Susan IbachTechnical Evangelist
Don’t get me wrong, I can write code, in fact I love to code, I really do. I think most of us who enjoy logic, enjoy programming. It’s all the other stuff that makes me want to bang my head against the wall, trying to figure out what tool to use, installing the tool, figuring out how to compile, configure, and deploy and test stuff. I have been told that if you can code you can build a phone app. I am going to put that to the test by building and publishing an application from scratch and sharing my story in a series of blog posts so maybe you can do the same!
If you talk to any of my co-workers they will attest that although I am nobody’s fool, for whatever reason when it comes to installing and configuring stuff, I need help. I don’t even know how to install a printer, so I really do believe if I can do it anyone can.
I work for Microsoft and one of the things I do is talk to people about Windows Phone, so of course I am going to build a Windows Phone app, which I am told is the easiest platform for developing phone applications. We’ll see if it’s really as easy as they say. Ready? Okay here we go!
Because of my job I do know where to go to download the toolkit:Go to App Hub and then click on the tile that says Download the free tools
That takes me to a page that says develop for Windows Phone 7.5 and Xbox LIVE Indie Games. Xbox would be cool, but I want to build a phone app so I am going to choose download the Windows Phone SDK 7.1 (of course if anyone reads this in a year, there will no doubt be a newer version)
Okay now it takes me to the Download Center and there are two files to download, the release notes and an executable.
Well that’s pretty straightforward, I hate it when the download is 6 different files and I can’t figure out which is the 32 bit version and which is the 64 bit version and stuff like that. I admit I don’t always read all the release notes and caveats but since I am blogging today I will actually read some of the stuff on the page.
The windows phone SDK includes the following
System Requirements okay that I should look at…
There is also a note saying if you have the earlier version of the phone SDK you must install that first. Hah now I do actually have to do that because I started trying to build a phone app this summer, and then got distracted. I guess it pays to read the instructions! And of course no instructions on how to uninstall. Luckily I do know enough to try Start – Control Panel – Programs – Uninstall a program
Of course there are a bunch of components with Windows Phone in the name, I think I need to uninstall Windows Phone SDK and all the other stuff like Windows SDK add in for visual Studio and Expression Blend SDK for Windows Phone are part of that SDK. Pick Uninstall/Change, then a window comes up asking repair or uninstall I choose uninstall, click OK…wait a while and done. Now I can download the release notes (I want to look thorough since I am blogging about this). Wow a lot of stuff in there, but what matters will depend on your installation. For me an important fact was the fact that if you have Visual Studio 2010 on your pc (which I do) you need SP1, but this same SDK will work whether or not you have Visual Studio 2010. Basically if you don’t have Visual Studio you get Visual Studio Express. If you do have Visual Studio 2010 it will install a sort of add-on so you can develop phone apps in your existing Visual Studio.
Now I am ready to install the actual SDK! I just downloaded vm_web2.exe when I double click on it. Hah! I don’t have enough hard drive space. Figures, nothing is ever simple for me! Okay time to move a few of my photos onto an external hard drive. Now I can try again, a few “I agree” and “Ok” clicks and I get a message telling me it is successfully installed.
I go to Start All Programs, since I have Visual Studio installed I can launch Visual Studio, if you don’t have Visual Studio, then after you install the toolkit you would launch Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone.
Select File | New Project and look at that I have two new project types for building Windows Phone applications! Silverlight for Windows Phone and XNA Game Studio.
Well okay that was easier than I expected. So far so good. Next blog I’ll figure out how to build and test a simple application. Wish me luck and join me on my adventure download the SDK today and start thinking about what your app will be! Then check out part 2 where I get to...you guessed it, build a Hello World App.
Ideas change the world! Ideas solve problems! Ideas create new products and opportunities! They come to us when we are driving to campus, taking a shower, going for a run, or just out drinking with friends. Not all ideas come to life, but without ideas we wouldn’t have electric cars, smart phones, the Bass-o-Matic or the Shamwow. It always starts with an idea. That’s why ideas should be rewarded and we have the Idea of the Week contest. Students from around the world are invited to submit their ideas for a phone application, and every week an idea will be selected, featured and rewarded. What’s the catch? You do have to think our your idea enough to sketch it out. To enter the contest you need to create a SketchFlow prototype using Expression Studio and the SketchFlow Template for Windows 7 (which you get free of charge at Dreamspark).
