Windows Phone 7 Unleashed – Post Event Update

Saturday, September 11, 8am to 8pm. All day baby!

What a great event. I’m not really sure where to start, so I’ll just start rambling from the beginning and see where it takes us.

First, the setup. Microsoft was kind enough to supply the learning materials. Let’s face it, WinPhone7 isn’t released yet, and there are very few experts around the globe. I definitely don’t include myself in that list, and I think the other speakers (Joe and Chris) would also mark themselves as beginners. The famous Daniel Egan (Microsoft) gave us a bunch of material, and pre-event guidance. Without this guidance, I have a strong feeling that the event would have turned out much much different. So thank you Daniel, I’ll speak for all three of us, THANK YOU!

Next was food – nice and simple we catered from Ray’s Deli for convenience. I mean, you’re at a desk fro 12 hours, you need food and beverage. It was great having Rays right next door.

Facility: You can’t do this event on the street. GangPlank is a co-working space, that I’m at 4,5,or 6 days a week. Thank you @GangPlank for the amazing workspace. If you’re ever in Chandler, Arizona, you’re doing yourself a disservice by not checking the place out.

Ok, ok, enough of the logistics, what about the event?

We structured the event in 2 halves. First half was Lecture. Lab. Lecture. Lab. Lecture. Lab. (yes, 3 Lecture. Lab. back to back). This gave everyone a chance to get into the tools, start snooping around the Tools IDE, emulator, etc. We covered some basics of the application, the emulator, the application bar, the hardware foundation, web services, push notifications, and a bunch of other stuff. To make it as easy as possible, three of us speakers volunteered to do one Lecture. Lab. each.

I really think that having 3 speakers was a triple win/win/win. Attendees don’t get tired of the same person all day. Each of us have our own (weird) personalities, and I think the variety of speakers really contributed to the success of the day.

Here are a few take-a-ways that came up during the day.

  • Zune software isn’t compatible – but is easy to migrate and redeploy for WinPhone Marketplace. If you wrote / published Zune software, you’ll have to port (which I’m told is VERY simple) that software to WP7, and release is in the new WP7 marketplace.
  • The hardware foundation is great for future proofing API’s and applications. Everyone was really happy about this. Included in the audience were several developers for Droid mobile, and they were all complaining of the scattered hardware. While it’s nice to have hardware innovation and competition, but supporting all of them individually is painful for  the developer. Having a min spec to count on is a nice win.
  • Hard or impossible to change image source. Maybe this was something simple (leave comments) if we missed it, but we couldn’t figure out any way to change the source to an <image /> in code. We resorted to multiple images, that toggled visibility. here is a tiny tiny example.

    In XAML <Image Source=”~images/home.jpg” Name=”HomeImage” />

    and in C#.  HomeImage.Source takes an instance of ImageSource – but a new ImageSource doesn’t have a URL.

    Like I said, maybe we’ll be embarrassed by the simplicity of what we missed here, but we missed it, or it’s can’t be done (easily).

  • Hard / Impossible to consume JSON from web services. The phone has a DataContractJsonSerializer (or something like that) that can easily deserialize Json, but you have to have mimicked classes already defined. And then, if the JSON service changes, the code would break. Everyone online says to use on Codeplex. We were looking for a native solution. Silverlight 3 and 4, have System.JSon.dll – but that isn’t available to the Phone (Yet??)

We had several people that were volunteer floaters – wandering around from team to team, offering help. And we had 7 teams (some solo, some couples, and several 3 and 4 person teams) submit and present the applications. Then we gave everyone a 3×5 card and asked them to write their winning nomination. 1st place was Hang Man Classic, with a landslide of over 1/2 the votes. Second and Third was a close finish.

All the applications were great, and everyone in attendance left happy. What a great event, I can’t wait to do it again. The format was perfect. Even with the long day, it just flew by because we were all having so much fun.

And at the end of  the event, I was so amazed and impressed by what happened in 3 hours. Total success.

Here is a list of the final applications that were submitted. Each team jumped on the projector, and showed their application in the emulator. This was MUCH better than propping each application to the physical device, because no one could see it. (Side note, no one propped their app to the device – it was just nice to have in hand to get some “touch” time).

1st Place ($500): Hang Man Classic

The class guess a word game – complete with hand drawn scribbled graphics. The audience loved it. It was fun and interactive as we all tried to guess the two words. The first word “pickle” was inspired by a lunch time condiment. The second word was LYNX, which we didn’t get, and hung ourselves.

