I have left Microsoft and this blog is no longer under my control. All of the content should remain for some time however and any new updates can be found at http://davedev.net.
-Dave, September 2013
What a great time to be a Windows Phone 7 developer! Hot off the heals of the recent Nokia partnership we announced some of the free updates that will be coming to Windows Phone 7 this year. Several new features were demoed at the Mobile World Congress expo today in Barcelona, Spain. They include some long awaited features as well as some unexpected surprises.
The first free customer update will be made available for all Windows Phone 7 devices by the second week of March. This is the long awaited update that includes copy & paste and faster application performance. This update will also include support for CDMA networks. That means U.S. mobile operators such as Verizon and Sprint will be releasing Windows Phone 7 devices right on schedule for the first half of 2011.
The Developer Tools for this new update are already available and launched on February 4th. Most applications should run just fine under the new update (my own DoodlePad app didn’t require any changes) and any apps using normal textbox controls will automatically take advantage of copy and paste.
As pointed out on the Windows Phone 7 Secrets Blog copy and paste will also allow you to paste the text multiple times.
I am very happy to report that Twitter will be integrated into the People Hub in the second half of 2011. This is great news if you are a fan of the current hub for all your Facebook updates and have been waiting for tweets to be included. It was also announced that documents inside the Office Hub will be directly integrated with Windows Live SkyDrive. Expect these updates to hit in the second half of 2011.
Don’t forget you can already do something similar today with OneNote by turning on Cloud Sync with your phone via the Zune Software. Above is the screen I get off Windows Live for my own Samsung Focus.
We all know that the current browser in Windows Phone 7 is based off of Internet Explorer 7. It is, like the rest of the mobile platforms out there, a mobile browser. This means it comes across in the header as a mobile device to website owners. Developers have to code custom screens for those mobile devices. What if we could change all that? What if an HTML5 developer could target just open web standards for their pages. What if those same pages ran hardware accelerated across both phone and desktop without changing any code? Enter Internet Explorer 9!
This is full Internet Explorer 9 running on the phone that is running on the desktop and the results speak for themselves. I captured the above screenshot during the iPhone4 Safari vs. WP7 IE9 mobile browser html5 showdown. The Windows Phone 7 device was able to run 50 fish without any stuttering thanks to IE9 and the included phone hardware acceleration. The best news of all is this will be a free update hitting devices in the second half of this year!
Later this year users of Windows Phone 7 will have the ability to switch quickly between applications or run applications in the background (such as listening to music). While the current build shown is not UI complete we were able to see how it will function. To switch back and forth between apps you hold down the Back Button. This presents a list of live thumbnails for your currently running apps.
I took the above screenshots during the keynote demo and you can see both Fruit Ninja and Rise of Glory running at the same time as E-Mail. Both of these titles are currently available X-Box Live games on Windows Phone 7 and they appear to be multi-tasking just by running on the new build. By simply holding down the back button after writing the e-mail, swiping over to Rise of Glory and tapping on its thumbnail the game got focused again. Rather than showing the standard “Resuming…” screen like we are used to in the current builds today. I am looking forward to this and imagine we will be getting a lot more details at MIX11!
With over 8 million Kinect devices sold in just 60 days Xbox Kinect has quickly become one of the fastest selling consumer devices of all time. If you haven’t seen one yet go to your local Best Buy and check it out. That’s what got me hooked seeing how quickly my two little daughters took to it. Several sore muscles later, thanks to Kinect Sports, my wife and I can vouch for it as well. It truly is something revolutionary.
So it was a great pleasure to see the X-Box team looking at ways of integrating Windows Phone 7 with Kinect and taking it to the next step.
A video was shown of the Kinect Adventures Rally Ball game (included free with the X-Box Kinect bundles). The primary player was moving their body around to reflect the balls across the court and two people were controlling how those balls interacted on screen via their phones. This included both the number of balls as well as their direction and speed.
Pretty amazing stuff and I am looking forward to the coming year to see what other games start to integrate the two devices together. Since we have X-Box Live already on our Windows Phone 7 devices how cool would it be to unlock achievements for both the person using the phone (right on the phone) as well as the person logged into Kinect!
Not able to attend the Windows® Phone 7 Firestarters? No problem! We are going to take all of the great content, expand it a bit , and cover the RTM bits updates like the new Pivot and Panoramic controls. We will also be breaking out the hands on Phone Garage event into a second day allowing you more time with devices and a Windows Phone 7 expert.
