Category Archives: Windows Phone

The 12 Apps of Christmas

imageYou know that I’m a Windows Phone/Windows 8/Azure evangelist for Microsoft Ireland. As part of that, I sometimes get to do fun things like run some fun Christmas promotions. This month we’re running a simple promotion called the 12 Apps of Christmas. Here’s the deal… Build an Windows 8 app get a phone.


Very simple offer, we have 12 Windows Phone Nokia Lumia 710s to reward those developers that have been very good.


To qualify you need to publish a Windows 8 Store app between December 7th and December 31st and email with a link to your app and your name, address and phone number for delivery. If we have any in stock still, we’ll send one out tout suite… 🙂


Rules in brief:

1. You need to be an app developer with an Irish  or Northern Irish developer account. This, unfortunately, doesn’t include Microsoft employees.

2. You app needs to be live in the Windows 8 app store before December 31st.


Rules in not so brief (the lawyers heard I might be having too much fun and got involved…):

1. Instructions on how to enter form part of the conditions of entry. By participating entrants agree to be bound by these conditions.

2. The promoter is Microsoft Ireland Limited, of Microsoft Ireland Building 3, Carmenhall Road, Sandyford Industrial Estate, Dublin 18, Ireland.

3. Qualifying apps must be published to the Windows Store (previously called the Windows 8 app store) between December 7th 2012 and 12 midnight GMT December 31st, 2012.

4. Publish 1 new apps to receive a Nokia Lumia 710 (subject to availability)

5. Nokia Lumia 710 phones will be distributed first whilst stocks. Once all phones have been awarded the promotion will cease.

6. The sooner you publish your new apps the sooner you’ll receive your Windows Phone (subject to availability).

7. Apps must be new and published to the public marketplace and excludes updates to existing apps.

8. App must meet the Windows App submission guidelines. There will also be a subjective criteria applied to exclude apps of very low quality that offer no value to Windows 8 users.

9. In exceptional circumstances apps that are not deemed of sufficient uniqueness or quality may be excluded. This decision is solely Microsoft’s to make

10. This offer is only open to developers based in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland who submit apps to an Irish or Northern Irish registered Windows Phone Marketplace account.

11. This offer is limited to the first 12 developers and is limited to 1 phone per developer.

12. There are a number of promotions in progress with Nokia and Microsoft in Ireland and the UK; the apps submitted for this challenge must differ from those submitted elsewhere. i.e. no double counting.

13. The promoter reserves the right to verify the validity of entries and to disqualify any entrant who the promoter believes either has tampered with the entry process or has submitted an entry that is not in accordance with these conditions of entry.

14. The prizes are not exchangeable, transferable or redeemable for cash.

15. The Prize does not include:

a. Any standard or other call or data costs billed by a mobile operator/service provider.

b. Any associated costs billed by a mobile operator/service provider.

16. Successful entrants will be notified via email.

17. The phone winner is liable for all taxes and benefit in kind that may be incurred as a result of the phone.

18. Subject to any applicable law which cannot be excluded, the promoter and its related bodies corporate shall not be liable for any loss, damage or injury suffered or sustained (including but not limited to direct or consequential loss or loss arising from negligence) arising directly or indirectly out of or in connection with the promotion or any prize.

19. Before the prize is awarded, the winner will be required to sign a form to release the promoter from and indemnify the promoter against, any and all liability arising from the use or participation in the prize.

20. Any costs associated with entering the challenge are the responsibility of the entrant.

21. The promoter’s (Microsoft) decision is final.

22. The promoter assumes no responsibility for, and the entrant releases the promoter from responsibility for, any failure to receive an entry or for inaccurate information or for any loss, claim, damage or injury to person or property (including computer systems and servers) as a result of the entrant’s participation in this promotion or the conduct of the promotion generally or as a direct or indirect result of an entrant’s error, any technical problem of any kind including communications or network failure, unauthorized access to, transferring or theft of data, whether caused by the entrant or associated with the equipment or programming used in the conduct of this promotion. If, because of any such problem, this promotion is not able to be conducted as planned and/or the promotion’s administration, security, fairness or integrity are compromised or affected, the promoter may cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the promotion and/or disqualify any entrant involved in interfering or tampering with the conduct of this promotion in any way.

