Where to start… Windows Phone applications

In a recent post, I walked through the process of getting up and running with DreamSpark, AppHub, finding the tools, and ultimately publishing your app or game to the marketplace. There was one step I half-skimmed over though, because it’s one of those “whatever YOU want to do” kind of things. The actual application itself. In the post, I talked about ScriptTD, a fantastic open source code project you can customize and use for your own Tower Defense games. However, if you’re a little new to the whole development thing and want to test the water in the app publishing thing first before diving into actual code, this might seem a little daunting. So, in this post, I want to summarize a few of your options you have at your disposal, in increasing levels of difficulty.

Hopefully one of these will help you try out the process and get an application into the marketplace for real and you can see how easy it is. Smile



To me this is the easiest way to try to get an application into the marketplace. You don’t have to write any code, and the site comes with an in-browser emulator to test your application’s settings as you go. It also has some nice and easy customization options.


  • PubCenter integration
  • Emulator
  • No coding required
  • Handy functions to find suitable images.


  • Sometimes the build queue is backlogged, occasionally for hours. You’ll need to be patient when this happens.
  • Sometimes the in-browser emulator doesn’t work. There are a few situations where I’ve seen this; the actual site itself decides to not show it, a weird bug in Firefox sometimes causes the emulator, written in Silverlight, to crash, and there was even one instance behind a firewall where Silverlight wasn’t able to be installed. None of these stop you building your application, you just can’t test it in the browser.




I really like the elegance of building an application in FollowMyFeed for a single RSS source, but if you go outside that process it gets a little trickier. I also would prefer to set up the RSS feed first to ensure I have my data set up right before defining my images, but that’s a personal preference.


  • Very simple wizard process as well as a slightly more in-depth settings page for those inclined.
  • Specializes in Windows Phone 7 apps only.
  • VERY quick build process.
  • Provides more customization for graphics over AppMakr


  • No emulator in browser.
  • Makes it easy to do one RSS feed, a little more difficult to do more than one.
  • No PubCenter or ad engines.




This is the code project I referred to in my recent post about the entire application process, and one I absolutely love. Take an existing code project and customize everything you want. It’s a tower defense clone game that’s completely templatized, which allows you to make your own without writing code, but you can also dive in and change the code too.


  • Easy to make your own game!


  • None really, although you do need to know how to edit XML at a minimum, and preferably be able to code so you can get into the program and see how everything is done!


Podcast Starter Kit


One of my team mates – Danilo Diaz – created this awesome template project for building an application based on an RSS feed. The advantage of this over AppMakr and FollowMyFeed is that you get the complete source code which means you get to customize everything and you can see how it’s all done. You can, of course, just edit a couple of XML files, rebuild the project and have your app done, but I encourage you to use this option to see how the coding is done so you can better design your own applications in the future.


  • Combined with Dani’s explanation post (at the link above), this is a super easy way to get into building your own apps.


  • Like ScriptTD, this is a great introduction but you do need to be able to edit XML at a minimum and code in C# as a preference so you can customize it to really take advantage of it.


Windows Phone Icons Maker


One of the little tasks you need to do when making your app and then submitting it into the marketplace is creating the differently sized icons. This little tool makes it incredibly easy. Browse to an image, click and drag a square around the bit you want, and hit Save Icons when you’re happy. Voila! Icons in all the right sizes output for you. Then the only other graphics you need is a splash screen for your app, and at least one screenshot for submitting into the marketplace (which are conveniently the same dimensions, hint hint).

And more…


There are other options at your disposal, including just building your own application or game from scratch. However, I hope this gets you started on the path that suits your own skillset.

Remember, if you get an application or game published, please let me know what the link is so I can check it out!

Comments (1)

  1. Joe Healy says:

    continually evolving list of starter templates at my wiki – dfwiki.devfish.net/technology.Windows-Phone-7-Application-Templates.ashx .

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