Over the last few weeks, when things were relatively quiet around the office and in the developer community, I decided that I was going to take advantage of the “extra” time, roll up my sleeves, and finally sit down and write a Windows Store app from start to finish. “What?”, you ask, “you haven’t yet written a Windows Store from start to finish?.” The truth is… no. Pieces of code here and there to demonstrate different parts of the platform, for sure, but an app from start to finish, no.
Being a developer (granted, it has been some time since I’ve written code day in and day out), I figured I would take a completed app and then work backwards, dissecting the code to figure out all of the different parts that I needed to know in order to create my app. While technically this approach could work, after spending sometime in the code, I came to a conclusion – “Whoa… this stuff is quite different than what I’m used to.” (Keep in mind, the development that I’ve done has already been backend server code, so, of course, frontend development would be quite different). In an effort to avoid spending (and potentially wasting) a lot of time trying to work backwards, and more importantly, to avoid getting frustrated that things weren’t making any sense, I decided to take a lesson out of a favourite movie of mine – The Sound of Music.
“Let’s start from the very beginning, a very good place to start…” (“Do-Re-Mi”) – and so I did.
The Channel 9 series Windows Store apps for Absolute Beginners with C# consists of 34 lessons (7+ hours of training) covering everything you need to know including the basics of page layout with XAML, binding to collections of data, and working with the features of Windows 8 exposed through the Windows Runtime like the Search and Share charms, tiles and notifications, webcam, and others.
At first, I didn’t really pay attention to this series because it had “Absolute Beginners” in the title. I didn’t really consider myself an absolute beginner. But, I thought I would give it a try anyway, and you know what, it wasn’t such a bad thing at all! In fact, it was a great experience! Specifically, for me, it was the commentary and insights throughout the course, and further, I really appreciated how Bob Tabor, the instructor, stopped, highlighted, and went deep on fundamentals that were absolutely important to understand, and went over briefly others that were not as fundamental.
By the end of the course, I knew what I needed to know to get started on my app. Before I knew it, I had my app idea built and running. That was easy! (where’s my Staples Easy button!) Considering that I had never done anything (over demos) with XAML before, I was impressed with how much time it didn’t take! All I really needed to know was just C#.
Give it a try! It was an exhilarating experience for me. I hope it will be for you as well.
It wouldn’t be right of me to talk about building apps and not mention the Developer Movement. The way the movement works is by publishing apps to the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store and using Windows Azure services as a backend. The apps you publish go towards earning you points that you can then use to reward yourself with great prizes.
Think about it… you’re going to be learning how to build apps. You’re going to then take that excitement and learning and inevitably build something (I know it!). So then just from learning something new you could start accumulating points! Win-Win.