Get Started Developing for Windows Phone 7

July 23, 2011, By Christian Cawley

Windows Phone 7 is a brand new mobile platform from Microsoft, featuring a brand new set of tools and providing zero support for Windows Mobile apps.

As a result, the platform is open to development – while there might be considerable overlap of tools and utilities on Windows Mobile, this doesn’t affect Windows Phone 7. Apps for this new platform will all be made available via the Windows Marketplace, meaning that every new app must be approved. This system, adopted in the wake of the success of the Apple App Store, will ensure the stability and compatibility of apps for the platform.

Get Started Developing for Windows Phone 7

Skills Required

Windows Phone 7 is a whole new mobile operating system – however if you have experience with the XNA and Silverlight platforms you should be able get to grips with it pretty quickly.

If you have experience of none of the above but you have used Microsoft .NET in the past, then again you should be able to start developing for Windows Phone 7 pretty quickly.

Anyone completely new to programming might wish to take a step back, and purchase a couple of books or read a few tutorials on programming for mobile devices. This should give you the grounding you need to make the right decision about which mobile OS you wish to develop for.

But how do you get started developing an app for Windows Phone 7?

Getting Started as a Developer

The first thing you will need to do to become a certificated developer for Windows Phone 7 is to sign up at the Developer Home section at Windowsphone.com – go to developer.windowsphone.com/Signup to do this. You can use your Windows Live account, which you will have if you already have a Hotmail, Messenger, Zune, or Xbox LIVE account.

After signing the “application provider agreement” you will then need to provide personal details and pay the annual subscription fee. This is $99 or £65 and is required to award certification to your app. (Note that Dreamspark-registered students will get free registration.)

However all of the stuff above should only be done once your app is ready…

Download the Free App Development Tools

Available from the developer.windowsphone.com page (via the Get the free tools link), the free developer tools come in a small 3.2 MB download which when the installation begins will then download a further 423 MB of data – so make sure you pick a suitably sized disk drive for installation. The speed of installation will depend upon your internet connection speed. Once installed, you will have access to a range of development tools housed within Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone. This consists of a range of project templates and a Windows Phone 7 emulator, and these can be used to create your own app.

Developer guides and code samples are also available, providing a good demonstration of the new mobile platform, and how you can develop for it.

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