This summer Microsoft launched a new proposal for smart phones the Windows Phone series 7 (WPT). In this article we will review some of the most important aspects of this platform.
• Metro Design. The WP7 user interface is based on a design named "Metro", and is inspired by the kind of icons and colors used on public transport. This seeks to achieve clean and clear user interfaces and make it easier for anyone using the phone to be able to understand the available options.
• Hubs. Windows Phone 7 introduces the concept called "hubs." Microsoft defines a hub as "An application that gives meaning to your information and applications." Instead of having separate applications scattered all over your phone, the hubs provide spaces that concentrate the related apps and information.
• Panorama Control and Pivot. The layout and navigation within the hubs is based on the Panorama and Pivot new controls. Basically consists of having a large background image that exceeds the size of the screen and along the image will put the different sections of the hub, so that when you navigate horizontally through the sections that are placed side by side. This provides a more magazine look than that of a phone style. See Figure 1.
Figure 1. Panorama Hub Example
Microsoft has set the minimum hardware requirements to be met by all devices using this platform. On this basis, developers can gauge the minimum capacity of the equipment where the applications are going to be run.
• Touch screen with at least 4 points of contact and resolution QVGA (800x480).
• Light sensors, proximity, accelerometer, assisted GPS and compass.
• GPU-accelerated DirectX 9.
• 256 MB of RAM and 8 GB flash memory.
To develop on the Windows platform Phone 7 series, we have two options of framework: Silverlight and XNA. The choice depends mainly on what you plan to create, Silverlight is typically a better option to create applications while XNA is aimed at the creation of 2D and 3D games.
Benefits of Silverlight:
• Framework based on XAML and event driven.
• Access to Windows Phone controls.
• HTML web browser.
• Audio and video.
Benefits of XNA:
• Framework-oriented games.
• Ability to create multi-screen in 2D or 3D.
• Asset management models such as graphics, sprites, textures, or land in the XNA Content Pipeline.
Despite the base in which one’s application is developed, it is possible to use most classes in a different one (XNA, Silverlight). Don’t forget to check the frameworks documentation for details.
Author: David Espino is a Computer Systems Engineer graduated from the Instituto Tecnológico de Durango. Currently working as a developer of Web applications using Microsoft technologies at Sieena.com