Windows Mobile Developer Landscape

Building simple applications for Windows Mobile has always been a trivial exercise. You could simply open up Visual Studio, create a new project, and hit Debug or Run in order to see your application run on either an emulator or a connected device. Unfortunately, over time, support within Visual Studio and the associated .NET Compact Framework didn’t keep pace with expectations in the market for rich applications that both looked good and were responsive to the user. In order to build sophisticated applications for Windows Mobile, you had to hunt down information on frameworks such as DirectDraw or OpenGL in the hope that they would allow you to build an application with a rich user experience. Even then there were non - trivial issues to resolve as different manufacturers decided not to provide driver - level support for them, or introduced device - specific functionality, or worse yet, bugs.

One of the goals with Windows Phone was to address these issues and provide a platform upon which developers could build both applications and games. The time to get up-and-running should be minimal, and yet the tools and frameworks need to be sophisticated enough to handle the most complex of user interfaces.

Let’ s start in the top- left corner with Tools and Support. For anyone who is already using Visual Studio 2010, you’ll be aware that there is no support for doing Windows Mobile development. This was primarily a decision as to where to invest resources by Microsoft, and I think everyone will agree that it was a decision well made. The tooling for Windows Phone throughout both Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend dramatically reduces the time to build applications. In addition, the fact that these two products share the same solution and project structure means that both developers and designers can work in harmony on the same project at the same time. These tools will be covered in more detail in the next chapter, which shows how easy it is to get started with building your first application and debugging it on the Windows Phone Emulator.

Looking to the right, you’ll see the Runtimes square. One of the most significant aspects of Windows Phone is that it fulfi lls the Microsoft three - screens goal. As a developer you can build an application or game and have it target one or more of the screens running Windows Phone, Xbox, or Windows 7. Unlike the .NET Compact Framework, which provided a reduced feature set compared to the desktop, the Silverlight and XNA runtimes available within Windows Phone are virtually identical to those you are already familiar with. Although you need to make a decision as to whether you ’ re going to use Silverlight or XNA, you can still access a wide range of functionality from across the device no matter what technology you build your application or game in.

In building applications for Windows Phone, you are likely to want to access some of the cloudbased services that Microsoft has to offer. These include a notification service, for when application data changes and you want to notify the user; a location service, which integrates the device capabilities such as GPS with online services for resolving Wi - Fi locations; and access to the user ’ s Xbox Live information from within your application. Going forward, expect further support for building Windows Phone applications that integrate with other cloud offerings such as Bing Maps and Windows Azure.

The last quadrant refers to the Developer Portal Services, which covers all the online services through which you as a developer interact in order to have your application certified and published via Marketplace. As Microsoft wants to ensure the highest quality of applications in Marketplace, there will be a more rigorous process for developing for Windows Phone. The online portal will be the point of reference for all your applications and will, hopefully, be the place where you go to receive monies generated by your application.

Source of Information : Wiley-Professiona Windows Phone 7 Application Development 2010


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