Winning Game in action …

2010-09-11_19-16-13 IMG_0028-400Width2010-09-11_19-16-56 IMG_0029-400Width2010-09-11_19-17-18 IMG_0031-400Width

Losing game …

2010-09-11_19-17-50 IMG_0033-400Width2010-09-11_19-17-53 IMG_0034-400Width2010-09-11_19-18-23 IMG_0035-400Width


2nd Place ($200): Games Inventory

The idea here is simple. You have a lot of XBOX games. So many that you can’t keep track. Now you’re at a garage sale you stopped by on your way home. Oh wait! What games do you have already? Maybe you want two copies. You know, one for your upstairs collection. Here are the screen shots. I’m not sure what web service they used, but some services that let’s you search games, and get complete details, including Game Box art.

2010-09-11_19-12-16 IMG_0019-400Width2010-09-11_19-12-23 IMG_0020-400Width2010-09-11_19-13-16 IMG_0023-400Width

2010-09-11_19-13-39 IMG_0024-400Width2010-09-11_19-14-31 IMG_0026-400Width2010-09-11_19-14-34 IMG_0027-400Width

3rd Place ($100): Read-It-Later

The popular app let’s you add a bookmarklet to your favorite web browser, and and “save something for later”. It’s really a simple online bookmarking site, that has some goodies that make the copy on your target site, easier to read. I think it strips out graphics / ads / and most CSS, so just the copy is left to read.  So the “Read It Later” team said, it would be nice to see those “read later” links from your mobile. Using Instapaper API’s they logged in, and pulled a feed, bound that feed to a simple list, and clicked the item, to open the URL in the Windows Phone 7 IE Instance. This made for a great demo also, since it was using the API – they polled the audience for a URL, and added that “read it later” link. Then on the phone, refreshed, and it showed up. Simple but very useful!

2010-09-11_19-06-06 IMG_0010-400Width2010-09-11_19-07-01 IMG_0011-400Width2010-09-11_19-07-11 IMG_0012-400Width

2010-09-11_19-07-35 IMG_0013-400Width2010-09-11_19-07-43 IMG_0014-400Width2010-09-11_19-07-56 IMG_0016-400Width



As the name implies.

2010-09-11_19-02-19 IMG_0008-400Width2010-09-11_19-02-51 IMG_0009-400Width

Mobile EZ Tax

Submit your 1040 EZ Tax form online. This is a simple questionnaire that walks you through several screens (not all pictured), and at the end let’s you pay by CC to submit your taxes electronically.

2010-09-11_19-21-16 IMG_0041-400Width2010-09-11_19-22-24 IMG_0044-400Width2010-09-11_19-22-34 IMG_0045-400Width

BitLinks Expand / Collapse is a very popular URL shortening service for social network users. The idea here is … you shortened something a few hours / days / weeks / months ago, and you want to remember that link. Maybe even send it to someone else? This app uses the BitLy API’s to show you all your past links, along with the details around that shortened link. This app used the most of the graphics, with the custom Live Tile, and the styled application bar. Great Job on these graphics.

2010-09-11_19-26-22 DSC00338-400Width2010-09-11_19-27-13 DSC00343-400Width2010-09-11_19-27-22 DSC00344-400Width

2010-09-11_19-27-27 DSC00345-400Width2010-09-11_19-27-36 DSC00346-400Width2010-09-11_19-26-29 DSC00339-400Width

2010-09-11_19-26-39 DSC00340-400Width2010-09-11_19-26-44 DSC00341-400Width2010-09-11_19-26-52 DSC00342-400Width

TanGram Game (Chinese Puzzle Game)

You know this game by it’s visual, not by it’s name. You start (in image 3 below) with a bunch of random shapes, and your goal is to make a perfect square (as in image 1). The UI supported (live on stage, only have 3 hours) drag and drop of the pieces, and rotation (with the two top buttons).

2010-09-11_19-29-00 DSC00347-400Width2010-09-11_19-29-13 DSC00348-400Width2010-09-11_19-29-20 DSC00349-400Width

2010-09-11_19-29-34 DSC00350-400Width2010-09-11_19-29-41 DSC00351-400Width2010-09-11_19-29-52 DSC00352-400Width

2010-09-11_19-30-08 DSC00353-400Width2010-09-11_19-31-19 DSC00355-400Width