Announcing the official Windows Phone 7 Developer Launch! Windows Phone 7 is here – and with it comes a new world of opportunity for passionate, creative developers. Windows Phone 7 gives you the power to build complex, robust applications using consistent hardware specs, a comprehensive development toolkit, and the all-new, full-service Marketplace for selling your apps. Get ready to capitalize on this exciting new frontier with two days of fast-paced learning and Windows Phone 7 development sessions. Pick the day that best fits your needs – or join us for both. Either way, you'll get the information you need to build high-demand apps with Windows Phone 7. Day 1: Jump-Start Your Mobile Development | 9:00am - 5:00pm In the first of this two-day launch event, we'll take you under the hood of Windows Phone 7 and the Windows Phone 7 platform with a progressive set of learning sessions. We'll start with the basic tools and fundamentals of Windows Phone 7 application development and as the day unfolds, we'll go deeper into development scenarios using Silverlight®, XNA® and the Windows Phone 7 SDK. You'll also see how to earn cash for your apps in the fully loaded Marketplace. Day 2: Unleash Your Best App Workshop | 10:00am - 3:00pm This hands-on workshop is designed to help you turn those napkin sketches and subway scribbles into real, sellable apps. You'll apply fundamental Windows Phone 7 design principles to build an app and upload it to the fully revamped Marketplace. Go at your own pace or follow along with a proctored group lab. Either way, you'll get step-by-step advice from Microsoft® and community experts. It's an unprecedented opportunity to stake your claim in the marketplace – using familiar tools and consistent specs.
I will be at both the New York and Philadelphia launches.
Seating is limited. Register online or call 1-877-MSEVENT.
New York City, NY
These dates don't work? Watch the Windows Phone 7 Launch Event online, live from Mountain View, CA. October 12, 2010
For more Windows Phone 7 developer events, visit: www.msdnevents.com/wp7
Since PDC10 I have a had a lot of 1:1 discussions with you in regards to the future of Silverlight and the work we have been doing with IE9/HTML5. Those of you who have seen me speak know the emphasis I placed on what I saw the future of Silverlight being. The ability for.NET developers to reach people with engaging experiences wherever they are. Web, PC, Cloud, Phone, TV and even SharePoint the opportunities continue to grow. In the past client developers only had a choice of Winforms or WPF – now suddenly our world was opening up. Silverlight also meant we could build these experiences using the same tools, the same api’s and the same skillsets we already knew. You need only look at the growing trends of increased Silverlight jobs and adoption to see how that resonated with developers.
Silverlight and me have kind of grown up together at Microsoft. I started my career 4 years ago right around the time WPF/E (WPF everywhere) was announced. I spent a majority of my first year talking about Silverlight as a web plugin and the benefits it offered to developers and designers. It seems hard to believe but before Silverlight’s release in September 2007 there was no high definition video on the web! With Silverlight 2 and Expression Studio I had the opportunity to show developers how to do things we could never do before on our platform without having a degree in DirectX (or higher some Flash expertise). Suddenly we could re-use parts of our UI through out all our applications, thanks to XAML. For the first time I felt like I could “Draw my interface” instead of coding it. I remember seeing the delight on developers faces at VSLive! when I showed off transforms, media elements and storyboards using Blend. Suddenly the world of video, media, and animation was within our grasp. I was hooked!
There were big changes happening in the .Net Client space. Both from a developer perspective and the enterprise space I was covering. With the release of NUI and multitouch interfaces like Surface a lot of my accounts were seriously beginning to look at User Experience as something they could get return on investment on. No longer was it about “making something look pretty” but it could have real financial impact on my business. I even wrote an article detailing some of my experiences around that time.
All of this interest created a need for talent that had not been there before in the .Net space. Suddenly companies were scrambling to find developers that could not only talk code but could understand what the designers were talking about and bring it all together. Silverlight brought a great Developer+Designer workflow that wasn’t available anywhere else. Teams could seamlessly work on the same projects, using the same languages, thanks to tools like Visual Studio and Expression Studio. This awaked something in me and I was thirsty for learning about good design. I started hitting the books following design gurus like Bill and other nerds turned creative like Robbie. Call us System Integrators, Xaml architects or the short lived “Devigner” term the career opportunities were clear. I could merge my developer world with this new found world of design to bring great experiences enterprises hadn’t seen before.
When Silverlight 3 hit in July 2009 developers saw for the first time the realization of the WPF/E plan. I could now take my web based Silverlight applications and run them directly on the desktop (PC and Mac). Suddenly I was making web and client based applications using the same API’s, the same tools and the same skillsets. Get the picture?
This got a lot of the companies I worked with excited but they kept asking for one thing – full trust. They wanted to run these new found client applications like they could with WPF. And you know what? The WPF team is the Silverlight team is the WPF team. How else did you think they hit 3 releases in 18 months? So the Silverlight team went directly to the developers and asked for what features they wanted to see in the next version of Silverlight. When Silverlight 4 hit in April of this year developers saw 9 out of the top 10 requested features implemented! How is that for listening to developers? Features such as full trust enabled Silverlight applications to reach out in ways it hadn’t before. Webcam support, COM Interop and local file system access all became realities.
I saw an interesting change happen with Silverlight 4’s release as well. Call them Alpha Geeks, Software Craftsmen, or Code Gurus – the big .NET guns started asking me about Silverlight. These were the guys who had laughed when I showed all the “prettiness in Blend” we could do. Leave that to the designers they would say. But with the Silverlight 4’s introduction of RIA Services and the growing adoption of the MVVM pattern suddenly developers in my local community, not just enterprise folks, were seriously coding in Silverlight. I couldn’t have been a happier geek!
