Free ebook: Programming Windows Phone 7 Series (DRAFT Preview)

Do you recognize this man?


That’s Charles Petzold! Looking stylish with the cover of his free ebook on his tee shirt. It’s a draft preview of his upcoming book (to be published in the fall): Programming Windows Phone 7 Series. This preview ebook contains six chapters in three parts (153 pages total):

Part I   Getting Started

Chapter 1   Phone Hardware + Your Software

Chapter 2   Hello, Windows Phone

Part II   Silverlight

Chapter 3   Code and XAML

Chapter 4   Presentation and Layout

Part III   XNA

Chapter 5   Principles of Movement

Chapter 6   Textures and Sprites

Here’s a quick excerpt from the ebook:

Chapter 1
Phone Hardware + Your Software

Sometimes it becomes apparent that previous approaches to a problem haven’t quite worked the way you anticipated. Perhaps you just need to clear away the smoky residue of the past, take a deep breath, and try again with a new attitude and fresh ideas. In golf, it’s known as a “mulligan”; in schoolyard sports, it’s called a “do-over”; and in the computer industry, we say it’s a “reboot.”

A reboot is what Microsoft has initiated with its new approach to the mobile phone market. On February 15, 2010, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Series and promised a product introduction in time for year-end holiday shopping. With its clean look, striking fonts, and new organizational paradigms, Windows Phone 7 Series not only represents a break with the Windows Mobile past but also differentiates itself from other smartphones currently in the market.

For programmers, the news from Barcelona was certainly intriguing but hardly illuminating. Exactly how do we write programs for this new Windows Phone 7 Series? Developers detected a few hints but no real facts. The really important stuff wouldn’t be disclosed until mid-March at MIX 2010 in Las Vegas.

Silverlight or XNA?

Intelligent speculation about the application platform for the Windows Phone 7 Series has gravitated around two possibilities: Silverlight and XNA.

Since about 2008, programmers have been impatiently awaiting the arrival of a mobile version of Silverlight. Silverlight, a spinoff of the client-based Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), has already given Web programmers unprecedented power to develop sophisticated user interfaces with a mix of traditional controls, high-quality text, vector graphics, media, animation, and data binding that run on multiple platforms and browsers. Many programmers thought Silverlight would be an excellent platform for writing applications and utilities for smartphones.

XNA—the three letters stand for something like “XNA is Not an Acronym”—is Microsoft’s game platform supporting both 2D sprite-based and 3D graphics with a traditional game-loop architecture. Although XNA is mostly associated with writing games for the Xbox 360 console, developers can also target the PC itself, as well as Microsoft’s classy audio player, the Zune. The 2009 release of the Zune HD particularly seemed to suggest a mobile future built around the device’s revamped graphics and multitouch navigation. For many Zune HD users, the most disappointing feature of the device was its inability to make phone calls!
Either Silverlight or XNA would make good sense as the application platform for the Windows Phone 7 Series, but the decision from Microsoft is:


The Windows Phone 7 Series supports programs written for either Silverlight or XNA. And this we call “an embarrassment of riches.”

You can download the ebook in XPS format here. Here it is in PDF format. And the zipped code samples for this draft preview are here.

Charles is at MIX; say hello and ask him about programming for the Windows Phone. And enjoy, everybody!


WinPhone_v3 (2)

Comments (36)
  1. Mark Henrikson says:

    Thank you! Very interested in this technology and book!

  2. You’re welcome, Mark!  Check back for the ebook’s code samples.

  3. If I’m going to learn to program a Windows 7 Phone who better than the man who helped teach me to program Windows 3.0.  😉


  4. Joey says:

    where should i submit errors and typos?

  5. Joey, you can send them to me (devonm).

  6. Mark Struck says:

    Very cool… Petzold’s Progamming Windows 3.1 was THE bible for programming windows back in the day.

  7. oVan says:

    Thank you for this early look at Charles’ book!

    I’ve just put a small post about the ebook here:

  8. Maxood says:

    Hi Charles! Your book does seem quite informative and interesting. XNA and Silverlight is a fascinating technology.

