Tad Anderson

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Related Topics: Mobile Enterprise Application Platforms, Microsoft Developer

Book Review

Book Review: 101 Windows Phone 7 Apps, Volume I: Developing Apps 1-50

This book will definitely become a classic

I was planning on waiting until Mango was released before I downloaded the Microsoft phone tools. Two things changed my mind, Mix 2011 and this book. When I saw this book coming out I pre-ordered it immediately.

The author calls his book "unconventional". The question I had was will this be unconventional in a good way, or a bad way. I am happy to report the book is unconventionally awesome!!!!

The book is broken down into 8 parts. 1- Getting Started, 2- Transforms & Animations, 3- Storing & Retrieving Local Data, 4- Pivot, Panorama, Charts, & Graphs, 5- Audio & Video, 6- Microphone, 7- Touch & Multi-Touch, 8- Accelerometer Tricks, and then 5 handy appendices that include a XAML Reference, Theme Resources Reference, Animation Easing Reference, and a Geometry Reference.

The book is designed to be read from front to back. The author builds on topics as he goes, but it also makes a great reference.

Each chapter is an application that teaches a topic. For example Chapter 1: Tally covers Application basics, Chapter 2: Flashlight covers Application Bar, Timers, Brushes, and Message Box, Chapter 3: In Case of Emergency covers Orientation, Keyboard, and Emulator-Specific Code, and Chapter 4: Stopwatch covers the Grid, StackPanel, User Controls, Alignment, and Progress Bar.

Appendix A, the Lessons index is arranged by topic and points to the chapters that cover it. For example Background Worker is listed as being covered in chapters 11, 24, and 25.  Throughout the book there are also sidebars that answer FAQs, dig deeper, offer tips, and give warnings.  There is no filler/fluff in this book which is not true of many books these days, especially 1130 page books!!!

Each chapter cover and lists the XAML and the code behind.  That makes it possible to read the book without having to have a computer with the code nearby.

I still don't have a windows phone (I am typing this review in OneNote for the iPhone). The author points out the trouble this may cause when developing. Not being able to test on a real phone could really come back to bit you if you deployed to the Windows Phone Marketplace. Although he points out where to get one for development purposes (without a voice or data plan) they are $500.00. That is not going to fly. The same phones are $0.01 with a voice and data plan. I wish Microsoft would buy up a bunch of refurbished ones and resell them at a reasonable price.

I will be buying a Microsoft Touch Mouse as soon as they become available to help with programming for gestures.

The downloadable code is sweet. It contains some copies of applications the author has published to Windows Phone Marketplace. There is a fully functioning application for each chapter.

The book is in full color so it is a pleasure to read. The author has a great writing style. I haven't put the book down since it arrived. The one problem you will have is that a lot of the applications are simply fun to play, so you may find yourself getting side tracked. I have been bugging my dog with the talking parrot sounds and been playing darts a lot. This is by far the most fun I have had reading a book in a long time!!!!

With Mango just around the corner, now is the time to get up to speed on Windows Phone. This book makes it a pleasure to learn the platform.

All in all, if you are interested in Windows Phone development at all, this book is a must have!!!!  It will definitely become a classic.  This is one of the best programming books I own, and I own a lot of them.

More Stories By Tad Anderson

Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.