Windows Phone 7 Series Development – What Do You Want?

Since it’s announcement over a week ago the question on all our lips is “what’s the development story going to be?” Whilst there has been countless rumours regarding support for Silverlight (perhaps third time’s like for this can of worms….) and XNA it won’t be until MIX that we’re going get a good look at what Microsoft has in store for us mobile developers going forward.

In the meantime, I took a little bit of time out to think about the current generation of development tools. Now, I’m going to overlook the obvious failing around stylish controls for building Windows Mobile applications (which in my opinion is one of the fundamental reasons the iPhone is trumping Windows Mobile applications at the moment, after all it sure as hell isn’t the development language!). What I’m interested in is the development/debugging/testing/deployment story, so here’s a list of the tools/frameworks etc that we have at the moment. I’ll start this list but I suspect it may have to be continued as I remember things that I’ve omitted.


IDE – Visual Studio

– Support for Native, C# and VB.NET development
– Visual Designer for Forms and Controls, including designer skin
– Intellisense, Code completion
– Debuggin support
>> Breakpoints
>> Watches and variable inspection
>> Datatips
>> Step through/over

Managed Frameworks

– .NET Compact Framework
– Windows Mobile managed libraries
>> POOM (contacts, calendar, email, tasks)
>> Camera
>> Contact picker
>> State and Notification Broker
[missing APIs could be p/invoked to native APIs]
– Rich networking stack (sockets & httprequest)

Data Story

– SQL Server Compact
– Multiple Synchronization Frameworks (RDA, Merge Replication, Sync Services)
– Designer support for connecting to web services

Support Tools

– Device Emulator
>> Able to change configuration
>> Able to adjust system state
>> Able to connect to ActiveSync/WMDC to simulate docking real device
– Cellular Emulator
– Hopper 

3rd Party

Smart Devices Framework (OpenNETCF)

Mobile In The Hand

Mobile Client Software Factory

Orientation Aware Control



With this list in mind, what do you feel is missing? If your answer is nothing, then think harder – after all there must be a reason why Windows Mobile 6.x was failing to attract users and developers alike.

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