptake will be covered.
18 Enterprise App Architecture
Rob Tiffany illustrates a variety of ways Windows Phone 8 can be effectively leveraged in the enterprise. During this module, focus is on both enterprise architecture, publishing and device management. Specific topics include Mobile Enterprise Concepts, building mobile middleware with SQL Server 2012 + IIS, securely publishing enterprise data out to the Internet, consuming and working with data on Windows Phone, Phone Devices in the Enterprise, managed and unmanaged devices, Device Enrollment, and distributing the enrollment key.
19 Windows 8 Cross Platform Development
Building for consistent experiences across Windows devices (Tiles, Notifications, Animations for differing screen sizes, controls, Lifecycle), Minimizing Development through reuse (Portable Class Library) and Sharing Code from Windows Phone Runtime and the Windows Runtime, and Architecture (Architecture APIs, Visualizing Data, and Navigation).
20 Mobile Web
Teresa Greiner joins Rob Tiffany for this strategic final session of the Building Apps for Windows Phone 8 Jump Start. By 2015, Gartner predicts that 80% of all mobile applications developed will be hybrid or mobile web-oriented. Teresa shares important approaches developers and application architects can take now to best prepare for this coming reality. Additionally, Teresa and Rob will discuss a myriad of mobile web best practices. Finally, Rob explains how you can leverage new HTML5 capabilities to build enterprise web apps.

The Developer Movement

If you’re already going to be spending the time watching and learning how to build Windows Phone 8 apps and games, you may as well submit what you’ve been working on to the Developer Movement. In doing so, you’ll earn points towards cool rewards. The more apps you submit, the more points you accumulate, the more rewards or larger rewards you’ll get. Make sure to look out for Developer Movement Challenges where you’ll be able to earn even more goodies. Check out the Developer Movement site for more information.

Happy learning and building!