Learn to develop for Windows Phone 8 in one weekend with Channel 9

You can never have too many hobbies. You also shouldn’t be living life not accomplishing goals you’ve set for yourself in concrete or passing. Learning how to develop is rewarding in and of itself. But once you learn how to develop there isn’t much standing between you and apps you want to use that don’t exist yet. Odds are you’re reading this on a Windows Phone device, so why not combine all these little things and learn how to develop apps for Windows Phone 8? You can with this new beginners series on Channel 9.

Channel 9 is Microsoft’s community site for developers. On there you’ll find forums, videos and more to help bridge the gap between Microsoft and its development community. The video series they produce are excellent if you’re wanting to learn more. On there you’ll find past sessions from events like //BUILD/ and tools to get started – which is what we’re talking about today.

If you want to develop for Windows Phone 8 there’s a new series called Windows Phone 8 Development for Absolute Beginners. There was one for Windows Phone 7 on Channel 9, but this new series has been completely redone with new content to focus on the latest in Windows Phone.

Before we bake a cake, we need to make sure we have all the ingredients. In the case of app development, you’ll need some knowledge. Pre-requirements: You’ll need to be familiar with C# before you can completely jump into developing for Windows Phone 8. Not sure where to start for that? Channel 9 also has you covered with their C# Fundamentals video series.

Other than that, you’ll basically need to be on a machine that has Windows 8 installed. You’ll want the 64-bit version too since the Windows Phone Emulator runs on a virtual machine in Hyper-V. Having Windows 8 64-bit (either regular or Pro edition works) is what you’ll need to install the Windows Phone 8 SDK, the series will walk you through everything.

The video series on Channel 9 is presented was put together by Bob Tabor, Clint Rutkas, and Larry Lieberman. Although Bob will be doing most of the talking in the series. The series takes place over 35 parts and will take around 11 hours to complete. Which means you could power through in just one weekend.

While you’re learning about developing for Windows Phone 8 don’t forget to check out the DVLUP program from Nokia. You’ll earn points that you can apply for cool prices (Lumia 920 anyone?) just by doing certain things in development. Learn more about the program at http://www.dvlup.com/.

Ready, set, learn.

