Cups started as a very simple app with the only purpose to get me in the door for Windows Phone 7 development. I wanted to use my current Silverlight and C# skills to create fun to show to my kids. The app today has more than 11,000 downloads in the Windows Marketplace.
Once Microsoft announced Windows 8 and its support for apps, it became a possibility for me to write something that could potentially reach millions of users. I worked through the training material offered by the Microsoft Virtual Labs (ed. note: check out the Windows 8 Hands-on Labs Online as well) and visited the Microsoft offices in Waltham, MA for a few local conferences. The training assured me the code could be converted without a considerable effort and I decided to start the journey to convert Cups for Windows 8.
First, I started to move the engine to the new RT runtime. No surprises there (thanks to the training); I just had to rename some of the usual namespaces to the new Windows namespaces, deal with a few changes with the event and naming conventions, but no major rewrite. It all got converted in under an hour!
Second, I continued to change the Silverlight code to XAML. The previous code worked with the exception (again...) of some namespaces. A quick rename and that was it. I also had to change some of my grids to adjust better mode due to the new supported resolutions, but most of it was no big deal.
Third and this is where the new Windows 8 UI features had a slight learning curve. The Settings option in the Charms started consumed too much time for my taste, but thanks to the CharmsFlyoutLibrary it was really easy. This library takes care of the “unexciting” code and it’s a matter of wiring it to the XAML code.
Once I finished porting the basic Cups from WP7 to Windows 8, I realized it needed something new to make it different. I talked with the kids and some of them asked me add an “Extreme Mode” to the game. I said: “Why not? It has been pretty easy to convert the code so far”. Most of the ideas and cup distractions for the new mode came from them. The new “Extreme Mode” made the game a lot more interesting, the classic mode is still available for those who want to play the “Classic Mode”.
Overall my experience was very good and now that Cups is finished, I feel like my other apps (e.g. Shells, Days Till, Tape Calculator) should be converted in no time. I really want to appreciate Jim O’Neil from Microsoft for the help he provided with the Ad SDK and the Azure Mobile Services information he wrote in his blog.
Cups is now in the Window Store and the next release will have scores and mobile notification to keep users engaged and challenging each other. Find the game the marketplace here, play and enjoy it.