Designing for the Windows Phone
       by kirupa  |  15 March 2010

The rave at MIX 2010 has been all about developing applications for the Windows Phone. Part of the excitement has to do with how applications for the phone are actually built.

Instead of having to learn something new and unfamiliar, if you know how to use Silverlight with Expression Blend, you are 95% of the way there to knowing all there is to know:

[ Chuck Norris can also slam a revolving door. See more... ]

If you don't know how to use Expression Blend, don't worry. Now is a good a time as ever.

Anyway, in this brief article, I will show you how to get up and running with building applications for the Windows Phone using Expression Blend.

Getting Started
Because everything is in a pre-release state right now, most of the rough edges lie in getting everything downloaded and installed. To get up and running, simply download the Windows Phone Developer Tools (WPDT) below:

Windows Phone Developer Tools
This installs for you the right version of Expression Blend, .NET Framework, Visual Studio Express, and other components.

Overall, downloading and running the WPDT installer to install everything should take you less than 15 minutes.

Blendng it up....Windows Phone Style
Once everything has been installed, go to your Start menu and launch Expression Blend 4 Beta. After a few seconds, a welcome screen will appear:

[ the welcome screen provides easy access to common tasks ]

From this screen, select New Project. If you do not see this welcome screen, go to File | New Project instead.

Once you have selected New Project, the New Project dialog will appear where you can create, as you can guess, a new project. From the left column of this dialog, select Windows Phone, and from the right-column, select Windows Phone Application:

[ select Windows Phone Application ]

Feel free to change your project's name if you want, but if you don't care, simply hit OK to go ahead and create a new Windows Phone Application inside Expression Blend.

After a few brief seconds, you will see your artboard with a silhoutte of a generic Windows Phone device displayed:

[ the default Blend workspace for Phone Applications ]

Before wrapping things up, let's quickly take a look at how previewing your application works. With your new Windows Phone Application still active, press F5 or go Project | Run Project to preview your application.

Shortly after starting to run your project, a dialog will appear asking you whether you want to preview on the emulator or on the actual device itself:

[ you can preview either on the emulator or on the device ]

Select Windows Phone 7 Emulator and press OK. A few moments later, the Windows Phone 7 Emulator will appear with your application running inside it:

[ the actual emulator does a great job emulating the physical device ]

The emulator supports emulating (ha!) touch and other gestures that you may have thought you could only verify using an actual, physical device.

Well, that's all there is to getting up and running with designing applications that run on the Windows Phone. The main takeaway is that everything you already know about Expression Blend and Silverlight will seamlessly carry over to your phone applications. Features you've grown accustomed to such as animations, states, behaviors, sample data, etc. will all work exactly the same way they do in Silverlight and WPF.

Getting Help

If you have questions, need some assistance on this topic, or just want to chat - post in the comments below or drop by our friendly forums (where you have a lot more formatting options) and post your question. There are a lot of knowledgeable and witty people who would be happy to help you out


Did you enjoy reading this and found it useful? If so, please share it with your friends:

If you didn't like it, I always like to hear how I can do better next time. Please feel free to contact me directly via e-mail, facebook, or twitter.

Kirupa Chinnathambi
I like to talk a lot - A WHOLE LOT. When I'm not talking, I've been known to write the occasional English word. You can learn more about me by going here.

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