Ready to jump in? Download the Windows 8 training kit and get started.
Blogs and videos are great resources, but sometimes it’s nice to try out the code yourself. That’s why I like the Windows Phone training kits. They provide a series of labs you can do yourself to try the latest Windows Phone 8 features.
The training kit provides you with instructions and source code to help you complete different tasks. You do need to have the Windows Phone SDK set up to complete the labs. If you need to, you can find out how to get setup for Windows Phone development.
Let’s take a quick look at the labs in the training kit.
- Lock Screen Wallpaper – In Windows Phone 8, your application can update the lock screen wallpaper, (as well as custom notification area notifications).
- Voice Commands – Walk through using the Speech API directly in your own application.
- Tiles – Tiles are one of the most interesting aspects of Windows Phone; the ability for your application to dynamically drive and update information directly for the user. In WP8 we make new tile sizes available to you, leverage the tile ‘templates’ so that your application can look more like a built in part of the operating system.
- Purchase – WP8 adds in app purchases: the ability for developers to create and sell additional components of their application after the user’s already installed. This opens up radically popular new scenarios for monetizing your app.
- Wallet – WP8 has a new feature called ‘Wallet’ which provides third party applications that are about finance, loyalty programs, or end user deals.
- Running Tracker – Windows Phone 8 introduces a powerful new Map control powered by data from the Nokia Maps service. This lab will walk you through the new features of the map control in the context of a popular scenario: the running app.
- Porting Win 8 to Windows Phone 8 – In this lab, we’ll take a full Windows 8 application, and walk through all the steps necessary to bring it to Windows Phone 8. Please note, this lab gives you some examples of how XAML code in Windows Phone maps to XAML in Windows 8, but it does not cover over topics that you will find useful when planning apps across Windows 8 and Windows Phone. You should also learn about Portable Class Libraries and the MVVM architecture (check out this video from Build on How to leverage your code across WP8 and Windows 8)
- File & Protocol Association – Windows Phone 8 enables your application to register itself as a protocol handler, which in turn allows other applications to call your app and pass it parameters. In this lab we’ll walk through the steps to execute on this.
If you are new to Windows Phone development, I strongly recommend you download the Windows Phone 7 Training Kit. It provides some great labs to master basic Windows Phone development topics.
- Hello Windows Phone – This lab intends to be the classic "Hello World" application, introducing you to the tools and procedures required to build and test Windows Phone applications. During the lab, you will see how to use Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phones, Expression Blend to build and design your Windows Phone applications, and how to deploy and debug your Windows Phone application on the Windows Phone Emulator.
- Building your First Windows Phone 7 Application – This lab introduces you to the basic building blocks of any Windows Phone application. During the course of this lab you will create a simple puzzle game. The lab takes you through the different stages of starting a new project, adding controls and code behind, and testing and debugging. Unlike the Hello World lab, this lab focus more on a few phone-related topics like navigation, using pages, frame and navigation services, multi-touch, and isolated storage.
- Windows Phone Navigation and Controls – This lab introduces you to the Windows Phone layout system, the phone’s chrome, and few new controls. The lab explains the basics of navigating between different screens (pages) in a Windows Phone application. During the lab you will build a navigation application that switches between various screens, with each screen displaying different phone functionality, such as playing an audio or video file.
- Using Push Notifications -The end user experience is the first and foremost important characteristic of Windows Phone 7. An extra emphasis during the design of the phone was placed on making sure that applications do not drain the battery. Therefore, WP doesn’t allow your application to run code in a background process, which means your application can’t poll some web service for information. Push Notification compensate for that restriction and allows you to send messages to a Windows Phone device even if your application is not currently running. This lab covers Push Notifications mechanism and introduces the usage of HTTP services. During this lab, you will create the server-side logic needed to send messages through Push Notifications Services, as well as bind to and handle push notification sent to the Windows Phone device.
- Launchers and Choosers – Windows Phone Applications are not able to directly access common stores of information, such as the contacts list, or directly use Windows Phone functionality, such as the camera, phone calls or messaging. To enable applications to provide these common tasks to their users, the Windows Phone 7 application model exposes a launchers and choosers API which provides indirect access to these useful phone features. This hands-on lab walks you through the launchers and choosers concepts as implemented in the Windows Phone 7 application model and covers the different launchers and choosers available in this release.
- Application Lifecycle – Only a single application can run in the foreground and no 3rd party applications are allowed to run in the background. Therefore when the user navigates away from your application, either to a chooser like picture chooser, or to a launcher like phone call, the Windows Phone operating system terminates your application. The procedure in which the operating system terminates an application’s process when the user navigates away from the application is called tombstoning. The operating system maintains state information about the application. If the user navigates back to the application, the operating system restarts the application process and passes the state data back to the application, where the user will be able to continue seamlessly from his last interaction point with the application. This lab focuses on the tombstone (or tombstoning) aspect of the Windows Phone Application Life Cycle.
- Using Pivot and Panorama Controls – This lab walks you through the steps required to use the new controls for presenting information, Pivot and Panorama.
- Accessing Windows Phone 7 Devices – The Windows Phone 7 is equipped with a Camera and GPS (global positioning system). Developers can leverage these devices to build location-aware applications and take live photos. This lab walks you through the steps required to integrate your applications with the phone camera. The goal is to build an application that lets you capture pictures, give them a title, and save them to the application local store.
Don’t forget you students get Windows Phone Store accounts for free and Canadian developers can get rewards for their apps through Developer Movement!