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how the devices we considered in the past as PC’s are evolving. Smartphones, slates, and tablets all show growing demand by our customers to compute in different ways. Microsoft will continue to innovate in that space and .NET along with it. The story we had for phone up to that point was not the best one. But, here sat Silverlight this highly capable, performant runtime that could run on very minimal hardware. What would it take to get that running on a smartphone? This is where Silverlight took its most amazing step yet - it became THE PLATFORM for creating applications on Windows Phone 7. Think about that for a second. The stuff I learned over three years ago – the same tools, the same technology and the same skillsets I could now use to create mobile applications. As ScottGu said during the initial unveiling – “this isn’t Silverlight light this is Silverlight!”. I was suddenly getting calls from customers on how they can port their existing Silverlight apps to the new Windows Phone 7. I even took the plunge myself and took Silverlight 2 code I had and made a nice little drawing application out of it called DoodlePad.
So let’s summarize for a second. As a Silverlight developer I could now use the same tools, skillsets and technologies I had been using but my apps could run on the web, on the desktop, in the cloud and on the phone! Not only is that a pretty big technical achievement but it also speaks to the career opportunities that exist for Silverlight developers today (of which there are now well over half a million). Silverlight 4 is exploding in the enterprise right now as companies continue to adopt it as their native solution across all types of devices and screens. Windows Phone 7 launched in the US last week with over 2,000 applications in the marketplace, 300,000+ developer downloads of the SDK and hundreds of apps in the certification queue. That is a lot of Silverlight apps!
So why the confusion? Microsoft is a big company – we spends somewhere in the neighborhood of 6 billion+ dollars a year on research. That means unlike other companies out there we can do multiple things. It means WE WILL invest heavily in Internet Explorer 9 and HTML5 to create some exciting web experiences. It DOES NOT mean we stop innovating with Silverlight. Have you figured out yet that Silverlight is not just a web browser plug-in? Sure it can be used inside a browser to create compelling experiences but that is only part of it. At its core Silverlight is a lightweight, highly functional, .NET framework capable of running across multiple screen, multiple platforms, and multiple form factors.
I might be dating myself here a bit but I am reminded of the mid-late 90s when we had VB5, ASP and eventually Winforms and Webforms. As a web developer I could write apps and as a client developer I could right apps. But Microsoft gave me the option to do both! Where else can you do that? In my career as a Microsoft developer I have been a “web guy”, a “database guy”, a “web services guy” and a “mobile guy”. But I used the same skillsets and the same tools throughout all of that. I think you will see that with IE9/HTML5 and Silverlight as we move forward. There are going to be people who won’t ever touch IE9/HTML5 it is just not their thing. They will be happily collecting paychecks in the world of Silverlight/Blend. Then there will be other self described “webdevs” who get the itch to make a client app and now have that ability to do it through HTML. The main point being that as a .NET developer I can do both. With Windows 8 coming in 18 mos (based on our publically stated three year os cycle), Windows Phone 7 just launching and Silverlight 5 announcements yet to be made it is an exciting time to be a Silverlight developer!
Don’t just take my word for it though come and learn about the future of Silverlight from Corporate Vice President, Scott Guthrie and other experts, direct from Microsoft’s Headquarters! Hear about our plans for the next version of Silverlight, the latest developments as well as in-depth sessions on building applications with Silverlight.
Registration is free – take part in-person or online.
The Future of Silverlight
Data Binding Strategies with Silverlight and WP7
Building Compelling Apps with WCF using REST and LINQ
Building Feature Rich Business Apps Today with RIA Services
MVVM: Why and How? Tips and Patterns using MVVM and Service Patterns with Silverlight and WP7
Tips and Tricks for a Great Installation Experience
Mike Cook & Jossef Goldberg
Tune Your Application: Profiling and Performance Tips
Performance Tips for Silverlight Windows Phone 7
The first Windows Phone 7 updates are on their way! These updates include copy and paste, faster load times and marketplace fixes. The Windows Phone team recently blogged about the process of delivering updates and what happens once the updates are given to your mobile operator. But, the most important question, when can you expect to see them on your own device, had not been answered.
That all changed last night. In order to be as transparent as possible they have created a grid for all mobile operators and what the status of update delivery is. According to the team this chart will be updated weekly and will hopefully give you more understanding on when to expect things.
For example, my own phone the Samsung Focus is showing both updates to be in the AT&T testing phase. As of 4/19/11 my Samsung Focus has been updated!
While I am disappointed in not being able to get the update right away it at least feels good to know for sure when it is coming. I got a little tired of checking my phone for updates every day. =) Unlike Windows and X-Box 360 updating, Windows Phone 7 updates include many other partners besides Microsoft. I am happy to see the team being as transparent as possible by sharing the update statuses with us.
If you have been waiting for an answer, you can head on over and check update status for both International and United States mobile operators.
Looks like AT&T has begun rolling out the phone updates for both the LG Quantum and Samsung Focus. I got notification this morning on my Focus that an update was available!
The entire process took about 25 minutes and it updated both the phone’s hardware as well as updating it to NoDo. I am now happily using all of the new features.