doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

My First Windows Phone Application

Actually, it was my second.  Everyone does a “Hello World” to make sure that it works, right?

Actually, it was Alfred Thompson’s program demonstrated at the Application Throwdown at the CSIT Conference last  week.  This was a terrific demonstration of mobile application creation.  Three presenters had 15 minutes each to go from 0-60 and build a mobile “Tip Calculator” application.  i.e. enter your bill, determine the tip percentage, perform the calculation and display the results.  We got to see an application developed for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

I’d already programming on iOS and Android so was really interested to see how Windows Phone compared.  And….


I can now proudly say that I’ve written applications for the iPod, Android, and now Windows Phone.

It’s not that you’re going to be downloading and installing it on your device anytime soon but honestly, sometimes I just do things to prove it can be done and feel how it feels.  I must admit that it felt pretty good.  And, I learned a great deal in the process.

Alfred had laid how how he designed the application nicely on his blog here.

I thought – this would be a breeze.  Until I got into it.

First, line – make sure you select Visual C# as the language.  Now, I did have Visual Studio Express on my computer but I had only loaded Visual Basic for previous work.  Sigh.  So, it’s off to Microsoft’s downloads to get the C# template.  When you have such slow internet access as I do, you grimace when you do things like that.  This could be a long download.

As it turns out, it wasn’t.  It was only about 4MB or something.  I get it installed and I’m off.

Until the next step.  Windows Phone was not a target for my programming.  Grrrr.

Back to Alfred’s blog.  Hmmm.  I guess the Windows Phone SDK needs to be downloaded separately.  Now, this was a problem.  505MB is going to take a while.  Actually, over 6 hours.  It was a good excuse to get out of the house and do some swimming and yard work anyway.

So, 6 hours later, I’m ready to go.  With Alfred’s blog post on one monitor and me working on another I’m off.  It brought back fond memories of learning to program with the latest issue of 80Micro off to the side and I’m keying the code into my TRS-80 computer.  But, this is a great deal easier.  With the monitor an extension of my computer, it’s just a matter of reaching “over” to copy and paste code from his blog into the Visual Studio editor.  Couple that with Alfred’s comments in the blog and it made a great deal of sense and things fell into place – almost nicely.  The curse for any C programmer is an extraneous brace and this project was no different.  Plus, I’m modifying his original code as I go.  (and messing it up a bit too)

Between interruptions and phone calls, I manage to pull this off.  The neat thing about the Windows Phone SDK is that it puts a Windows Phone Emulator on your computer.  You can test things “live” just as if you had an actual phone to transfer the code to.  The Tip Calculator was fun to create, play around with, and break, er, modify.

What I like about activities like this is that they’re short and to the point and you’re pretty much guaranteed success.  You can buy books and reference manuals but their mandate is to cover everything.  Here it was quick once I had the software and actually got me programming within the environment.  There’s no doubt that having a background with Visual Studio made a big difference as well.

If you’re interested in seeing what development for the Windows Phone looks like, give Alfred’s tutorial a shot!


One response to “My First Windows Phone Application”

  1. […] In addition to reading his blog and interacting on Facebook, I’ve attended a number of his sessions given at the Computer Science Teachers’ Association conference.  The most recent session was at Irvine where Alfred participated in a mobile programming smackdown.  Alfred’s Windows Phone app took on Apple and Google’s development tool.  I took his ideas back and created my own Phone application and blogged about it here. […]


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