Monday, 28 February 2011

Windows Phone 7 Development

That's been almost a whole day now working with WP7 so long overdue to start making notes on it.

Getting the right packages downloaded isn't quite as obvious as I would have expected, but certainly didn't take too long to find. (http://create.msdn.com/en-us/home/getting_started). The site recommended getting the January update on top of the default tool set, advertising the much discussed copy-paste functionality. I had to sigh remembering it wasn't actually available on any WP7 devices. Anyway, too soon for negativity, stuck it on to download and install. Grateful there is no messing around with path variables etc... (something I'm entirely comfortable with, but still resent having to do with the comparable java set up).

Hello world app rattled out nice and quick, always a good sign. Found the compiled app (in .xap format) nestled nicely in my bin folder too, which allowed for easy testing on my WP7-hacked handset (a story for another time perhaps).

So everything seems reasonably nice enough to code in. My only issue at the moment is that because C# is fairly similar to Java, at the syntactic layer at least, I expect to be able to code much faster than I am. It is deceptively similar, much to my folly as I keep finding out. And because it is indeed so similar, I refuse to do much reading on the language itself, focusing exclusively on reading about the mobile platform which utilises it. There's also a distinct lack of smugness at getting something to work. Something you have a-plenty after figuring out just how many dozen ] to add to the end of my Objective C lines of code, but that is probably a good thing. One can have too much smugness.

The single biggest issue I have with the development cycle at the moment is caused by Visual Studio. Again, so deceptively like my IDE of choice (Eclipse), and yet the devil really is in the details. All those features, all those little shortcuts my fingers remember (despite contemplating it now, my brain forgetting) are gone. But that's ok right, just need to learn the new shortcuts. And then I find out that Eclipse isn't just an average IDE, it's a blooming great one! Anyone who develops in Eclipse exclusively; take a break from it for a while, and try something else. Not because there are better ones out there, but because you will almost certainly be taking it for granted. Makes me swoon for returning to Android apps, sadly. Sadly as I really want WP7 to be a success amongst developers and, therefore, Joe Public. If Visual Studio had been given the same love and care as Eclipse has had, it would be half the battle won in luring Android or iPhone developers. Mind you, it's still miles better than XCode.