During MIX11 the Windows Phone Developer Tools team made some great announcements that will help developers build new types of applications for the next version of Windows Phone code named Mango.
From the beginning I knew Windows Phone was a great platform and they had something big. Now, have they won the mobile space yet? No they haven’t, but they are putting everything in place with things like the Nokia deal which is a great opportunity for developers and still believe Windows Phone will be successful.
With the announcements at MIX11, Microsoft have ‘opened’ up the platform some more to developers. Now, when I say ‘opened’ I’m not talking about open sourcing their OS like Android, but opening up in a sense of API usage for developers.
API support missing in Windows Phone we as developers have complained about but now the Tools team is delivering. Is it coming tomorrow? No, but apparently we will be getting tools where we will be able to get ready for the Mango build of Windows Phone. So we still have to be patient but the platform is getting there.
What are we getting? there are over 1500 new APIs available for Mango. Here is an image of some of the APIs
Here is a list of some of the stuff that I find interesting
- Multitasking – Fast App Switching (FAS) and background agents.
- IE9 for Windows Phone
- Additional sensor and runtime access – camera stream access, compass, gyroscope, sockets
- Structured storage: Use SQL CE Databases using LINQ to access data.
- Contact and Appointment APIs
- XNA/Silverlight integration – use XNA and overlay over Silverlight pages
- Tooling investments – profiling tools (initially demoed at PDC10), emulator enhancements that allow devs to manipulate the sensor data
So, a lot of features that are coming in Mango for developers. The Windows Phone developer tools are getting better and we as developers will be able to innovate on this platform.
If you are interested in getting a sneak peak at what is available in Mango be sure to check out the Windows Phone sessions from Mix all available online. Some of my favorites are (in no particular order)
- Day 2 Key Note – About Silverlight and Windows Phone
- Analyzing and Improving Windows Phone Application Performance – Jeff Wilcox built 4th and Mayor Foursquare client and is on the Silverlight product group and guru.
- Deep Dive MVVM – MVVM is a must in my opinion for building Windows Phone apps. Built right, you can use a lot of your code for Silverlight desktop also.
- Rx: A Library for Managing Asynchronous Data and Events in your Windows Phone 7 Application – Interesting way to write multithreaded code, makes things way too easy
- Multitasking in the Next Version of Windows Phone, Part I and Multitasking in the Next Version of Windows Phone, Part II: Using Background Agents – yes Windows Phone finally gets multitasking, it’s always had it just not exposed to developers.
- New Data Access Features Coming to Windows Phone – SQL Compact Database support
- What’s New in the Windows Phone Developer Tools? – memory profiling, dev life just got a little easier
Those are my recommended ones, but make sure to go through the whole list of Windows Phone developer sessions at MIX11. They are all useful!
In the next days I’ll go in details on the features that are coming. Unfortunately, I have no code samples as tools are not yet available. As tooling becomes available, I will most likely create some sample code. In the meantime be sure to check out all the Windows Phone sessions available online from MIX.