14 February 2012

Windows Phone 7 Application Development - Sink or Swim.

Shhhhhhh! If you sit quietly you can almost hear me sigh in relief to a nicely paced start of the week. Last week was very long and gruelling involving a lot of late nights in the office trying to finish off a project which had a tight schedule.

Ok, so let’s start from the beginning. I did a short course on Windows Phone 7 development at the end of last year and I when I got back to work after the Christmas holidays I was immediately informed of an upcoming project on WP7. You can imagine my excitement as I have been really keen to join such a project to the point where each time I sent an email to scheduling about upcoming projects the email had such a line “…if there are any WP7 projects please please please let me know”. I also made a point to join WP7 projects alongside those scheduled for me. Volunteering to test or adding small features nothing major but a great platform to learn from.

Finally got onto this project and boy was it at the deep end! Be careful what you wish folks because you just might get it. The project had a rather tight schedule and involved a lot of Sprints(Agile Methodology). These sprints made getting work done a bit of a task as some of the designs were still being changed as I was coding. In a way the tight schedule and the fact that I was given something totally new made the project even more challenging and in doing so I had to force myself to quickly grasp some of the ideas about object oriented programming concepts in relation to WP7 that I have been contending with for a while. With the deadline looming I called in some reinforcement to help me out as there was no leeway on the deadline. I had a WP7 Pro come to my rescue. I learned a lot more in a week than I would have in a month by collaborating with Mr WP7 Pro. Just because I was working with a Pro does not mean the Bee is now a Pro, although I am working on that. I learned so much as well as things that made the process easier such as getting the flow of pages before dwelling down into the data binding of the project and a lot of other WP7 specifics that the device emulator can and cannot do. The project was handed off on Friday for testing to another team so just about made the deadline.

I am so excited and proud to be a part of  a project for an application that millions of customers in the UK and (possibly worldwide) will be using soon. It makes all those nights staying in the office until 9pm and 11pm worthwhile. An added bonus was making one of the window cleaner’s jump as he was not expecting to see anyone in the office at 10pm. He almost jumped out of his skin when he found me in a corner and I could swear there was a moment he actually thought he’d seen a ghost. If I wasn’t so tired I may have played along and whispered “I know what you did last summer” but I thought the ashen look on his face was enough entertainment for the night.

Anyway as I can’t show you or tell you more about my project, unless I want to end up jobless and on jobseekers I will show you one of the small applications I have be playing around with. It uses a web service to pick up my Tweets on Twitter. I have also been trying to incorporate the use of other technologies alongside my WP7 application development. I am currently working with Azure to store data in the Cloud and my application then consumes a WCF service to access the data. I also attended a MonoTouch presentation week before last. This consisted of demos on the tools you can integrate with when developing for iOS and Android phones using Microsoft .Net Framework and C#. Overall really good and anyone interested mobile app development for the iPhone using C# and .Net can check out Xamarin open source contributions.

The Best For Last…

I couldn’t write this post without celebrating the fact that my country took the African Cup this weekend. It was a crazy match that had my heart dancing around my rib cage with the nail biting penalties that brought the game to an end in which the Zambian Chipolopolo  Boys made history on Sunday night.
I am so proud of them for making it this far and bringing the cup to Zambia.

Finally those that are new Windows Phone 7 or development I will be adding a new page to my blog which will have links to a lot of the material that I come across that I believe may be useful to beginners as well as the pros. One that stands out for me is Bob Tabor on Channel 9. There are plenty more out there but for beginners I found his pace as well as content to be just right. If you have any good links then please let me know. I will be doing another post on the available tools for WP7 development so look out for that.

Please don't forget to “like” me on Facebook if you haven’t done so already! Thanks for your support!


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