Tips and Tricks from Students: Silverlight Phone app “TonalFlash”


Patrick Ayoup, a student from Concordia university built a musical key signatures application for Windows Phone and share what he learned

Check out more tips from fellow students here

Could you briefly describe your application/game?

The app that I wrote is a very simple reference/study app for music students. This app serves two purposes, firstly as a reference of the various musical key signatures, and secondly as a study application where the user can test themselves as they would with physical flash cards.

Did you use XNA, Silverlight or both?

This was my first time writing an app for windows phone, so I wanted to keep it simple. My app uses Silverlight. Since my app isn't a game, and doesn't really have any animation, I didn't look into XNA, although it would be cool to investigate for my next app now that I have seen how easy it is to develop for this platform.

What was your banging your head against a wall moment?

I have developed for iPhone in the past and I found this process to be much more enjoyable. Things just seemed to go much easier with the Windows Phone platform than with the iOS environment. The one stumbling block that I had was with creating a list view from an XML file. This was the one thing that wasn't too obvious at first.

Did you ever solve that issue?

This issue was solved quite quickly after doing a couple of quick internet searches. There seems to be a good amount of resources online already. The ones that helped the most were from Jesse Liberty.

If you had to build this same app again from scratch, what would you do differently?

I wouldn't build this app again from scratch because it is already quite simple, but what I would do is build on it and perhaps take advantage of different touch gestures and animations to help give my app a more polished feel (although by default, I find WP7 makes it easy for your apps to look nice).

Any nice surprises?

The nicest surprise for me was how easy LINQ makes data retrieval from a data source. To avoid hardcoding many similar views, I simply made a skeleton view and populated it with data from an XML file. Normally I would find this to be a tedious process, but LINQ made life easy.

Did you leverage the mobile platform?

For this app, I didn't do much that is fancy (from a mobile perspective), but I do intend to look into gestures and other features for my next version.

Did you leverage the touch screen?

Not for this version. Thinking of it for an update.

What is one thing you think you did really well in this application?

The thing that I think I did well was how I organized my code in the way that I had to write a little code as possible to get the job done. The WP7 platform really helped take care of any other distractions and enabled me to focus on just writing clean code.

Are you publishing your application/game?

My app is already available in the Marketplace: TonalFlash

Where can I learn more about your app/game?

Right now the only information is in the Marketplace.

Who developed this application?

I am a computer science student who has just completed my first year at Concordia University. I am also a graduate of McGill University where I completed a Bachelor of Music degree in Double Bass Performance. It was the idea of combining both of these fields which inspired me to develop this app.

Skip to main content