TouchDevelop book and slides – now available online

Until recently, there wasn’t much documentation available around the TouchDevelop programming environment and language.

We reorganized our educational material under, and the TouchDevelop team and our friends from Microsoft Research Connections are happy to announce: A book, and slides.


bookThe book “touchdevelop – programming on a phone”, currently available online at, has a colorful cover looking like, and featuring on it, a Windows Phone. We also like to refer to this book as the true modern phone book.

This book is the result of the work of R Nigel Horspool (University of Victoria), Judith Bishop, Arjmand Samuel, Nikolai Tillmann, Michal Moskal, Jonathan de Halleux, Manuel Fähndrich (Microsoft Research).

This book introduces the reader to the idea of programming on a phone, and it illustrates in depth everything one needs to know to get started with the TouchDevelop app and the TouchDevelop language.

The book is comprehensive in its treatment of the language, and follows a logical structure from simple constructs to more advanced ones.

The aim of the book is twofold: It tells a teacher everything there is to know about the new programming paradigm, and it serves well as a reference to students who are learning the system.

Consider this to be “version 1” of the book. We are making it available now for the ACM SIGCSE conference which takes place next week in Raleigh, NC. If you are there, come to the Microsoft booth and ask for a copy. Following that, we’ll be making updates and working on the next version which will be put online, and available at future events. Ultimately, the book will be published and available for sale.


slideThe slide decks, available online at, contain a full course explaining

  • why we created TouchDevelop, and how to navigate around the app, code editor, and website,
  • what comprises the TouchDevelop language – scripts, actions, events, data, art, libraries, and all the different statement kinds and datatypes
  • what are all the available APIs,
  • and it finishes with some advanced topics, for example how to use libraries, how TouchDevelop deals with script privacy issues, and how to use the TouchDevelop cloud services.

The slides typically present topics more succinct and at a higher level than the book, but they cover a wider set of aspects of TouchDevelop, including an overview of the ever-growing set of APIs.

The slides contain many links to examples and exercises. We are planning to update the slide decks over time.

I have personally “tested” the slides during a recent Summer School in Argentina, and they are currently being used in a High School course.

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