Yes, it’s that much awaited day when the Windows Phone Developer Tools (WPDT) RTM. I’ve put together a short summary of what’s new / changed and some links to help you find your way around.
Let’s start at the beginning. The Windows Phone Developer Tools is a free download containing all you need to start writing application for Windows Phone 7 (WP7). The package contains Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, the Windows Phone Emulator, Silverlight for Windows Phone, Expression Blend for Windows Phone and XNA Game Studio 4.0. If you want to jump straight to the install, here you go:
Note: If you have a version of WPDT already installed you must uninstall before you install WPDT RTM.
It’s worth reading the release notes here: WPDT RTM Release Notes
Download here: Windows Phone Developer Tools RTM Download
So what’s new?
- An updated emulator based on the RTM Windows Phone code (of course)
- The Panorama control
- The Pivot control
- The Bing Maps control (with a free commercial licence)
- Note: apps submitted to MarketPlace must be compiled with the RTM tools. They will be rejected otherwise.
The Panorama and Pivot controls are central to the Windows Phone “Metro” experience and I know a lot of you will have been eagerly awaiting their arrival. Similarly for the Bing Maps control – no more workarounds to use the standard Silverlight control 🙂
The panorama control allows you to create a user experience in your application akin to the native hub experience on the phone. A UI that extends beyond the confines of the screen and encourages users to explore your application in a very intuitive way. It also has a nifty parallax effect.
The pivot control is more data focussed. Much like a tab control, it allows the user to manipulate a large set of data through various views, filtering the data and making it manageable. The email client on the phone uses the pivot control to display all mail / unread mail / urgent mail / flagged mail views.
The Bing Maps control makes it trivial to add rich mapping capabilities to your application including zoom, scroll, search, directions, street/ satellite view.
What about other controls?
I’m glad you asked. Today we also release the Silverlight for Windows Phone Toolkit containing a total of 6 additional controls:
These controls further enhance the capabilities of the platform, improve developer productivity and provide for greater consistency of user experience across difference applications.
Learning about the platform
We already have some great resources out there for learning about the Windows Phone platform. Many of these have been / will be updated for RTM. The Training Kit has already been updated for RTM and the very popular JumpStart training will be extended on 21st September with some advanced topics covering the new controls, XNA, optimising performance etc. If you can’t make it “in person” it will again be recorded and made available on-demand.
What applications are out there already?
Lots. Seriously. Do a search on “WP7 apps”. Just look at all those puppies. In addition to that lot we’ve got great applications from the likes of Twitter, Netflix, OpenTable, Flixster and Travelocity and I’ve been in deployment labs over the last few weeks where I’ve seen a swathe of great applications from developers in the UK.
It’s worth mentioning that the Microsoft Advertising team has created the Mobile Advertising SDK to enable developers to generate revenue from in app advertising. They also have a real-time, bid-based mobile ad exchange, whatever that is. I’m sure it’s ace. Anyway, you can learn more (as I need to do) on the Microsoft Advertising blog.
One important point to note – this will initially only be available to US audiences. ie if your app targets a US audience then it’s relevant to you.
With all that great new stuff to explore, what are you waiting for?