Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist
As I mentioned in a previous blog post, where I
describe how to install the Zune software on Windows Server 2008, the Windows
Phone 7 tools do not install on Windows Server 2008 as easily as on other
“workstation” versions of Windows (Windows Vista, Windows 7). Once again, this
is perfectly understandable since a server version of Windows is not aimed for
application development purposes. However, since I installed Windows Server
2008 on my machine for training purposes, and since I don’t have enough
computers at home to have one dedicated for this server version of Windows, I
searched for a way to force the installation of these WP7 tools. Luckily (thanks
to Aaron Stebner); I found a way as described in this post... But before going
any further, I must mention that this is not officially supported by Microsoft,
so do it (or not) at your own risks. Since my motivations were only training,
that doesn’t matter to me.
Phone Developer Tools web boot strapper from here and save it on your hard drive. It
is just a 3.2 MB file;
a command prompt window and type vm_web.exe
/x to extract the contents of the setup package. You’ll have to indicate a
location in which the files will be unzipped;
to the extracted folder and open the file baseline.dat
file in notepad;
for the section named [gencomp7788];
the value InstallOnLHS from 1 to 0;
the value InstallOnWin7Server from 1
and close baseline.dat;
setup.exe /web from the folder
extracted to in step 2.
You can now develop Windows Phone 7 apps and
games on your Windows Server 2008 machine. Please note that Visual Studio 2010
is required and that it installs without any particular problem on Windows
I love coding enough to consider it to be a form of art. To
me, even fully functional code is only half-useful if it doesn’t follow
conventions, doesn’t contain proper documentation, and is not reusable. I
consider the definition of a properly written program as one that would qualify
for the Pulitzer Prize nomination. If it were a piece of literature that is.
With that said, I might have created an impression of
someone who would have doubts about a 24-hour coding session. Especially one
aimed specifically at mobile development. After all, completing a computer
science assignment overnight is one thing; producing market-ready and
contest-winning apps for a phone in a 24-hour period is another.
But the target platform of the 2011 Canada-wide
code-a-thons, Windows Phone 7, is no ordinary platform to develop for. It
doesn’t require a dozen independent installation packages just to create and
deploy a test app. It also doesn’t require you to consider a variety of different
devices you code will run on; it’s one platform, one build. And it most
certainly doesn’t turn your world upside down when it comes to the programming
language. Development for Windows Phone 7 is done with the same C# language
specification that is used for web, windows and even Xbox development. Game
development projects done with XNA, for instance, can be deployed to Windows,
Xbox and Windows Phone 7 without changing a single line of code (http://bit.ly/hAgYPO)!
A simple installation process, a powerful development
environment and an easy high-level programming language; all that sums up to
the fact that 24 hours allocated for coding will be spent doing just that. Sure
24-hours won’t yield a Pulitzer Prize winning app or artistically gorgeous
code, but for Windows Phone 7 development it could be more than enough to
produce an app that will sell to the world.
The March Code-a-Thon at Ryerson University took place at
the university’s DMZ lab. The Digital Media Zone (alright, go ahead and call it
Demilitarized Zone if you want to) is an incubator for Ryerson students who
wish to develop their ideas into commercial enterprises. But for 24 hours, the
Zone became home to a number of students who just wanted to create phone apps.
View of Yonge and
Dundas from DMZ
Armed with pizza and red bull, Ryerson, U of T, York and
other students from around GTA went on to create some pretty cool stuff.
testing in progress
As an MSP, I was tasked with assisting students, but that
didn’t prevent me from working on my app as well. Having worked with XNA
before, I decided to create something in 3D. I knew I wouldn’t finish on time,
but I figured I would at least attempt to impress the judges :)
The initial brainstorming sessions resulted in both fun and
useful apps. At the end of the event, Developer Evangelist, Joey deVilla,
encouraged everyone to submit their apps to the marketplace, with a bit more
tweaking after the code-a-thon.
Some memorable results included a fake call app, described
by Joey as a much needed app to get out of those occasional awkward situations.
The 4th place was given to a very simple app that showed a picture of a hand,
used the accelerometer to detected a “shove” motion, and played that killer
sentence that no one wants to hear (please don’t make me say it here). Joey
pointed out that sometimes it is the “simple & stupid” apps that become a big
hit, pointing out the fart app as an example.
Let’s just say that
the code-a-thon produced a bit more than fart apps
My app was a 3D view of the solar system. I grabbed flat
planet maps from NASA’s imagery website and wrapped them around spheres, which
were sized, placed and given orbits with relative constants for some factors,
such as orbital period, taken directly from - you guessed it - Wikipedia. The
attempt was simple and incomplete, but my goal to wow the judges succeeded to a
certain extent; I ended up in the second place.
Sailor" Planet scales had to be identical, otherwise, aside from Jupiter
and Saturn, nothing would be visible
The winning app was an implementation of the classic card
game “Durak”. The winner received Samsung’s flagship Windows Phone 7, Focus.
Another phone was given to the Digital Media Zone to encourage further WP7
development. A team within the Zone deployed their test apps on the phone the
Work hard, play hard
After installing Windows Server 2008 on my
machine (for training purposes), I tried to install the Zune software but it
told me that this version of Windows is not supported. Actually, this is quiet
logical, since such a Windows version is not aimed for entertainment purposes,
I found a way to force the installation of the Zune software on Windows Server
you try to install the Zune software on Windows Server 2008, you’ll face this
means that you’ll have to install it in a more “manual” manner. The first thing
to do is to notice the location where the setup bootstrap unzips the files:
3. Navigate to this folder and open the
subfolder inside it:
that subfolder, there is a Zune-x86.msi
file. Before running it, make sure to remove any previous installation of the
the installation is done, you’ll now be able to use the Zune software on your
Windows Server 2008 machine.
In an upcoming blog post, I’ll show
you how to install the Windows Phone 7 tools on Windows Server 2008 since they
do not install as easily as on other “workstation” versions of Windows.
Rob Miles Highlights the importance of students submitting applications through marketplace in order to validate their identity and developer unlock their phones in this must see video!
Great Windows Phone 7 Development Material may be downloaded here as an introduction to Windows Phone development. This is 8 sections with labs, PowerPoint presentations, demos and notes. Silverlight and Visual Studio introduction along with user interface design are included in this tutorial.
Dr Andras Sobester from Southampton University and team launched a Windows Phone 7 into the upper atmospheres using a helium ballon. "We are collecting data which will then plug in to various atmospheric
science projects, monitoring pollutants such as volcanic ash for example, and
informing the science behind modelling the climate and earth system in
general." The HTC 7 Trophy was used to log scientific data and to demonstrate the use of low-powered, light-weight commodity embedded device as a data logger. Microsoft Windows Azure was used as the back-end computing resource that the phone communicated and had its data interpreted.
During the phone's mission, it reached a maximum altitude of 18,237 meters during its 1h 16' flight. The phone sent its location coordinates to Azure server when it was in a GSM frequency range. The future is bright for the team as further missions will include external instruments linked to WP7 via Bluetooth stack. The WP7/Azure combination will form the trajectory modeling system for future missions. More information about the project may be found here:
ASTRA (Atmospheric Science Through Robotic Aircraft) initiative - http://www.soton.ac.uk/~astra/