Was it only six years ago that Windows Mobile was a big part of the cellphone business? That was a time when only programmers thought of a mobile phone as a computer. Now we're heading into the second or third generation of the smartphone, and the little thin slabs are becoming even more complex than the desktop. Do you want to edit a document? Find your way home? Take a picture? Send email? Actually talk with someone? Your smartphone is there for you.
We've come a long way from Windows Mobile and BlackBerry. In the meantime, Microsoft looked into the abyss and realized it had no choice but to match the iPhones and Android mobiles feature for feature. The company clearly spared no expense or effort in building something that offers more or less the same extensive list of features as iPhones or Android smartphones. Then Microsoft tacked on a few cool ideas and its own distinctive style that will lure those who love the mod, '60s look.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Review: Visual Studio 2012 shines on Windows 8 | Get expert advice about planning and implementing your BYOD strategy with InfoWorld's 29-page "Mobile and BYOD Deep Dive" PDF special report. | Keep up on key mobile developments and insights with the Mobilize newsletter. ]
This isn't just a challenge for the programmers inside Microsoft. The Windows Phone 8 platform can't become relevant on its own. A smartphone today needs apps from an app store, and an app store needs developers, and developers need SDKs. If Microsoft wants to ship phones, it will need programmers to work with the SDK and start creating apps.
Microsoft just released the Windows Phone 8 SDK last week. The first thing any programmer will notice is extensive breadth and the depth. It's not just a tool for putting some buttons on the screen. Today's developer must be ready to build a slick user interface that can work with the various roles of a smartphone.
Windows Phone 8 languages and runtime
The good news is the new version of the SDK includes extensive documentation written with plenty of detail for you to explore as you poke around all the different ways you can build a Windows Phone 8 app. There are hundreds of good examples, though even that might not be enough to cover everything we'll need to learn to work with the SDK. Microsoft thoughtfully includes a separate forum where programmers can write requests asking for new examples and vote for other people's requests. This is a smart feedback mechanism that should help Microsoft develop what the programmers really want to use.
Most of the examples are written in C#, the language that will probably be the first choice for many of the developers. The presentation layer filled with widgets is written in XAML, while the C# code lies bundled in objects waiting for the events to come its way. Microsoft calls this a "managed app." Most of your diddling will probably be choosing the right XAML layout widget so that everything looks just right. You can produce something quite nice by putting the right widgets in the XAML file and letting the OS manage the rest. The C# will pull data in and out of objects, then swap those objects with other parts of the code.
You may still be better off sticking with Win7 or Win8.1, given the wide range of ongoing Win10...
Now that we're down to the wire, many upgraders report that the installer hangs. If this happens to...
Angular 3 will have better tooling and will generate less code; Google also is promising a new major...
With no new Tuesday surprises, here's your opportunity to catch up on the latest updates for Microsoft
The creator of C++ sees concepts in generic programming as key to more efficient, reliable code
A port of the popular Torch library, PyTorch offers a comfortable coding option for Pythonistas
Code signing has its limits. Starting in April, if the JAR file is signed with MD5, Oracle will treat...