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Windows Phone 7 - Dev Tools RTW - What's next?

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Windows Phone 7 - Dev Tools RTW - What's next?

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As you probably already know, Windows Phone 7 development tools were released to web today. The package includes Windows Phone 7 SDK, XNA Game Studio 4.0 (which is not available as a standalone download for now - you can only get it with the Windows Phone 7 SDK, even if you plan on working with games that target other platforms).

Before I get them, what should I do?

Before you get the new version of WP7 tools, you have to make sure that you uninstall any Beta or CTP releases. This includes the following components:

  • Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools
  • Windows Phone 7 Add-in for Visual Studio 2010
  • Windows Phone 7 Developer Resources
  • XNA Game Studio 4.0
  • XNA Game Studio 4.0 Windows Phone 7 Extensions

If somehow you forget to uninstall one or more of the above mentioned components, when you start installing the new build you will see an error message that will let you know what components should be removed prior to the installation.

Basically, when you uninstall Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools through Control Panel, it will remove all products tied to it. However, what the uninstaller will not remove is Microsoft Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone 7 (the program itself, the add-in and the SDK), so you will have to make sure that those are properly removed as well.

Once all these components are uninstalled, make sure you restart your PC.

Uninstalled and restarted. What now?

Once the system is ready, you can download the tools here. It is a web installer and it will require an active Internet connection to successfully install the set of Windows Phone 7 developer tools. It will download and install 9 components (357MB total):

  • DirectX Libraries
  • Windows Phone emulator (x64/x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Phone Developer Resources
  • Windows Phone Developer Tools - ENU
  • Windows Phone 7 Add-in for Visual Studio 2010
  • XNA Game Studio 4.0
  • XNA Game Studio 4.0 Windows Phone 7 Extensions
  • Silverlight 4 Tools for Visual Studio 2010
  • Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone

Of course, you can also download the ISO for an offline installation here.

Installed. What's new?

I mentioned a while ago that there was a difference between application naming in Microsoft Visual Studio and Microsoft Expression Blend 4 for Windows Phone. It was about the List applications (in Visual Studio) and Databound applications (in Expression). Although it is the same application type, implementing the MVVM pattern, for some reason there was no single convention.

Now, it is fixed and officially the application type is called Databound:

There are also two new application types - Panorama and Pivot. The Panorama application type is represented by a page that can be scrolled horizontally in separate segments:

A Pivot applications is somewhat similar to Panorama. However, the horizontal scrolling is organized differently - basically, you switch between panels instead of just scrolling to the next one.

The emulator changed a bit visually - there is no more Settings button (since really there is not much to customize directly but the zooming) - it was replaced with a Zoom button:

Speaking of the emulator, it probably went through a complete internal overhaul - it really works much faster and is much more stable than the one bundled with the Beta release of the tools.

Where should I look for additional resources and documentation?

There are actually lots of them around the web now. Here is a list of resources you might be interested in if you decided to work more on Windows Phone 7 application development:

  • Windows Phone 7 Development - Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) - The cornerstone of WP7 documentation. Whenever you need to find out more about a specific class or method call, that is WP7 specific, this is the first resource you need to check.
  • Windows Phone 7 Forums - The official Microsoft Windows Phone 7 support forums. If you have any question that aren't directly covered by the available documentation, you can check this place out.
  • Windows Phone 7 Resource Center - There is indeed an entire section dedicated to Windows Phone 7 here at DZone. You can find a lot of interesting stuff here, including articles, tutorials and news regarding the new mobile platform from Microsoft.
  • Windows Phone 7 Resources by Indrajit Chackrabarty - A collection of links to all kinds of WP7-related content. If you have some free time, check this list out. It is definitely useful for any WP7 developer.
  • Progamming Windows Phone 7 by Charles Petzold - A book that will guide you step-by-step through the world of Windows Phone 7.

Analysts agree that a mix of emulators/simulators and real devices are necessary to optimize your mobile app testing - learn more in this white paper, brought to you in partnership with Sauce Labs.

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