Getting Started With Windows Phone Development

Going to a lot of local events I always get asked “what do I have to do to get started to create an app on Windows Phone?”  I noticed I have never put together a getting started article so here it goes.

Basically, the only URL I give everyone is which is App Hub.

Here developers will find everything they need to get started including tools and registration process to publish your apps.  The biggest shock to most people are that all tools are free so it costs you nothing to get started and the only cost is when you are ready to submit your application for certification into the Windows Phone Marketplace.  The cost is $100/yr for an AppHub membership similar to the Apple AppStore pricing.

There are also some targeted Microsoft programs that devs can take advantage of not just for Windows Phone but for all MSFT based software.

Windows Phone Dev For Students

DreamSparkIf you are a student you definitely want to look at the Microsoft DreamSpark program.  It gives you access to all the Microsoft developer tools for free!  When you develop your Windows Phone App and are ready to publish, you can also get a complimentary AppHub account saving you $100/yr.

Windows Phone Dev For Startups

If you are a startup using Microsoft technologies and concerned about license costs, check out BizSpark.  BizSpark allows you to get all the Microsoft software for free for 3 years including Windows Azure for three years which is an awesome deal.  If you are on MSFT technologies you definitely want to look at this but unfortunately you don’t get a free AppHub account like students.  Even if you are running things such as node.js or mongoDB still take a look at this, because you can run these OSS on Azure and it will be free with no servers to install or manage like Amazon AWS.

Windows Phone Dev Quick Links

For those wanting quick links here is a summary of what I think is important but there is a boat load of information out there, you just have to search.

  1. AppHub – going to is your central place for everything Windows Phone and XNA development.
  2. Visual Studio Express for Windows Phone – this is your main tool to create Windows Phone apps.  You can download
  3. Documentation – all documentation can be found on MSDN.  This is everything needed when you run into API problems or not sure how something works.  Explore it because there is a lot of information here.
  4. Sample Code – Sample code is everywhere just Google it!  Here is a list of were you can possible find some more
    1. GitHub – Just search for Windows Phone and you’ll find a lot of source code
    2. CodePlex – There is lots of code here but seems most (including MSFT) are dumping this in preference for GitHub
    3. AppHub Education – (Told you there is a lot here Smile) The education section has a boat load of samples that you can use to get things going.
  5. Getting Help – there is a large community developing and always helping with Windows Phone development and usually helping with any dev challenges you may have.  Here is a list
    1. Twitter – The Windows Phone dev team is on twitter and lists all the MVPs that are on twitter.  Everyone listed there is always willing to help with issues so if you are on twitter leverage it
    2. App Hub Community– Like I said, AppHub is your main source, use it leverage it and build your apps!
    3. Blogs – Here is a list I took straight from AppHub site of both Microsoft employees and MVPs from around the world
      1. MSFT
      2. MVPs

So hopefully this helps you in your quest to develop for Windows Phone!  If you are reading this and I have missed something please post it to the comments section or feel free to contact me here or via twitter @MarkArteaga!

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