Source: Channel 9

Sam Sabri
  • For the record. Learning how to code/develop is one of those things on my list. I need to carve out time and just do it. 
  • Learning how to code is an incredible skill to have these days. If you are looking for a job, and a career that has a great pay-scale as you gain experience, then learn to write great code! Good software developers are in very high demand!!! And it's very cool to be able to say "I helped build this". Coding is equal parts engineering and art.
  • Completely agree. While I don't forsee myself coding as day-to-day job, I think it's an invaluable asset to bring to the table. Especially with the huge number of resources out there to teach yourself. Personally I'd mostly do it to learn a new hobby / make apps I want that don't exist yet. Or at least better understand all this stuff :)
  • We recently hired a woman who got her masters degree in English, but picked up web development on her own and decided to make that her career.  She impressed us with how much she learned on her own, from web programming to server and data stuff.
    Sure, she is pretty early in her career, but we liked her drive.  So far she is learning and pickup stuff up just fine.
    I think the key is to not get discouraged.  There will be lots of times where stuff just doesn't work like you expect, or you get stuck on a wierd bug.  Especially early on, alot of it can feel pretty intimidating.  You have to keep at it, and not be afraid to ask for help.  In fact, being able to work as part of a team is on of the most important things for someone looking to become a professional software engineer.
  • My story is similar to her's. I did web dev as a hobby since I was 10 but graduated in health sciences. I picked up jobs in web development faster than I could in health sciences, so I decided to make the switch in career. Now, I'm pursuing a masters in computer science and couldn't be happier that I did. Yay programming!!
  • 'Smokes. You are really cute.
  • This has been on mu list as well Sam. I finally took advantage of the $19 deal during build and began coding the first app they have on the website (training wheels if you will) and I can't stop thinking about it. I have some ideas in mind.
  • Good luck! Keep pressing and never give up. Like nearly any new skill it'll take time. You'll put in a lot of hours before it "clicks". After that the only thing stopping you from taking the world by storm is your imagination. The Windows Phone development community is always willing to help. So check our Forums, Twitter, and other places for support if you ever get stuck.
  • If you could find a community college that teaches basic programming courses, it helps a lot to get you through the basic logic, object-oriented topics and data structures!
  • This is great! Thanks. I started to learn how to dev for wp8 a couple weeks ago but found the coding on the tuts on the Ms site a bit tough. Will def check this out
  • Good luck! 
  • I will suggest that you start with a basic C# where you can learn about basic logic and code structure, then go online and to learn which you use for UI aspect of the app, then you can apply these skills for windows phone and windows. Learning about the API (.Net) is where you will spend of the time. It will get hard at first bit you will amazing things if you work hard. Your imagination will be your only limit and there is no limit to what you can imagine. Hit me up if you need any tips of learning.
  • Is there ANY program for learning to code from SCRATCH??  Most of these are for people who know how to code, but need to learn what's different for Windows Phone coding.  I'm at level zero...at best. :) EDIT: Upon further review, this might be what I'm looking for.  I'll have to delve deeper.  It could be that it is for C# "beginners" or programming "beginners"...I need the latter.  
  • Haha, I'm at same point than you! :D
  • Agree. Most of the books and tuts I've seen for c# assume a bit of knowledge in coding. While I have learned a bit of html and Java I'm still vey much a beginner
  • Right there too. Most I can do is PhotoShop some mock up screens for wp8 apps and they look really pretty but that's about it. Would love to be able to bring them to life. Still I'll take a look at this and see of I can hang.
  • I would recommend the book "Beginning C++ Through Game Programming" by Michael Dawson to understand basic ideas of coding. Its not C# but C++ is more universal therefore better imo. Just so you know, learning how to code well will be about a dedicated 7-month endeavour. Also know there is a difference between being a coder and a developer. Most people go to school to become a developer but doesnt mean you cant do it. I tell you this so you know what you are getting yourself into.
  • I Also like C++ without fear as it is designed for beginners into basic programming. I myself am starting to look at programming for the phone but starting with WP7
  • I learned C++ up through data structures and I had a tough time wrapping my head around higher-level object-oriented languages like Java and C# because C++ is so basic. For readers, C++ is a lower-level language in terms of object-orientation. Java and C# as your native language will make you a quicker object-oriented thinker. From my experience, it took me an optional semester of Java to be comfortable with writing code in that level of object-orientation.
  • For learning purposes, I recommend VB instead of C#. The syntax for VB is almost plain english, and you don't need to worry about semicolons at the end of every line.
  • I'm torn on recommending VB (Visual Basic).
    Yes, it's easier to "read".  But as you start to learn more about programming, some of the code starts to "read" a bit odd.
    Overall, I would recommend some sort of "Programming 101 with C#" book or tutorial.  C# (pronounced C-Sharp) is far more approachable then C++,and yet is incredibly powerful as you progress through your learning of it and the .NET framework. 
    Back in the day, C++ was where it was at, and it was my favorite programming language.  But now that I've spend the last number of years with C#, whenever I look at C++ code, it looks pretty archaic compared to how well designed C# is as a language.
  • I prefer C# myself.
    I cannot in good conscience recommend VB to anyone.  C# syntax is easier to read and is more formal.  Don't use VB.
  • Rubbish. VB and C# are basically same languages since both compiled to .Net IL (intermediate language). The difference is that productivity in VB (both ease and speed) is better. It's all down to personal preference and syntax familiarity. I would recommend VB over C# for starters. I do work with VB, C# and JAVA.
  • This is terrible advice. If you learn VB, you'll end up having to learn C# down the line. You'll also find that the majority of books, examples and help out there are written in C#. VB needs to curl up and die.
  • Agree, C# is actually simple and concise. See no reason for vb. Also, stay clear of C++, it is not a beginners language and there are more complicated concepts to master with it, plus the tooling around it is way inferior to C#.
  • Sorry, but this is not 100% true.
    My coding experience path is this:
    BASIC -> GWBasic -> QBasic -> VB1.0 -> VB2.0 -> VB3.0 -> VB4.0 -> VB6.0 -> VB.NET.
    I have never had the need of C++ and/or C# coding at all, and I have created at least 20 full featured applications (Desktop based and Web based as well) for 3 or 4 companies (including the one I work for).
    In case I find sample codes in C#, I just use a code translator to convert it to VB. No problems with that.
    Writing C# code is like speaking leaving incomplete words, and the listener must imagine what the hell are you trying to say.
    Compare this: Dim a As Integer = 0
    a = 1
    If a = 1 Then
    Interaction.MsgBox("Hello", MsgBoxStyle.OkOnly)
    End If
    To this: int a = 0;
    a = 1;
    if (a == 1) {
    } else {
    Interaction.MsgBox("Hello", MsgBoxStyle.OkOnly);