Step 1 Sign up for Dreamspark
Step 2 Download and install Expression Blend
Step 3 Download the SketchFlow Template for Windows Phone
Step 4 Run the downloaded file which is an installer file, Click Next a couple of times, tell your security tool that you really do want this software installed.
Step 5 Launch Expression Blend 4 and choose New Project
Step 6 Choose Windows Phone SketchFlow Application and give your project a suitable name then click ‘OK’
Step 7 Start adding screens and connecting them, add the controls to show off your idea!
Download Expression Blend from Dreamspark today and enter the Idea of the week, after you submit your idea, get coding, remember publish two quality apps and you could walk away with a windows phone as part of the Mango App Challenge!
Okay you’ve heard me talking about Imagine Cup last week, because I am really excited about the Canadian Imagine Cup Finals we’ll be hosting this year. You can start thinking about your entries for Software Design and Phone and putting together your teams. But in this post I’d like to talk about one of the other categories in Imagine Cup the IT Challenge! As Canadians were seen as the underdogs in just about everything except curling and hockey. Maybe it’s time we stepped up and showed the world we know IT as well! This category is an individual competition, so all you have to do is sign up and give it your best.
Show off your brainpower in the Imagine Cup IT Challenge. Show off your knowledge of IT and how to support infrastructures. You’ll be faced with challenges to demonstrate your proficiency in networks, databases, and servers and how they all fit together. Come on give it a shot, why not? You never know? At least try the first round and see if you make it to the second…
All the details are posted at the Imagine Cup website – Register for the IT Challenge today
From here on, installing ASP.Net MVC 3 and updates for Visual Studio should be an easy exploration. Hint: Web PI. In my next post, I'll write about all the basics and background to MVC. Stay tuned!
- Kowsheek Mahmood
This post also appears on Code Trek.
Whether you are a professor, an associate professor, instructor, or just thinking of delivering a lecture to your gaming club on Windows phone, it helps to have some resources at your disposal! My favourite resources are the ones that have been created for me. That’s why I wanted to take a minute to talk about some of the resources we have available to help introduce your audience how to develop for windows phone:
Need a phone for demonstrations or testing? It’s taken care of. I know that some applications are hard to test and visualize without having a physical device to test them. That’s why we have Windows Phones put aside to loan to faculty and technical clubs that can be used during a lecture to show the capabilities of the phone. Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know when you need the devices so we can arrange to send them to you. If you are going to have students develop phone applications as part of a course, we can arrange for loans that will last for the duration of the course.
You need the software tools to develop a phone application? It’s taken care of! All the tools you need to develop a Windows Phone application are available at App Hub. You have a couple of options for your development environment. You can just download the Software Development Kit at App Hub and it will install Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone on your PC. But, since you are working with students, and students have access to Dreamspark, you may as well take advantage of it! You can download and install the full copy of Visual Studio 2010 Professional, and then download and install the Software Development Kit. This will just add the Phone projects and tools to your existing Visual Studio installation. If you are trying to teach good user interface design or graphic design to your students they can also install Microsoft Expression Studio Ultimate from Dreamspark which can be used to design graphics and prototype sketches of your phone application.
Need a reason to build a phone application? It’s taken care of! There are many reasons to build a windows phone application. It’s the easiest mobile application platform to use, with Windows Phone you can focus on the code, and let the tools take care of everything else! You can get an application into a world wide marketplace while there is still room to be noticed. You can build your portfolio. You can apply the theory you are learning in class to the real world. You can make money. As an added incentive, right now we have a promotion called the Mango App Challenge (that promotion ended Dec 15th 2011, check out the Developer movement in effect until May 20th, 2012) , publish quality apps, get cool stuff like Kinect, Hard drive, or a phone!!
Another great incentive to build a phone application is the Imagine Cup, a student competition that lets students shine on a world stage! In 2011/2012 there is a Windows Phone game category, and you can also use a Windows Phone app to develop a solution in the software design category. What better way to get your school noticed than to have a team represent you at the Canadian or World finals!
Need slides and labs? It’s taken care of! You don’t have to create your slides and exercises from scratch. There are some great courses available to download from the Faculty Connection site
We know it can be difficult to keep up with all the new technologies and incorporate them into your courses and programs. We’re trying to make it as easy as we can for you to teach students learn how to develop for Windows Phone. I highly recommend that if you are a professor, you sign up for the Faculty Newsletter to stay abreast of any new promotions or curriculum resources that become available on Windows Phone and other technologies.