    I primarily work on Android. Wonder how Windows 7 Phones will be like if you compare them with Droid or Nexus 1.

    What edge does Windows Mobile would offer that is not there in Android or iPhone.

  9. Charles has no intention to write also a book on C#?

  10. Basmah says:

    How can I download this preview e-book?

  11. John Kings says:

    Thank you Charles!

    The circle is complete…I started out with your Windows 3.1, now your Windows 7, and everything else in between.  You’re practically family! 🙂

  12. Scott says:

    How many month will it be before the Windows Phone application I write today will no longer be compatible?

  13. RuairiSpain says:

    Nice book, I’d like to see focused on Windows Phone 7 series specifics.  It’s a great intro to XAML and XNA, I think the title is misleading.  

    If you need an editor for future XAML or WP7 books, I’m keen to help out!

  14. RuairiSpain says:

    Nice book, I’d like to see focused on Windows Phone 7 series specifics.  It’s a great intro to XAML and XNA, I think the title is misleading.  

    If you need an editor for future XAML or WP7 books, I’m keen to help out!

  15. Andro says:

    That’s a great book for developers!

    I hope the book will publish ASAP.

  16. Nice book, Thanks!

    If you need an editor for future XAML or WP7 books, I’m keen to help out!

  17. Vikas Taneja says:

    When I heard about it, I didn’t believe. Thanks for taking time to write about programming on Windows Phone 7 Series platform! I am waiting for its final version… 🙂

  18. Hey everybody, thanks for all your comments!  By the way, in case we didn’t make it clear in the post, this ebook is short preview of a much longer book Charles is writing.  And even the chapters in the ebook are only in the early stages of the chapters they’ll become.

  19. I am not sure "re: Free ebook:Programming …." is all about and would like more information.  I have used Macs f and programmed them for many years,  Now I have a

    toshiba using Windows 7 home premiumand would like to learn how to program it!

  20. techieg says:

    Why do we have to wait till the fall for this book? Won’t it make more sense to get it out there  before WP7 hits the public for developers to have apps ready by then? I really don’t get this sense of timing or lack of it.

    Right about now, various groups are rallying several WP7 study groups but there is no book to use to teach and learn WP7 app/game dev. This really makes no sense.

  21. Online says:

    The book title (and perhaps some internal details) also needs to be updated to "Programming Windows Phone 7"….lose the series please.

  22. Techieg, we’re doing our best to produce the highest quality guidance possible as soon as possible.  Our schedule is driven by quality more than anything else.

    Online, the "DRAFT Preview" is a snapshot in time.  If we release another "DRAFT Preview" before we release the final full book, it’ll have the new title (and be as accurate as it can be at that moment).

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  25. DanielM says:


    it's a nice book.

    One question: Will it be translated to german, because it's difficult to read, not everything but some things.

  26. Alok Tripathi India says:

    Nice example..

    its good way to attract for this new technology..

  27. RonnyGydar says:

    Excellent book…hope it also will be made available on Kindle (then you got one more customer here at least;)

  28. Greg Johnson says:

    Hi:  Windows Mobile 6.5 was a deritive of Windows CE.  Is Windows Phone 7 also a 'CE' deritive — meaning if you have to tools to program in CE you can program in Phone 7?

    What compilers and IDE are required?  

    Thanks,   Greg

  29. Jenna says:

    This Old guy rocks! >D but he looks scary as well >(

  30. Greg, here's a response from Charles Petzold: "Although the operating system kernel in Windows Phone 7 is a version of Windows CE, application programs do not access that operating system directly.  Instead, there are two application programming interfaces:  Silverlight for Windows Phone (a variation of Silverlight 3) and XNA Game Studio 4.  You program for these APIs using C# or (now in beta) Visual Basic .NET using Visual Studio 10 with the Windows Phone 7 Programming Tools installed."

  31. juned says:


  32. Aaron says:

    Nice book.  I set up a forum at to help developers discuss any issues or ideas they may have.  Looking forward to seeing the full book.

  33. Patrice BONNEFOY (Pat84) says:

    Thank you very much Charles ! I hope WP7 programming more easiest now 😉


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