Are you a developer?

This post is going to be an introduction on how to get started developing for Windows Phone 7. I’ll answer questions I see cropping up quite often.

How much does it cost to develop for the phone?

To create an application for the phone costs nothing! zilch! nada! MS provide the SDK and development tools free of charge. There is a charge if you want to sell your app (see this post).

Ok, so what are the tools I need?

MS have made it easy to download everything you need in one setup file (link). Note: This is the latest version as of this posting.The SDK will update over time, so keep an eye out on the official developer site for the latest link. Or, preferably, this blog 😉 I’ll post when a new SDK update is released. In the download you’ll find:

  • VS2010 Express for Windows Phone CTP – The IDE you use to write your application. It comes with a couple of WP7 templates to make starting your project easier. You’ll be using the C# programming language for the time being, however there may be some hope for VB programmers.
  • Windows Phone Emulator – As of this writing, the emulator’s features are quite limited. However, it’s enough to test your app on. I’ve heard the emulator can be quite slow on older machines, but the good thing is, you can boot up the emulator just the once and jump in and out of debugging/projects without having to shutdown the emulator. Brilliant!
  • Silverlight for WP CTP – This is (believe it or not) Silverlight for Windows Phone. It’s not exactly Silverlight 3 and it’s not quite Silverlight 4. It’s kind of an inbetweener. There’s a good post on MSDN showing the differences and the available features. You’ll use Silverlight to either create your applications or basic 2D games.
  • XNA Game Studio 4.0 CTP – XNA is an awesome .NET framework to create your games with. It started off allowing users to use .NET  to create games for Windows and Xbox 360. A lot of the independent XBLA games are created using XNA. MS have ported that framework over to the phone. If you plan on creating 3D games, you have to use this (as Silverlight doesn’t really support 3D). Even if you’re working on a 2D game, XNA is probably the best route to go (unless your game is very basic, in which case Silverlight should suffice).

Another option tool, but highly recommended, is Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone. It makes developing Silverlight applications much easier. If you’re developing an application in Silverlight, then this tool is a must-have!

Hmm….tutorials and resources?

Even though WP7 is still in early stages, there are quite a few tutorials available. If you come across any good ones that haven’t been listed, let me know (@keyboardp on Twitter) and I’ll update the list.

– MSDN (of course!) has a couple of ‘getting started’ tutorials which are useful, some samples and a reference of the currently available SDK methods.

– The official XNA site has a great tutorial – Your first game for Windows Phone

This post is a gold mine of tutorials!

CESPage has a great list of tutorials for Silverlight on WP7 (as well as Silverlight for Windows)

– The official Silverlight page has tutorials for Silverlight on WP7 as well as tutorials on using Expression Blend.

Phew! I think those should keep you guys occupied for a while.

Update (11/07) :  Check out this post for even more tutorials and resources.

Enjoy!

-keyboardP

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