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Getting Started with Windows Phone 8 Development

  • November 19, 2012
  • By Vipul Patel
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Introduction

In this article, we will walk through getting the necessary tools to begin development of applications for the Windows Phone 8.0 platform. The Windows Phone 8.0 SDK enables developers to build applications targeting the Windows Phone 8.0 platform.

Pre-requisites

To begin development for Windows Phone 8.0, the following prerequisites are needed.

a. Windows 8 64 bit (Pro recommended) – A 64 bit flavor of Windows 8 is needed. The Windows Phone SDK will not install on 32 bit Windows. Also, the Pro version of Windows 8 is recommended, since it supports Hyper-V, which is the technology now used for supporting emulators.

b. Visual Studio 2012 – A Visual Studio 2012 installation is needed to build Windows Phone 8 applications. Download free Visual Studio 2012 90-day trial.

Hardware requirements for Windows Phone 8.0 SDK are

  • 4 GB of free hard disk space
  • 4 GB RAM
  • 64-bit (x64) CPU

Moreover, Windows Phone emulator requires a processor, which supports Second Level Address Translator (SLAT) to work. If your computer does not meet these emulator requirements, the Windows Phone 8 emulator will not function and you will not be able to deploy or test applications using the Emulator. In that case, you will be limited to testing to a real Windows Phone 8 device.

Installing Windows Phone 8 SDK

The Windows Phone SDK is available to download from http://solutions.developer.com/ms/mobile/marketing/windows-phone-sdk-interstitial.html

Windows Phone SDK
Windows Phone SDK

Click on the Download button under SDK 8.0 or click http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=265772.

The download page also provides a link to an ISO file.

For our walkthrough, I have downloaded the ISO file, which is available at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=257234&clcid=0x409.

Double-click on WPExpress_full.exe to launch the installer.

Click to agree to the License Agreement. And click Install to start the installation.

Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Install
Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Install

Next, agree to the LUA prompt.

The installer will begin installing.

Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Installing
Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Installing

It will take a few minutes to complete the first phase of installation.

Once the first phase of installation is complete, you will be greeted with a dialog that indicates that a restart is needed to continue. At this point, you will notice that if you have a Windows 8 Pro Operating system, the restart dialog will indicate that Hyper-V was turned on as an Operating System feature.

Required Restart - Notice that Hyper-V is turned on
Required Restart - Notice that Hyper-V is turned on

After restart, the installation will automatically continue .

Windows Phone SDK 8.0 - Setup Successful
Windows Phone SDK 8.0 - Setup Successful

Debugging Installation Errors

In some cases, you will see a dialog like the one below.

Hardware Error
Hardware Error

If you get an error message like the one above, you might have virtualization disabled in BIOS.

If you do not have hardware virtualization, you can still develop Windows Phone 8 applications, however, you cannot leverage the Windows Phone emulator to test and debug your application. Instead, you will have to use a real device.

After the installation has completed successfully, you can launch Visual Studio 2012 and create a new Windows Phone project and start developing.

Tools in the Windows Phone SDK

To jumpstart Windows Phone application development, a bunch of tools are included as part of the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 install. These tools cover designing, development, debugging, testing and deployment of Windows Phone applications.

Design Tools

Blend for Visual Studio can be used to design the UI for a Windows Phone application. All Windows Phone projects can be opened in Blend.

Development

If you do not have Visual Studio, the SDK will install Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone, which includes Windows Phone project templates, designing and code editing support.

Isolated Storage Explorer allows developers to look at files and directories that your application uses on the Windows Phone file systems (which is actually isolated storage).

Debugging Tools

Windows Phone Emulator is available on PCs that meet the hardware requirements (which we discussed earlier). The Emulator can be used to debug the applications without needing a real Windows Phone device. Also, it supports many variations, which makes it a no-brainer for pro-developers.

Testing Tools

Windows Phone 8 introduces support for the simulation dashboard, which can be used to simulate real-world conditions like intermittent network connectivity issues, restoring an app that has been put into background, etc.

Windows Phone Application Analysis is a profiling tool, which can be used to evaluate and improve a Windows Phone application.

Windows Phone Store test kit can be used to run a suite of tests on your application before you submit them to the store.

Deployment Tools

The Windows Phone Developer Registration tool can be used to register your phone so that you can deploy your application for real-world testing on a device. Once you register your device, you can use the Application Deployment Tool to deploy your application to the device.

Summary

In this article, we learned how to get the tools needed to start developing applications for the Windows Phone 8.0 platform. We also learned about the tools that are available for Windows Phone 8 developers.

About the author

Vipul Patel is a Program Manager currently working at Amazon Corporation. He has formerly worked at Microsoft in the Lync team and in the .NET team (in the Base Class libraries and the Debugging and Profiling team). He can be reached at vipul_d_patel@hotmail.com


Tags: mobile apps, Windows Phone 8, Windows Phone 8 SDK




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