Part 1: Series Introduction
Hello and welcome to this 35-lesson series on building apps for the Windows Phone 8 platform. My name is Bob Tabor, and for the past 11 years I've been creating screen cast training for Microsoft's developer-centric tools and technologies, both on Microsoft's web properties and my own web site, www.LearnVisualStudio.NET.
According to the title of this series, this training is for "absolute beginners", and while that is definitely true—we will begin with the very basics of building phone apps—you'll see that we quickly move into utilizing some of the new and advanced features on the Windows Phone 8 operating system.
This series is made possible due to the positive response to my original series, Windows Phone 7 Development for Absolute Beginners. We've redesigned this series completely—so if you watched that series, you'll not recognize a single thing in this new series.
Before watching this series, you should already be familiar with C#. If you're not, please put this series on the back-burner for a few days and instead watch Channel9's C# Fundamentals for Absolute Beginners. I designed that series with you, the absolute C# novice, in mind. At a minimum, you'll need to get the basics of object oriented programming —classes, properties, methods, visibility modifiers, collections, generic collections, and the like—under your belt before attempting this series.
We approached this series of lessons as a tutorial...in other words, the series teaches how to build apps by walking through the steps required to build two full featured apps. Hopefully this approach will help you see how concepts fit together in a real app scenario. I'll also build a number of tiny apps just to illustrate some small concepts in hopes of clarifying fundamental ideas.
I'm also going to cover things like the operating system and hardware requirements, the software you'll need to install to get started, getting a developer license, designing an app, submitting to the store, and more. So, hopefully, this is a great starting point for developers new to Windows Phone 8 development.
Before I show you the apps we'll build in this series, we need to do a little house keeping. On screen right now is my desktop. There's code loaded into visual studio. The videos are recorded in a high def format, 720p, and are crystal clear. So, if you can't read the text on my screen, that could be because your internet connection can't handle streaming at a high bit rate. Your best option is to use the download link beneath each video. You can download various formats and resolutions based on the target device you want to watch these videos on.
Next, to follow along, you'll want to download the assets that are contained in a zip file. I'll make sure the link is available on this page, and every page where the videos are hosted. It will contain assets you'll need to include in your projects as well as the finished versions of the apps so that you can compare the code I've written with the code you're working on.
Finally, for the first time on Channel9, I'm including a text and screenshot version of the videos...you'll find it posted below each video...while these are not necessarily a word-by-word transcript of what I say in the videos, they do cover the exact same material and provide the code that I type in so you can copy and paste it into your app. I'm providing this for those that have a hearing disability and for those who don't use English as their primary language. Also, it should be helpful for reference purposes so that you don't have to go back through and re-watch the videos to recall some previously covered idea or technique.
Ok, so what are we going to build in this series?
- SoundBoard app demonstration
- AroundMe app demonstration
While I'm the voice you'll be listening to for the next 11 hours, this effort was actually a collaboration between a number of parties. First and foremost, Clint Rutkas of Channel9 is the mastermind behind the two apps we'll be building in this series. I think we literally had 100 email threads running about various nuances of the code, and he was patient and very helpful and really deserves the lion-share of the credit for this series. The Windows Phone Team supported this effort and made it happen...I think that was due in large part to the warm reception the previous version of this series received from you, the loyal Channel9 viewer. So, thank you!
And finally, Nokia and their Developer Ambassadors were very helpful in helping me secure the assets I needed to put this together. Nokia has stepped up and supported the Windows Phone 8 platform and DEVELOPERS on the platform and I've been nothing but impressed with their passion for what they do. Check out their website:
They offer one-on-one support, frequent meet-ups, contests with prizes and more to get developers like you and me more engaged and thinking about working together to build this platform. You should register with their site www.dvlup.com to get involved.
And that brings me to this—I'm in love with my Nokia Lumia 920. It is without a doubt the coolest device I've ever owned—and trust me, I own several of the most popular devices built on other platforms available on the market today. If you're interested in Windows Phone 8 development, it's not a requirement, but I think you will really want to own one of these phones. It's not just a great developer testbed for the apps you build, but it's a great DEVICE. Let me tell you about my favorite features:
- Great camera—My wife is constantly asking me to send her the pics I take with my phone because her i...her, um, less capable phone...just doesn't even compare, especially in low light situations.
- NFC—Near Field Communications...exchange data with other NFC phones regardless of platform.
- Pinning—You can pin anything to the start page...music, websites, apps...and I seek out apps that update the tiles with new information so I don't have to open up the app, for example, to see the weather, or my calendar, or the countdown to my vacation.
- Wireless charging—Yes, you can buy a case for just about any phone that will do this, but it's built INTO THE PHONE!
- Voice commands—Great for creating OneNote TODO items, or sending a text message while I'm on the road.
The other cool thing is that the platform is growing...every time I do a demo of my phone, I convert another user. I've got my family and friends convinced that this is their next phone when their contract comes up for renewal. And I just read an article about the growth of the enterprise market for app builders, which is really exciting.
And the best feature of all? At least in my opinion? The fact that I can leverage my existing C#, .NET and Windows Runtime experience into building apps that I can carry around with me.
Yes, I suppose if I wanted to create apps for another platform, I could spend weeks and months learning a new language, a new API, etc. Or, I could build apps that try to target all the platforms but ultimately miss key new features unique to the Windows Phone 8 operating system. But this feels natural and easy and so it's fun.
So, if you're just getting started with Windows Phone 8 development, I'm sure you'll soon share my excitement. This series is one of the best ways to get up to speed quickly.
Promise me this—if you get stuck or something doesn't make sense, you'll ask a question in the comments area at the very bottom of the page. Either Clint or I...or perhaps someone else who's working through the material...will try to help get you unstuck and moving forward.
So, let's get started in the next lesson setting up our environment, and then we'll begin writing code immediately. We'll see you in the next lesson.
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