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What is phone development? (overview)

Phone development is a term for the process of writing applications for smartphones. Phones run an operating system as a platform to provide services to applications. As a result, phone development is similar to desktop development - with caveats. Phones do not have the memory or performance of their desktop counterparts. To simplify development, many developers initially run, debug, and test their applications in a software version of the phone - also known as an emulator. This enables the creation of your application in a standard, familiar environment, and can be deployed onto a phone when ready to use.


Watch this video about the Windows Phone 7 offerings, and then prepare your environment by installing the tools you'll use to build your first phone application.

play video

Video | 9 minutes | Phone Development | April 2010

Now that you know what phone development is, watch this next video to learn about the tools and technologies for phone development, including two key programming models for building phone applications: XNA Framework and Silverlight.

2get the tools 
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  1. Install the tools
    Clicking this button installs:
    • Visual Studio 2010 Express
    • XNA Game Studio 4.0
    • Windows Phone Emulator
    • Microsoft Expression Blend for Windows Phone
    • Platforms: Silverlight, .NET Framework 4.0
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  1. Install the Windows Phone Developer Tools January Update.
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  1. Install the Windows Phone Developer Tools fix.

For help picking the right version of Visual Studio, review the Visual Studio 2010 comparison chart.
For more information about team development, read about Application Lifecycle Management.

3start coding 

Use the walkthroughs in this section to learn about how to develop for applications for Windows Phone 7.

Follow walkthrough

Walkthrough | Silverlight | March 2011

The best way to get started programming with the phone is to build a simple application. In this sample, you’ll learn how to use the phone emulator and walk through creating your first simple phone application.

Next: Continue Learning with the Windows Phone QuickStarts

Follow walkthrough

Walkthrough | Silverlight | March 2011

Typically, you use Silverlight to create Windows Phone applications and XNA Framework to create Windows Phone games. XAML is the declarative language used to create phone application user interface (UI), such as controls, shapes, text, and other content that is presented on the screen. In this sample, you’ll walk through creating a UI for your phone application.

Next: Get Started on the Windows Phone App Hub

Follow walkthrough

Walkthrough | Silverlight

Learn about portrait and landscape screen orientations in this sample. Create an application that reacts to the orientation of the phone and draws the screen differently based on that orientation.

Next: Learn about Developer Resources on the App Hub

Follow walkthrough

Walkthrough | XNA | January 2011

Download this sample code of an application that uses the XNA Framework to detect a collision between two flying boxes.

Next: Learn more about Game Development at the App Hub

Developer Topics

Building a Windows Phone 7 Application from Start to Finish
Learn the fundamentals of building a Windows Phone 7 application. Start with an idea, build an app, and publish it on the Marketplace.

Windows Phone codenamed "Mango" Training Course
Try these scenario-based hands-on labs and videos that demonstrate Mango's new capabilities.

Windows Phone Development QuickStarts
Walk through samples designed to get you quickly creating Windows Phone Applications.

Windows Phone 7 Development for Absolute Beginners
This series assumes you have absolutely no knowledge of C#, Silverlight, or mobile development. In just a few hours, you will understand the needed concepts to build applications.

Windows Phone 7 Training Course
Find more free step-by-step explanations of the tools to use and some key concepts for programming for Windows Phone.


Free ebook: Programming Windows Phone 7
Download this free ebook and sample code to learn about writing applications for Windows Phone 7 with the Silverlight and XNA 2D frameworks.
XNA Game Studio 4.0 Programming: Developing for Windows Phone and Xbox LIVE
Get started fast with XNA Game Studio 4.0–and build great games for both Windows Phone 7 and Xbox LIVE.