Some cool Windows Phone Controls

imageThere are a lot of very cool metro design controls that are out there that can a lot of the work and though process off of your plate if you just know where to look. For example, I just ran across this set of controls from the Coding4Fun guys that includes a duration picker, a number of different message boxes and notifications, several different colour pickers, helper classes for converting from Boolean to Visibility and the like and a whole lot more.

They’ve even done the hard work of optimizing for GPU acceleration and the like.

It’s released under the MS-PL which gives you a lot of flexibility to do what you need with it.

Check it out at – Coding4Fun Tools…

Using Windows Azure Storage from the Windows Phone

If you haven’t found Cloud Cover, it’s a great series on Channel9 that covers a lot of great Azure topics. What I particularly like is that it’s shows a lot of very practical knowledge things and doesn’t assume a tremendous amount of knowledge.

I found this one particularly useful with the amount of mobile development that I’ve been doing recently.

Join Wade and Steve each week as they cover the Windows Azure Platform. You can follow and interact with the show at @CloudCoverShow.

In this episode, Wade walks through the NuGet packages for Windows Azure storage and Windows Phone, highlighting how easy it is to interact with blobs, tables, and queues, both directly against storage and securely through proxy services.

Windows Phone Camp Online

The Denmark guys had a full two day conference staffed by corp speakers that they recorded and put on Channel 9. There’s a ton of great content here that you can check out.

Dev01 - Windows Phone 7.5 Overview for Developers

Dev01 – Windows Phone 7.5 Overview for Developers

Windows Phone 7.5 Overview for Developers

by Ben Riga


Dev02 - Building Windows Phone 7.5 Applications with Visual Studio 2010

Dev02 – Building Windows Phone 7.5 Applications with Visual Studio 2010

Building Windows Phone 7.5 Applications with Visual Studio 2010

by Ben Riga

Dev03 - Building Windows Phone 7.5 Apps with Silverlight

Dev03 – Building Windows Phone 7.5 Apps with Silverlight

Building Windows Phone 7.5 Apps with Silverlight

by Ben Riga


Dev04 - Windows Phone 7.5 Fast Application Switching, Tombstoning and Multitasking

Dev04 – Windows Phone 7.5 Fast Application Switching, Tombstoning and Multitasking

Windows Phone 7.5 Fast Application Switching, Tombstoning and Multitasking

by Ben Riga

Dev05 - Live Tiles and Push Notifications

Dev05 – Live Tiles and Push Notifications

Live Tiles and Push Notifications

by Ben Riga



Dev06 - Building Games for Windows Phone 7.5 with Farseer Physics Engine

Dev06 – Building Games for Windows Phone 7.5 with Farseer Physics Engine

Building Games for Windows Phone 7.5 with Farseer Physics Engineby Ian Qvist, project manager of Farseer Physics EngineGet the slides and demo code from Ian’s blog here: Get more samples and the framework at…

Dev07 - Monetizing a Windows Phone 7.5 Application

Dev07 – Monetizing a Windows Phone 7.5 Application

Monetizing a Windows Phone 7.5 Application

by Ben Riga


UX01 - METRO | the foundation

UX01 – METRO | the foundation

METRO | the foundationby Arturo Toledounderstanding Metrolayout, typography and motionembracing the phone experienceNote!The screen capture video feed got interrupted and therefore we only have the "in person" video available for this recording.We apologize for the inconvenience!

UX02 - Think | sketch, wireframe, prototype

UX02 – Think | sketch, wireframe, prototype

Think | sketch, wireframe, prototypeby Arturo Toledo,creative brainstormingsketching and wireframing techniquesexploring potential with prototypes Note!The screen capture video feed got interrupted and therefore we only have the "in person" video available for this recording.We…

UX03 - Design | Visual, interaction, motion

UX03 – Design | Visual, interaction, motion

Design | Visual, interaction, motion

by Arturo Toledo, visual language and inspiration application patterns, controls and interaction design adding motion to reinforce function

UX04 - Refine | best practices

UX04 – Refine | best practices


Refine | best practicesby Jared Potter,application design best practicesenhancing percevied performanceleveraging Windows Phone goodness (Tiles, Maps…)


UX05 - build | make it XAML

UX05 – build | make it XAML


build | make it XAMLby Jared Potter,importing assets into Expression Blendlayout, text and animationUI controls, data binding and code


There’s a ton of great content there – enjoy!!!