    The simple fact of using "{"  and "}" on every block of code and semicolons at the end of every line, is a pain in the neck.
    if C# = "future of coding" then msgbox("we're going backwards", msboxstyle.okonly)
  • I disagree with you completely. I've always found the language in Java, JavaScript, PHP, and c# easier to understand what is going on when I read it than I can with VB. No Curley brackets and semicolons is just anarchy...anarchy!
  • The issue is, if you know neither VB or C# and have to learn one, the C# example above looks like a half dozen other commonly-used languages whereas the VB example just looks wierd. 
  • Please ignore this advice. VB is a fudge and has largely fallen out of favour. Not least of all because some project types don't even support it.  It's also pretty difficult to read once things get complicated. Object orientation was completely fudged into it. It was not designed with object orientation in mind. It was basically a hangover from VB6.  If you program in a c like language you will be able to adapt to other languages. Basic is a dead end quirky mess and should be ignored. 
  • This video series is for beginners. Hence the "absolute beginners" part. Trust me you will be find with this. He explains a lot. So much I had to skip a lot of his WP7 one cos its way basic. But that's good :)
  • I've often thought about developing apps. I admit I'm one of those big complainers when it comes to apps so might be a good time for me to stop bitching and start helping. :P
  • Try codecademy.com
  • This is awesome, I was at work today thinking about creating an app to help me with my job. I am going to check this out for sure.
  • I’ve been working on an app for a while now. Once I learn how to take data from user input on a form and write it as records in a file it’s heading to the store!
  • Google. The first part is pretty basic and is covered in bobs WP7 series day 1. Saving to a file just google it. Google is how I learned JS and PHP.
  • why not Bing?!
  • Because Google is a better search engine.
  • So? I can find anything using Bing. So no need for Google. Bing it!
  • Force of habit I think. Haha
  • Nice article Sam, I know how to code, just not in C#. Have saved this for later.
  • Same for me. I have been coding in BASIC since 1992. Then I jumped to QBasic, and then to Visual Basic. I have tried to learn C++ (and all its variants) but my brain is completely unable to "compile" that syntax.
  • You can just start for WP codeing with visual basic, and the swap from VB to C# isn't that hard, its much nicer than C++, just Google for your visual basic function\syntax and add "in c#" ;)
  • I know VBA, what always got me was the fear of the syntax, nice hints all of you, I will definitely try it out. :)
  • You could try VB.NET to at least get into the .NET world, then try to convert it manually to C#. There's not a huge amount of difference really... There are heaps of online VB.NET to C# converters to help!
  • I would suggest reading "The Object-Oriented Thought Process" because it might not just be a problem with the syntax, but that paradigm shift of switching languages which can be a struggle. I came from a C++ background and was crippled working as a web developer in a C#/Java environment because I couldn't understand how to translate my C++ knowledge to high-level object-oriented code. Taking a Java course and reading this booked helped a lot!
  • This summer, I started with C# fundamentals (Tabor is the best!!) Started the WP8 jump start series, but it was too advanced for me. Last week Tabor releases this series and let me tell you, it is SOLID!! Already have one app in the app store! :)
  • What is that apps name? :)
  • Easy, That Was. I wasn't aiming to make "the world's best app" on my first try, but instead learn the basics and get familiar with the process of how to submit an app for certification. It's a Staples: That Was Easy button. :)
  • O.. M... G... I've been looking for a plain that was easy button, like no joke! Downloaded!
  • great! congrats.
  • Bob is awesome. His series on C# is great too.
  • This has answered all my prayers.  Perhaps now I have a reason to purchase the Windows Phone Developer title that just went on Sale!  My newest summer project, thanks so much guys!
  • Also check out thenewboston.org/tutorials.php its a good resource too
