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Cheat Sheet

Windows Phone 7 Application Development For Dummies

From Windows Phone 7 Application Development For Dummies by Bill Hughes, Indrajit Chakrabarty

If you have a great new idea for an app that will run on Windows Phone 7, start by downloading the free Windows Phone Developer Tools from the Microsoft website. The process takes a look at what you have on your PC before it starts downloading — in case you already have a better version of the tools. After you've developed your app, you'll need to test it with the Windows Phone Emulator.

Downloading Tools to Develop Apps for Windows Phone 7

To begin developing apps for Windows Phone 7, you need some basic tools. Luckily, Microsoft's App Hub is all about Windows Phone 7. Follow these steps, using the PC you plan to use for development:

  1. Go to the App Hub.

  2. Click the link in the upper-left corner that says "Download the free tools."

  3. In the "Download the Free Tools" section, click the link that says, "Download and install the Windows Phone Developer Tools."

    The application download screen appears, allowing you to download the Visual Studio 2010 Express application.

    You don't need to download the release notes.

    The smart loader is smart enough to check your machine and download only what you need.

  4. In that same section, click the link that says, "Download and install the Windows Phone Developer Tools January 2011 Update."

    Again, the download screen appears. You don't need to download these release notes either.

  5. Go get a drink.

    The January 2011 update takes a while to install. Be patient.

  6. Finally, click the link that says, "Windows Phone Developer Tools Fix."

    After you've followed these steps, your PC is ready for you to start programming.

What Is the Windows Phone Emulator?

Use the Windows Phone Emulator to see how your app executes and debug it before you put it in the marketplace. The Windows Phone Emulator is a high-fidelity and high-performance virtualization environment. In other words, it has great sound and acts just like a phone. Right there on your PC, a screen pops up with a phone on it. You can't use it make a call, but you can push the buttons, use the touch screen (with your mouse), and simulate your app.

Now for the hard part: In order to start the emulator, you just need to press . . . F5! The emulator will load the program you currently have open in Visual Studio.

The emulator has a real phone skin — the same buttons as a phone. You'll see a Back button, a Start button, and a Search button. When you left-click a button, it's like tapping a soft key on the screen or pressing a button. You can't pan or zoom because there is no equivalent for multi-touch with a mouse (unless you have a multi-touch computer screen). You can scroll the screen around by pressing the left mouse key to simulate a press and hold.

In addition, the emulator has GPS simulation so that if your app needs the user's location it will work. Orientation support means that if your user turns a corner, the map will turn, as well.

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