Introduction to windows phone 8 app development




Microsoft announced windows phone on June 20,2012(codename Apollo), it was preceded by Windows Phone 7.5 and succeeded by Windows phone 8.1 in April,2014. WP8 replaces its CE-bases architecture with one based on Windows NT Kernel , and shares many components with windows 8, hence establishing a better ecosystem .

Windows phone 8/8.1 supports backward compatibility, hence all the apps developed on windows 7 are compactable with windows 8/8.1 but reverse compatibility is not true.

Another feature I liked about windows Phone 8 was NFC (that can be used to share content and perform payments)and integration of NFC with websites such as Groupon,etc commonly known as Wallet hub.

Since then a series of updates have been used to update the device in a better way. Update 1,was the first among them which included enhances messaging better Bluetooth connectivity, better connectivity with WiFi. Update 2 was rolled out in july 2013 and supported features like FM radio ,  bug fixes for Xbox Music, and HTML 5 updates for Internet Explorer Mobile.CardDAV support was also added, allowing Windows Phone users to connect to services such as Google Calender after Google dropped Microsoft Exchange support in 2012.


Now before starting to develop windows phone 8.1 apps it is important to check that do you have all the required resources for building apps .All you need are the following:
1. Windows 8/8.1 pro or higher
2.64 bit processor having at least 4GB Ram
3. Visual Studio 2012 for Windows Phone 8 or Visual Studio 2013
4. Install the latest SDK
5. Install the latest update 2 for accessing Windows 8.1 tools on Visual studio 2013

Knowledge required

1. Xaml plays an important role in designing of WP8 apps,if you have worked on Windows Silverlight, then Xaml will be a piece of cake for you, however if you have some knowledge of Javascript, HTML,and CSS, you can create WP8 apps.

2. C# is the language which is used for coding purpose for creating WP8 apps.


Firstly, we need to install the correct operation system .If you have Windows 8 Pro 64-bit edition, you are on the right track. In order to check on which operating system you are working on perform the following steps:
STEP 1: Open control panel
STEP 2: choose System and Security
Step 2: Check the system type
You would need Windows 8 pro 64 bit which you can purchase from the official windows site. If you are working on a 32 bit processor, you can upgrade your OS to a 64 bit processor from the windows site.

Link for windows 8 pro 64 bit


Second requirement you will need is to download the visual studio 2013 for windows 8/8.1. Now in order to use the 8.1 tools along with it, you need to install the update 2 for visual studio. It will give you access to enable universal apps, transparent tiles and many new cool features.




Third requirement is optional. It requires you to install the windows phone SDK but if you have a windows phone device, you are good to go. If you don’t have a device but want to develop using an emulator, download the SDK along with visual studio 2013.While using it you will eventually have the following message:

hyper-v error

In order to enable the hyper v on your device perform the following steps:
STEP1: Ensure that in your BIOS settings the virtualization support is turned on.
STEP2: Save the BIOS settings and boot the system normally.
STEP3: Now in the search charm type “turn features on and off” and select and enable Hyper-V
STEP4: Reboot the system again.

The last requirement is that you system should support at least 4GB system RAM at minimum. This enables smooth functioning of the emulator and prevents lags
These are the requirements that will enable you to build cool apps for windows phone 8/8.1.

Common question asked:

Q:Why do I need a 64 bit version of windows 8 pro ?

Well in order for your Windows phone emulator to work, you need to enable the “Hyper-v” settings on your computer. Your normal home edition does not support hyper-v settings so you have to have atleast Windows 8 pro edition .If you have a windows phone device then you do not require windows 8 pro, simple home edition will also work, as you can directly emulate the code on the device .A 64 it processor supports SLAT(second level address translation),which enables the windows phone emulator to work on you device.

Q:I already have a Windows home edition and do not want to delete the OS in order to install Windows pro edition, but still want to develop the apps, what should I do?

Well the best solution is to use a virtual machine like VMWare that basically enables you to use other windows on you existing windows. Beware that this option causes lags if you are using low RAM devices.

Q:I don’t have 4 GB Ram , how do I develop apps for windows phone?

Well in that case run your windows 7 emulator instead of windows 8 . This would not support those features which were added on windows 8 SDK but will run windows 7 emulator for developing your windows phone apps.

This concludes my post here, in my next post, there will be discussion about the IDE and SDK used and also some introduction to xaml will be given in the next post

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