Friday, October 22, 2010

PhoneGap at LDNUG

On Wednesday I gave my first talk at the London .Net User Group.
I gave a brief introduction to PhoneGap and briefly showed how to use it to create an app for Windows Phone 7.

The main place to go for all things PhoneGap is but if you're after the Windows Phone 7 version this is currently at (Please note that the WP7 version on GitHub doesn't work with the RTM tools. I hope to upload the fix for that tonight. Lots more excciting functionality will be coming shortly too.)

View more presentations from Matt Lacey.

Friday, October 15, 2010

[WP7Dev] Attention to detail is VITAL!

Take a look at this screenshot of some of the apps already in the marketplace, as shown in the Zune desktop client.

Notice how some of the images look very odd. They look very much like they've been created as white images with a transparent background on the intention/assumption that they will always be displayed on a black background. Yes, that assumption was wrong.

Remember, Windows Phone 7 is a platform where quality is essential. How you do something is more important than what you do.

The marketplace is like your store front and the icon is like your packaging. Would you think twice about something with poorly printed packaging? Would it make you question the attention to detail paid in the rest of the production process? And, would you even reconsider buying from a store where products were poorly packaged?

Please don't make this same mistake with your apps.

Bad apps don't just hurt the developers, they hurt all developers as they hurt the platform. If it was up to me apps with images like that shown above would have failed the submission process.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

WP7Dev at VBUG London

Yesterday I gave an introduction to developing for Windows Phone 7 at VBUG in London.
A great bunch of people were there and they asked a lot of good questions and seemed excited about the platform and the opportunities it affords. Respect also goes to the people who travelled down from Stafford for the event.

As lots of people asked for them, my slides are below and (most of) the sample code can be downloaded here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Windows Phone 7 - How? Not what?

This afternoon (in the UK & jointly in the US at the same time) there is a press conference where Windows Phone 7 will be launched. (We assume.) Unfortunately, I won't be there.

While, I won't be there today, I was able to spend some time with Oded Ran (UK Head of Marketing for Windows Phone) the other week. While I didn't learn anything I hadn't heard before (because I already know loads - not because there wasn't anything interesting said) I did get to see a few more apps that will be available on launch.

The really interesting point that was raised though was that it's about how the phone does what it does and not about what it does.

This is an important distinction and one that has been seemingly overlooked in terms of a lot of what has so far been communicated to developers.

Lots has been said about a lack of third party background processes and cut and paste support (amongst other things). These things matter in small part to most and for those who they really matter to they will be available in time. Having these things is unlikley to be a deciding factor to a lot of people though. It's going to take something special to differentiate these phones such that people will want to buy them.

Let's talk about who those people are for a minute. Not everyone is going to buy a Windows Phone 7 device. That's Ok. Not everybody is the same. Not everyone wants, needs or can afford a smartphone.

So let's consider the people who want and can afford a "smartphone". As far as I'm concerned, in the UK smartphones mean iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, Blackberry, some Nokias & Palm (but nobody has one.)
Guess what? there's room for all of them. Despite what some people seem to think there won't be a single/company/platform which ends up being the only one.

Currently (before the WP7 launch/release) smartphones differentiate themselves on apps and features. Windows Phone 7 is different. It differentaites itself on execution and integration.

What does this mean?
It means it's not going to try and differentiate itself based on what you can do with the device. Afterall you can get a phone which will let you access Facebook for just a few pounds. What WP7 does is offer an amazing, integrated experience with Facebook that is a pleasure to use.
It doesn't stop there though:

The mail application is the best I've seen on any device.

Integrated XBox Live gaming is incredible.

The "authentically digital" interface is fast, responsive and beautiful.

It's simple to use and navigate around the different applications.

And it even makes and receives phone calls!

No, it doesn't do everything - yet. But what it does do it does with a level of style, polish and finish that people will love. Personally, I can't wait to get my hands on a final device.

I'm happy that I'm not going to convince you with words that you should consider Windows Phone when you're looking to get a new smartphone. What I will say is that I'm not aware of anyone who has tried using one and not found it great. Borrow one, or try one out in store (when available) and see what you think. Put any perceptions you have based on Microsoft's previous mobile offerings and prepare to be impressed!

Ok, rant over, lets see what the launch brings....

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Saturday, October 09, 2010