Well its been an exciting couple of weeks with tons of workshops happening from Durban to Cape Town and we have our last weekend workshop in Johannesburg this weekend. All of them have been jam packed so if you missed them now or couldn’t get in we will run another series of workshops early next year. Some of the questions we get is where do I go from the workshop and what kind of apps should I build. So here is a list of things to do:
1. Start simple
Work on a simple concept that is relevant to you and something that you would use on a day to day basis. Start small so you actually get coding and see progress. The first app you write should be aimed to be completed in a couple hours. This way you will learn how the framework works as well as experience submitting an application to AppHub.
2. Realise you have value to add
Just because the application exists don’t be stopped there, remember the way you implement a specific idea is what is important. Your app could be better just by having small features which the others didn’t think of. So go ahead and build something that already exists just do it the way you would have.
There are no bad ideas, take your idea if you think its good there most likely is someone else out there who does too and might be willing to pay for it. So don’t be afraid to build it, once its on the market place thousands of people will have access your application, who knows you might have the next Angry Birds.
3. Don’t reinvent the wheel
When developing an application try to leverage existing tool kits and libraries for controls or other functionality. Don’t build something that someone has built for you. Try and structure your applications so you can extract reusable code into a library for later applications. Here is a bunch of useful libraries:
a. Silverlight Toolkit for Windows Phone: This has a whole bunch of useful controls - http://silverlight.codeplex.com/
b. Coding4fun Windows Phone toolkit: More useful controls for Windows Phone - http://coding4fun.codeplex.com/
c. MVVM Light: A great library for helping with leveraging the MVVM pattern - http://mvvmlight.codeplex.com/
d. Caliburn Micro: Another great library for working with MVVM - http://caliburnmicro.codeplex.com/
4. Go Metro
Have a look at the Metro design language which helps you create great looking apps which integrate with the phones look and feel. More information can be found here: http://www.microsoft.com/design/toolbox/tutorials/windows-phone-7/metro/
5. Test your app and read the guidance
So now you have your application built and now you need to test. There is a ton of guidance out there provided on how to pass the certification process. One of the nice tools is the Marketplace Test Kit that comes with the SDK. To get hold of it you right click on the project and select Open Marketplace Test Kit and go through the wizard. Another thing I highly recommend is going through and reading the policy documents they help a lot with getting through certification. Here are the Application Certification Requirements for Windows Phone - Application Certification Requirements
So now that you have a place a place to start now how about some incentive?
1. The best application developed between the 1st November and the 31st December which has been submitted onto the market place using a South African account will win R50000!!!!! Here are the details: Windows Phone R50000 Competition
2. We will be giving phones to developers who create 5 or more applications and submit them to the market place, this is limited to the number of devices we have available.
3. We also have loan devices if you need assistance with testing your applications you can contact us via our blog for more information.
I hope this helps get you started with your next great idea and keep an eye on the blog for information on future workshops and Windows Phone news.