Windows Phone Camp (Dublin)

In conjunction with the Dublin ALT.NET, we are going to hold a a Windows Phone Camp in Dublin on Feb 11, 2012.

Do you have an idea for a great mobile app that you’d like to build on Windows Phone?
Do you have a mobile app on anther platform and want to expand your platforms?
Are you lacking ideas but still want some experience on Windows Phone?
Are you a developer who’s excited about the coming Nokia Lumia soon announcement on the Vodafone site in Ireland (

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above questions, this camp is for you.

We will have some lectures and some getting started advice going on but the goal is to give you as much time to sling code as possible with experts on hand to help you through issues.

The scheduled lectures are going to be:

9:00 – Welcome to the Windows Phone Camp and introductions
9:15 – Getting started with Windows Phone
        – Introduction to Metro Design
        – Monitizing your app…
10:15 – 4:00 – Coding and ad hoc lectures based on specific questions from the attendees
4:00 – 4:30 – How to submit to the marketplace
5:00 – 5:30 – Conclusion and show and tell

We will have a lunch (probably pizza or something) and drinks after.

Interested? Register at Windows Phone Camp in Dublin!


Getting Started with Windows Phone

prod_nokia710colors_page[1]There’s a lot going on with Windows Phone development these days and the great news is that you’re not out in the cold on your own here. There are a ton of of great Windows Phone resources that will give you thoughts, ideas, code, sample images and much much more. This blog post is going to be a growing repository of resources that I have that are available to Windows Phone developers specifically in Ireland but many of these resources are available to anyone.


Windows Phone Ireland LinkedIn Group – this is the best way to stay informed about all of the events and promotions in Ireland!!! For example, we’ve got a number of testing sessions coming up as well as tons of training events.
Windows Phone Developer Users Group in Ireland – coming soon…

Windows Phone

Consumer site

Windows Phone YouTube Channel (Watch Social, App and Web videos)

WP Central – Independent Source on everything Windows Phone


Believe it or not, the tools are free.

Windows Phone Tools

Now, there are more complete versions of the tools (that do more than just phone stuff but everything that you need is free).

If you are in BizSpark or have MSDN – you get these more complete versions of the tools for free already as well. If you are a startup, sign up for BizSpark at

If you are a web consultant in a shop that’s less than 10 people, you can get these tools for free as well through WebsiteSpark at

Twitter Accounts you should follow

Windows Phone
Windows Phone Design Team
Arturo Toledo – UX Designer Developer Experience
Corrina Black – Windows Phone Design Lead for Developer Experience
Josh Holmes – yes, shameless plug
Jeff Blankenburg – Developer Evangelist in the US
Susan Todd – Design Research Developer Experience
Windows Phone Design Twitter List
Mike Kruseniski


Jeff Blankenburg has a fantastic couple of series on Windows Phone development.

31 Days of Windows Phone
31 Days of Mango

Design Resources

Windows Phone UX Guide MSDN

Design Templates for Windows Phone 7

Windows Phone Grid 

Silverlight Windows Phone 7.1 (Mango) Toolkit

Microsoft Design .toolbox Tutorials

Microsoft Design .toolbox Courses

Windows Phone Geek – UX Resources

Jeff Wilcox’s “Metro” design guide for developers, v1.00


Full Day Event Windows Phone Design Sessions

BUILD 2011

Windows Phone User Experience Design


All Thumbs: Redesigning an Existing UI to Suit Windows Phone 7

Analyzing and Improving Windows Phone Application Performance

Application Design for Windows Phone

Windows Phone UI and Design Language (MIX10)

Design Talks

Mike Kruzeniski: Personal, Relevant. Connected: Designing Integrated Mobile Experiences for Apps and Web

How was CocktailFlow Designed? Creating a Beautiful Windows Phone 7 Application

Albert Shum Talking about Windows Phone

ReMIX South 2011 Keynote with Albert Shum and Arturo Toledo

Channel 9

Silverlight TV 81: Four Great Windows Phone UX Tips

Silverlight TV 69: UX and Perceived Performance of WP7 Apps

Silverlight TV 83: Using Wireframes to Visually Communicate a Windows Phone Experience

