When you make a decision to enter a more-or-less new-to-you programming milieu, you then find yourself in the position of learning a lot of new stuff. I’ve decided to make jump into Windows Phone 7 development with both feet, and instantly I’m going to be faced with learning whole bunch of new stuff. Not that I mind all that much, but it seems like I am going to be trying to crawl for at least a little bit of time before I can clamber up on my feet and, darn it, walk. I’m not going to think about running quite yet.
Anyway, I am well used to writing in C#, and I can put together a basic web page in ASP.NET or a Windows Form application, and I can build all the back end stuff, too. In fact, that’s sometimes the easiest part. But with Windows Phone 7 I am going to have to learn either or both of Silverlight or XNA Game Studio. I’ve been avoiding them to this point in my career (gee, I think I have had lots of other fish to fry), but now I have to make one or the other (or both!) a priority. That’s because either one is what is used on Windows Phone 7, and nothing else.
That brings me to the how. A new platform like this isn’t going to have the huge support base of more mature technology, so the search begins. And surprisingly enough there is already a lot of materials available. Now maybe that isn’t quite as surprising as all that, because Microsoft is well-experienced in providing developer training materials, and with all the partners involved, too, the support is really there. I like to get instruction from multiple channels if I can, and the usual channels are:
- Classroom instruction
- Printed books
- Online materials
Mentors are going to be thin on the ground, because Windows Phone 7 is so new, but I’ve found all three of the others!
The printers aren’t quick enough to have any books out in the stores for this thing already. However, Microsoft Press and O’Reilly both have new books in the pipeline, with some of the material available online already.
- Charles Petzold, the Grand Old Man of Windows development, is writing Programming Windows Phone 7 Series (though I expect the title will lose the word “Series” by the time it’s published). Happily, this book’s first few chapters are already complete and available online FOR FREE. Even more happily, when the book is done and published, the entire text will be available for free. Awesome! The excerpt is actually 6 chapters as of this writing. Excerpt of Programming Windows Phone 7 Series.
- O’Reilly is readying Learning Windows Phone Programming, and there are two chapters available for examination online (chapter 2 and 6), along with some code.
- Paul Thurott (of Supersite for Windows fame) is writing a book for Wiley, and it will be called Windows Phone Secrets. From Amazon’s description of the book: “…will be the ultimate guide to this exciting new mobile platform. And unlike other books, this title will reveal the inner workings of Windows Phone and how to make it work the way you want it to”, this book will mainly be a user-oriented, and not developer-oriented book, and it won’t be available until the book is actually printed.
Online resources for learning Windows Phone 7 (may I abbreviate that as WP7? ) are so far mainly from Microsoft itself, including free versions of the development software. There are bound to be others, but here’s a limited list:
- Microsoft’s Developer site for WP7 Programming – there are links to download Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone 7, and the Expression Blend beta, etc.
- Windows Phone development on Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN)
Now this is going to become more available over time (usually for a price!), but in the very short term there is some FREE instruction being provided by Microsoft, but it’s happening in the week after the one upcoming, and it’s happening in only two places (so far): Redmond, Washington, and Santa Clara, California. You’re probably going to read this long AFTER the event, and sorry about that! Fortunately, I live just an hour and a half from Redmond, so I am registered and ready to go! Check with Microsoft for more opportunities, just in case they provide any. Windows Phone 7 Development Jump-Start Events.
I don’t know about any developer-oriented WP7 podcasts. There are some podcasts which had had episodes dealing with Windows Phone development, however. Scott Hanselman’s HanselMinutes had Charles Petzold on for a discussion. Check it out: Charles Petzold on Windows Phone 7 on Hanselminutes. This is not a technical podcast, per se, but worth listening to.
FINALLY, I have to mention that I will be podcasting about this subject. The title of the podcast will be (cue trumpets):
This Week in Windows Phone
Never having podcasted before, this is going to be interesting. And I guess I will be talking about Windows Phone 7 in general, as well as trying to put a little into it about development, and my own new Company, which will develop a Windows Phone 7 Application!