From Windows Phone 7 to Windows 8 Metro, one app's journey
- Posted: May 14, 2012 at 6:00 AM
- 8,446 Views
- 2 Comments
Loading User Information from Channel 9
Something went wrong getting user information from Channel 9
Loading User Information from MSDN
Something went wrong getting user information from MSDN
Loading Visual Studio Achievements
Something went wrong getting the Visual Studio Achievements
Last week we highlighted Den Delimarsky's Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone 7 app. On this Metro Monday, seems fitting to pair that post up with this one.
With Windows 8 and Metro a common question is, "How hard is it to re-use, re-purpose or port a Windows Phone 7 app to a Windows 8 Metro Style app?"
Den's stepped up and answered that very question...
I ported this application to Windows 8 as a general learning experience and made the notes available for the public. You can familiarize yourself with the process I followed by reading the articles below:
- Porting Visual Studio Achievements for WP to Windows 8 - Layout and basic bindings
- Porting Visual Studio Achievements for WP to Windows 8 - Minor problems and data acquisition
- Porting Visual Studio Achievements for WP to Windows 8 - Getting primary user input
- Porting Visual Studio Achievements for WP to Windows 8 - Serialization and Storage
- Porting Visual Studio Achievements for WP to Windows 8 - Viewing and Sharing
- Porting a Windows Phone application to Windows 8 - A Look from 10,000 Feet Above
If you would like to share some feedback and similar experiences, feel free to do so.
The series starts at the very beginning,starting with a Windows Phone 7 app and then through completing it and documenting lessons learned.
One of the great features that is currently highlighted for Windows 8 and specifically WinRT is the low barrier of entry for existing Windows Phone and Silverlight developers in general. There was already a case of an existing Windows Phone application being ported to the new OS, but I decided to actually document the entire porting process in its core.
Let's start with the very basics and assume that I have no code whatsoever on my local machine. I am heading over to the CodePlex page and download the source ZIP. OI course, you might want to choose a version control system and pull the source that way, but I will leave that at your own discretion. The default solution is of course opened in Visual Studio 2010. Your solution contents should resemble this:
Now let's working on the actual new project. Launch Visual Studio 11 Beta and click on New Project. Select Visual C# > Windows Metro Style and finally - Blank Application. Give a unique name to the project. I personally used VSAW8. Open BlankPage.xaml - this is the main work page that will display all necessary user information. For convenience purposes, I renamed it to MainPage.xaml.
I managed to successfully port my Visual Studio Achievements for Windows Phone to Windows 8 - it now fully works in the Metro environment with absolutely the same capabilities as its mobile counterpart (the Windows 8 version is mobile to some extent too, since Windows 8 will be used on tablets). This article represents a general overview of the process.
As long as the application is well-designed, it should not take much time to port it to Metro. So if you have a good separation of concerns and files are structured well in a solution, you can just copy and paste the necessary components, adjust the namespaces, update references and you are ready to go in a lot of cases. There are exceptions, that I will be talking about later in this article, but generally the most time-consuming part of the process is the threading model reorganization.
Recommended reading: App Porting to Windows 8 Already Possible
There is not much trouble with modifying references either. As I was moving code files from the Windows Phone project to the Metro one, I had to do slight modifications in the JSON parser that is now accessed through Windows.Data.Json, which is much nicer than its Silverlight counterpart, by the way, and I was not sure how I should reference it.
The overall porting experience is straightforward and easy to the point where parts of it could be automated. Should a developer create applications that are released both for Windows 8 and Windows Phone? Yes. Can most of the code base be reused? Yes. Do both applications have to provide the same experience? The consistency of the UI is a given as long as you are following the general conventions, but you might also consider building a Windows Phone application that is a companion for its Windows 8 counterpart instead of a duplicate.
If you have a Windows Phone 7 app today and are wondering what it would take turn it into a Windows 8 Metro Style app, or are just interested in seeing a Windows 8 Metro Style app being built, this series is a must read...