Silverlight TV 75: Quick and Dirty UX Testing (Design Tips Mini Series)

Silverlight TV 78: Designing Tiles and Splash Screens for Windows Phone (Design Tips Mini Series)

Inside Windows Phone #24 – User Experience for Windows Phone Apps

Windows Phone Design Studios Tour Decks

Windows Phone Design Deck
Metro Design Deck
Refine Design Deck
Think Design Deck

Meet the Windows Phone Design Studios team

Two quick updates – first, this is happening on 9 Nov, 2011. Second, we’re holding this at:
The Venue, the Hub
DCUCollins Avenue

We are privileged to have two of the folks from the Windows Phone Design Studios coming to Ireland to present on how to design for Metro with Windows Phone.

There are two parts to the day – the lecture portion and the hands on labs portion. Please register for the section(s) that you are able to come to…

Registration at

Still working out the location but we’ll let you know shortly…

Welcome to the day 9:00 – 9:15
metro | the foundation

Understanding Metro

layout, typography and motion

embrazing the phone experience

9:15 – 10:00
think | sketch, wireframe, prototype

creative brainstorming

sketching and wireframing techniques

10:15 – 11:00
design | visual, interaction, motion

visual language and inspiration

application patterns, controls and interaction design

10:15 – 11:00
lunch 12:00 – 13:00
refine | best practices

application design best practices

enhancing percieved performance

leveraging Windows Phone goodness (Tiles, Maps…)

13:00 – 13:45
build | make it XAML

importing assets into Expression Blend

layout, text and animation

UI controls, data binding and code

14:00 – 14:45
workshop | hands on 15:00 – 17:00



Corrina Black is a Sr. User Experience Design Lead in the Windows Phone Design Studio. She leads the developer engagement efforts, and as part of the Studio leadership, she defines strategic programs to help developers around the world build high quality applications for the phone that leverage best practices in user experience and design. Corrina has been a product designer at Microsoft for more than 10 years and has contributed to the definition of the developer experience for platforms including Silverlight, Windows Phone, Windows 8, and XBOX. Corrina studied computer science at the University of Washington, and enjoys running and sports of all kinds, art, science, travel, photography, and fashion.


Arturo Toledo is a Sr. User Experience Designer in the Windows Phone Design Studio in Redmond. Arturo acts as a liaison between the magic that occurs every day inside of Studio H in Redmond and the awesomeness of Windows Phone developers around the world. Arturo has been a Product Manager for Microsoft Expression, Silverlight and Sr. UX Designer crafting exploratory and production quality experiences for multiple platforms like the web, phone, Windows 8, Kinect and XBOX. Arturo studied architecture at La Salle University in Mexico City, did additional media and visualization studies at the University of Arizona. Post graduation, Arturofounded Milton Frank Studio, a boutique interactive development studio.

Registration at

Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7

WinPhoneAzureThe Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 is a starter kit that was recently released out to CodePlex. Wade Wegner, one of my former team mates when both of us were in Central Region, is the master mind behind this fantastic starter. 

This starter kit is designed to make it easier for you to build mobile applications that leverage cloud services running in Windows Azure.


In the screencast, you’ll get a great little walkthrough of the starter kit and how to get your first Windows Phone 7 application with a Windows Azure backend up and running. The toolkit includes a bunch of stuff including Visual Studio project templates that will create the Windows Phone 7 and Windows Azure projects, class libraries optimized for use on the phone, sample applications and documentation.

Why Windows Azure

Windows Azure is Microsoft’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) offering that allows you to build and scale your application in the cloud so that you don’t have to build out your local infrastructure. If you are selling an application in the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace and really don’t know how many customers you’ll end up with, you might need to scale the backend dramatically to meet the demand. 


What you’ll need

Hopefully obviously you’ll need an Azure account and the tools to build and deploy the solution. The tools include one of the versions of Visual Studio (either Express which is free or higher), the Windows Azure Toolkit and then obviously the starter kit itself. I also recommend looking at Expression Blend for doing your Windows Phone 7 design and the like.

Good Luck!

By looking through the resources on the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7 site, you’ll see lots of great little tutorials and getting started guides.

Let me know how you’re getting on with the toolkit and what you’ve done with it. I’d like to see and possibly blog about it all…