The one thing about having to take a train home after an event is that is gives you a chance to create a blog entry after it, yesterday was a long day so please forgive any mistakes!
If you are thinking of or are already writing applications for the windows mobile phone then events like this are well worth attending. For the following reasons:
- You get to meet likeminded people and exchange ideas, problems and solutions.
- The event is likely to be attended by a representative from the Microsoft DPE team (people with the best jobs ever). If you ask them something that they don’t know they will know someone who does know.
- You are likely to get feedback from people on the application you are in the process of developing.
The event comprised of a talk on XNA development followed by group of 5 demos showing the efforts of us passionate people who obviously have bought into the windows phone platform and it’s developer tools these demos were from @treeuk, @davehawes, @keyboardp, @hosainnet and me). – correction thanks to Matt’s comment I left out a demo sorry :-s.
There was even a prize (an Xbox) for the application that most deserved it. Howard Scott and I both demonstrated the path finder application that we are in the process of developing. Howard gave the visuals a run through and I showed the app (I should say mumbled about the app – note to self to work on your annunciation / demonstration technique).
Finally the Paul Foster from Microsoft gave a presentation on the platform and the market place – I am sure that there were more slides but he never really got that far a his presentation was hijacked by the QA element.
One thing that I defiantly learnt from the meeting was that you really should sign up for the market place as soon as you can. If you are feel that you may be due a developer phone and you haven’t got a market place membership if may be a few days before you can unlock the phone.
After the meeting I was asked by a couple of people how I managed to add a panoramic. And pivot controls to our application. I used the controls found here http://phone.codeplex.com/ By the way don’t think that if you use this control you are going to have to re work a lot of code after the event to use the official controls from Microsoft.
For the interactive mapping element within the application I used the Bing Maps Silverlight control. This isn’t really supported by Microsoft for the phone platform and won’t actually work with the multi touch gestures (and is therefore not possible to zoom out without using an application bar button).
Again I see no harm in developing with this control for the time being because fingers crossed Microsoft will be providing a phone based version of the control (well if it’s in Silverlight why not the phone too). To get the control running in your application follow what’s in this blog entry: http://www.silverlighthack.com/post/2010/03/21/Using-the-Silverlight-Bing-Maps-control-on-the-Windows-Phone-7.aspx.
Another element of phone application development that I didn’t really demonstrate was the cashing of remote images. This will be key to the Snow + Rock application as the application must be able to present content when a phone signal will be limited or non-existent. For this I have taken code from the following blog post: http://www.ben.geek.nz/2010/07/one-time-cached-images-in-windows-phone-7/. I have had to add code to ensure that URI’s are safe for file name use (in case you are using the asp.net development server where the inclusion of a port number will break the file name).
That’s all for now, there is more to come and I can’t obviously give away too much about our application in case people copy the thing outright.
By the way in the end we didn’t win the Xbox, congratulations to the winner more deserved since his app was done in his own time.