Announcing: Visual Basic Windows Phone 7 Support RTW


I’ve personally been enjoying using my Windows Phone 7 device, and it’s been a lot of fun seeing the phones come to market across the world. As a developer, it’s an intriguing opportunity to see so many people buying Windows Phone 7 devices and starting to purchase applications on the Marketplace. With all this excitement around Windows Phone 7, I’m often asked by Visual Basic developers when they’ll be able to submit their applications to the Marketplace. I’m excited to announce that day is here!

Today we’re releasing “Visual Basic for Windows Phone Developer Tools – RTW”. This release is available in the same five languages as the Windows Phone Developer Tools:

Please refer to the download pages for a list of System Requirements and Support Statements associated with the release.

To get started with the release, be sure to check out the Visual Basic Code Samples for Windows Phone: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff431744(VS.92).aspx.

There are also forums available where you can post your questions:

Walkthrough

To show the experience of building a Silverlight application with Visual Basic for Windows Phone Developer Tools – RTW, lets review a walkthrough highlighting the steps to build my Tip Calculator application in VB. (You can find the complete VB solution posted here.)

First start by installing the System Requirements:

When you go to create a New Project, you will see a new Visual Basic project template node under Visual Basic -> Silverlight for Windows Phone. There are 5 Visual Basic Windows Phone project types available, in addition to 16 item templates.

In this case, we select the ‘Windows Phone Application’ template.

(Please note that there are no Visual Basic XNA templates available at this time, since XNA is not currently supported in Visual Basic. This is consistent with the experience in the Visual Basic CTP for Windows Phone Developer Tools.)

Layout

My earlier Tip Calculator post described the process for laying out the application shown below. Please refer to that post for details. The same designer experience is now available for Visual Basic Windows Phone applications.

The application has a built-in numeric key pad for entering the bill amount and controls which allow for adjustment of both the tip percentage, as well as, rounding the total bill to an even number.

In this post, I’ve included Visual Basic versions of the code snippets from my previous post. These code snippets describe how to implement different aspects of the application. For example, below is the code to implement Landscape and Portrait Mode, so that the application layout changes when the user rotates the phone. In order to do this, the application must indicate that it supports the setting and it must handle the change in orientation event as follows:

In MainPage.xaml.vb, add the following line in Sub New():

   1: SupportedOrientations = SupportedPageOrientation.Portrait Or SupportedPageOrientation.Landscape

 

In MainPage.xaml.vb, update the MainPage_OrientationChanged method to handle the Me.OrientationChanged event:

   1: Private Sub MainPage_OrientationChanged(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As OrientationChangedEventArgs) Handles Me.OrientationChanged
   2: ...
   3:  
   4: End Sub

 

When the orientation changes we’ll first move the TotalsGrid into the second column adjacent to the NumbersGrid, then change the column width attributes accordingly:

   1: Private Sub MainPage_OrientationChanged(ByVal sender As Object, ByVal e As OrientationChangedEventArgs)
   2:     ' In landscape mode, the totals grid is moved to the right on the screen
   3:     ' which puts it in row 1, column 1.
   4:     If (e.Orientation And PageOrientation.Landscape) <> 0 Then
   5:         LandscapeColumn.Width = GridLength.Auto
   6:         Grid.SetRow(TotalsGrid, 1)
   7:         Grid.SetColumn(TotalsGrid, 1)
   8:  
   9:         LayoutRoot.ColumnDefinitions(1).Width = GridLength.Auto
  10:         ' In portrait mode, the totals grid goes below the number pad at the
  11:         ' bottom of the screen which is row 0, column 2.
  12:     Else
  13:         LandscapeColumn.Width = New GridLength(0)
  14:         Grid.SetRow(TotalsGrid, 2)
  15:         Grid.SetColumn(TotalsGrid, 0)
  16:  
  17:         LayoutRoot.ColumnDefinitions(1).Width = New GridLength(0)
  18:     End If
  19: End Sub

The resulting display then looks like the following:

Button Handlers

The numeric button grid is implemented in xaml as a 3 x 4 grid.  Each numeric button is given a name “button[x]”, corresponding to its value.  When a button is pressed, we want to add that new digit to the bill amount. This is perfect place to take advantage of Visual Basic Statement Lambdas feature, introduced in Visual Studio 2010:

   1: Private Sub InitButtonHandlers()
   2:     For i = 0 To 9
   3:         Dim btnName = "button" & i.ToString()
   4:         Dim btn = CType(Me.LayoutRoot.FindName(btnName), System.Windows.Controls.Button)
   5:  
   6:         Dim j = i ' avoid local variable capture
   7:         AddHandler btn.Click, Sub(sender As Object, e As RoutedEventArgs) TryUpdateBillAmount(textBlockBill.Text + j.ToString())
   8:     Next i
   9: Sub

Debugging With the Emulator

Like the C# debugging experience, VB debugging is also very simple – just press F5!  By default the emulator is your target:

You can now test the application easily using the normal Visual Studio debugger and emulator controls.  For example, to test landscape mode, simply select the direction you want to rotate the device:

Building to Release

Assuming we’re all done developing the application and are ready to submit it to the marketplace, we’ll now change the configuration to Release and Rebuild:

In the Bin\Release folder, you will now find a XAP file, which is the package you will submit to the marketplace.

Publishing the Application

Your best one-stop shop for resources about publishing your application is http://create.msdn.com.

To submit an application to the Windows Phone Marketplace, you’ll first need to register and become a member here: http://create.msdn.com/en-us/home/membership

Here are a few additional resources to review before submitting:

Finally you can use the application submission walkthrough, to guide you through the submission process.

Summary

You can find the full source code for the Visual Basic Tip Calculator application here. The application uses general Silverlight and Visual Basic features, which are available in other application types, and now also apply to the phone. As a VB developer, you’re well-positioned for success creating Windows Phone 7 applications.

Enjoy!

Comments (8)

  1. native dev says:

    When can we get back Visual C++ for Windows Phone?

  2. Jasonz says:

    @native dev – unfortunately we do not have C++ for Windows Phone at this time, sorry

  3. james says:

    Why not concentrate on 1 language, instead of now causing this fragmentation.

    So now example code/open source projects are going to be either c# or vb, hardly anyone maintained code in both languages, so it's gonna be a big pain point for C# programmers looking at VB examples/projects, and vice versa.

  4. Matt says:

    Not to sound ungrateful, but when will the templates for Expression Blend using VB.Net for Windows Phone work?

  5. Jasonz says:

    @james – We have a firm commitment to Visual Basic and C# parity and have developers skilled in both languages.  We had actually tried to get the VB support into the final build of WP7 but due to schedule risk kinds of issues we had to defer a bit until this release.

    @Matt – Nothing to announce yet in this release, sorry, we have been concentrating on getting the core work going.  I'm checking on the ETA from the Expression team on thier support, stay tuned…

  6. Jaime says:

    This is great news! I was waiting for VB.NET!!  Now I can start developing..

  7. Martin Krüger says:

    Any news about the release date for the WP7 VB templates for Expression Blend? Like many others I have a powerful product which I still cannot use to get productive with WP7 development.

  8. HerculesSAS says:

    Still no blend support. Amazing that MS wonders why it is behind in the mobile space, and they don't even take the time to release fully baked tools.

    How do you expect to do development making plain vanilla interfaces?