  • My son (13) is using his video tutorials to learn to write Windows 8 programs. He's almost done with his first one. I'll have to let home know about this as well.
  • That's a great resource. I'm currently going through the C# Fundimentals For Beginners series.
  • That's awesome
  • Seems like Microsoft is really reaching out to devs new and old alike. Trying to entice devs to come to the Windows platform. At least that's the impression I get from an observer point of view since I am not a dev per say but I have dabbled in the black arts shall we say. . Many years back (forgot more than I learned). Weather it's working, I don't see how it can't be helping some at least. I really feel this platform has a real chance this time around. That's a nice feeling to have.
  • The mandatory use of W8 on the PC to develop for WP8 kills it for me. I thought about it but I'm not replacing W7 with W8 until after 8.1 is out and I have a touchscreen monitor. So...I'll keep relying on others to do the Apps for me :P
  • Good, we've heard you. Keep waiting while others cash in on the app craze because you don't want to use what's essentially a better Windows 7. Please.
  • LOL And I don't give two shits about what you believe or don't.
  • Yeah I am going to run a virtual machine with W8 to practice with the dev kit. I feel you though I am not willing to switch to Windows 8 until 8.1 releases. Heard the multi monitor support wasn't all that great. 
  • Then get VS2010 and just do his WP7 course. They will still run on WP8. Complain less.
  • I agree to this. You should really use the offer now as it is really cheap. Plus, developing for WP7 only means you're reaching out for a bigger user base. Don't worry about new APIs in WP8 as most apps don't actually need them.
  • For other great coding demos, paid but worth it, check out pluralsight.com - Shayne
  • Thanks for sharing Shayne! Bookmarked.
  • I think I might just do that!.. I'm sure I can come up with something that's original...
  • Can I install all the things I need in Windows 7?
  • You can't install VisualStudio 2012 on win 7, but instead you can use VisualStudio 2010 :)
    Actually You can't develop WP8 Apps on it, just WP7, i think...
    You should think about updateing to Windows 8, just get a update licence from ebay for 30€ :)
  • Visual studio 2012 installs just fine on windows 7 so does the beta 2013.
    He is right about the windows 8 app limitations unfortunately.
  • You need W8 to code for WP8. Doesn't matter about the version of VS, it's the platform that's important. Main reason I've not done anything for WP8 yet, I've got VS2012 but I'm running on Windows 7...
  • On the page for VS2012 Express they day it requires Win8, thats strange 0_o
  • You should add that you can code on a x32 machine as well, as long as you have a Windows Phone for testing\debugging & also that Hyper-V is only available in Win 8 Pro, not on Home!
    And if you're goeing to use the emulator, consider updateing to Win 8.1, the emulator integrates much nicer now, especially if you are on WLan instead of an ethernet connection.
  • Most of us here have windows phones. No point using the emulator anyway. Its so slow (compared to just using the phone)
  • I use the emulator all the time, because transfering\updateing the XAP's is a lot faster than debugging on the device, also it has a better workflow, if you stick to the PC while programming, but thats just my opinion...
  • My experience is different. Takes my emulator 5 minutes to get started. Takes 10 seconds on my phone. :)
  • It takes 3 seconds on my emulator to uninstall, install and start the app. Just 1 second if you just update content and didn't recompile the whole project. And this isn't a small project, if i use a fresh project, time reduces ~50%
    Maybe because i'm running an SSD...
    But just a thought, you don't close the emulater after every debugging session, right? ;D
  • I want to develop but. I'm newbie ._. , and microsoft said i must pay 99 $ for one year? Not free trial 1 year or what? #sorryenglish
  • Its only $19 for the moment. That's why I finally decided to jump on it. Sucks they make you pay for 2 different dev accounts (win8 and WP). But for $19 couldn't complain.
  • I think you don't actually need a dev accout to start codeing, just if you want to register a dev device to debug on the phone itself, and of course to get yout apps in the store..
