I'm going to focus on trying to do this for as little upfront cost as possible, and given where I work, will be looking at Microsoft tools.

The Idea

Once I'd decided I should build an app, the first question was; what am I actually going to build? I could start by putting together a simple trial app with basic functionality, or experiment with Unity and build a game. I don't really feel passionate about either of these, so am worried that I won't stick with it. This potential lack of motivation actually segues quite nicely into what I have decided to build.

I've wanted to get more organized recently, so went looking through the marketplace for a 'To-Do List' app. I found quite a few, however none had exactly what I was looking for. Jerry Seinfeld had a system that he used to help be more productive, where he would mark off things on a calendar (http://lifehacker.com/281626/jerry-seinfelds-productivity-secret). I got re-inspired by this Reddit post (http://www.reddit.com/r/getdisciplined/comments/1x99m6/im_a_piece_of_shit_no_more_games_no_more_lies_no/cf9dz72), and thought that would be a good place to start. I believe there are a number of apps in the Apple and Google app stores, but from what I can see there was a gap in the Widows ecosystem that I can potentially fill.

So, I now have my idea (please don't steal it before I finish!).

Research

From working in the IT industry for 12 years I have absorbed a lot of knowledge of what Developers are and do, but I have no idea how to do it.

I figure that I'll need (in no particular order):

  • a tool to help me develop the code
  • a way to test what I'm building
  • some forum or method for my customers to contact me
  • decide on if/how I will monetize my app
  • decide if I'm building for Phone, Desktop or both
  • a way to keep myself organized

Time to hit up Bing and search around to see what other people have done, and make sure I'm not missing anything. From having a quick search I've come across a few resources that I will likely return to:

Channel 9 - http://channel9.msdn.com/

Home to a huge range of videos, made by Microsofties. On the surface these looks like they are tailored more for people with a development background. That's not me, so I may use these videos to help understand a concept or if I get really stuck. For reference, here are a few pages I may go back to:

Windows Phone Dev Center - http://dev.windowsphone.com/en-us/

This looks more like what I'm looking for. Step by step instructions to go through all the phases of building and publishing an app.

Windows Phone App Studio - http://appstudio.windowsphone.com/?stay=1

This looks to be much closer to my current level of expertise. Build an app within a browser? Sounds great! I'll definitely spend some time exploring the capabilities.

Now that I have found a couple of 'getting started' guides, and have an idea of the tools available to me, I think it's time to get organised. My next post will focus on laying out the road ahead.