    But you should take benefit of the 19$ subscription atm.
  • oh there's no free account trial? but thanks for ypur information! :D #sorryenglish
  • I'm a pretty advanced js/html developer but I wanted to make WP apps so I jumped on the Windows phone 7 videos. Now these are out? Dammit. Haha. I just finished day 1 of the WP7 ones. Ah well. I'll finish the WP7 ones and figure the differences out later. :)
  • I fled from C++/Windows API development about 10 years ago. Coming now from C++/Qt development, how difficult will it be it to retrain to C#/.Net? Concerning structure and ease-of-use, is .Net closer to Qt or to the old Windows API?
  • Hmm it's fairly close to MFC structurally, if you ever used that... Syntax is basically the same as C++. The coding side shouldn't be too difficult once you get used to how everything hangs together
  • MFC is one of the things that made me appreciate and move to Qt, so I don't really know... but I'm sure Visual Studio has improved a lot, since those old days, in terms of assisting UI development. Software development is no longer part of my job, but I may give the videos a try in my spare time.
  • I did this guy's WP7 course and it was great, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to build some simple apps.
  • Cool! Do they have this learning stuff for Windows 8 too?
  • Yes they do!  http://channel9.msdn.com/Windows Check out the beginners series. Looks like they have C# and JavaScript as the beginners languages. Good luck.
  • Fantastic Sam, thank you! Now I only have to make time... That's the tricky part
  • There is a 'channel 9' app, for those who want to watch the videos on their phones.
  • And there is an update coming to the official Channel 9 app. Should be out later this month ;)
  • Anyone have list of all good starting points for WP or W development beginners? found the microsoft homepage a bit confusing.
    got vs2012 installed and ready:)
    just couldnt even get a hello world to show on my phone or pc
    edit: what is the advantage of my phone being a devloper phone?
  • You can install your own app (or other people's xap files) to do device testing. Really essential if you're a lens app or games that require accelerometer/gyroscope.
  • I followed Bob Tabor's (personal, I think) YouTube channel videos when he did a series on Windows Phone 7 app development. Managed to go from C# newbie to a confident Windows Phone developer in a few hours.
    Bob's videos are so easy to follow, and he does well to explain things in a real world context, such as refering a Class to a Car.
  • Hello guys! I want to start programming from 0 this summer. Could you please give me advices? What is the best programming language to start? How to start?
    I have googled for this, but I am sure you can give better advices!
  • It depends what you want to do. I started with web development (html and JavaScript). Most programming languages are very similar. Once you have the logic down its all about learning the slight nuances between them. If you want to dive straight into WP apps though c# is your best bet and Bobs WP7 videos are better than these for that because he takes it very slow, assuming you know nothing. I recommend starting there.
  • Visual Basic is a bit more easy to understand, and swapping to C# shouldn't be that hard, once you get the hang of it.. But if you don't mind a bit more learning stuff, you should start of with C# :)
  • Cool thanks going to check this out defiantly!
  • I encourage everyone who has a lot of free time to do this. I'm a student and I started WP7 dev last year learning from Bob's tutorials and now I'm on my 5th app. Sure you'll learn basic stuffs but once you understand how small things work, other more advanced features are easier to understand. And if you have questions, he'll answer in the comment sections.
  • I've actually started using this site to get me started on developing my first app. Signed up for my developer account today!!
  • Today only got my Lumia 820 unlocked through developer unlock for just 19 dollar. And channel 9 m loving all this.But I am a new bee to wp8 development. :( :(
  • I cant seem to find it on channel 9. can anyone help?
  • http://channel9.msdn.com/Series/Windows-Phone-8-Development-for-Absolute-Beginners
  • Completed this course: now in the process of building my first window phone 8 :D