I can't wait to get my hands on a Windows Phone to do some real
development. If you've read Charlie Kindel's post, you know that the
developer story builds on .NET, Silverlight and XNA (among others).
It wasn't always that way, though.
A little History
When I picked up my first Windows CE device, a Sharp Mobilon
HC-4000, it was big (like a super fat checkbook), clunky and
monochrome. There was no phone support, and no persistent memory
(lost my whole checkbook when the AA batteries died). It cost me
$1000 at the time, brand new. A color version came out shortly
afterwards, but it ran around $1500 as I recall, so I passed.
It did get a lot of attention when I'd open it up at checkout to
enter the cost of the groceries I was buying. A little computer
like that running a version of Windows was still pretty novel back
There were two main form-factors at the time. The clamshell
Handheld PCs, and the keyboard-less PocketPC. The sharp fits into
the former category, devices like the iPaq - the latter.
When it came time to develop applications, you had VBScript,
C++, or some third-party dBase-like database applications. It
wouldn't be until a bit later when we'd get the .NET Compact
Framework that development actually became interesting to me.
Windows CE handheld PC/pocket PC computers eventually morphed
into the current generation of Windows Phone smart phones, but
without any real rethinking of the UI. It's interesting to consider
that we (the community) used to be pretty excited about devices
that were hand-held, but included no cellular radio.
Windows Phone Now
The new Windows Phone is the first in the series to have a UI
that has been completely rethought and optimized for the platform
and form factor. No mini-Windows with touch-unfriendly menus. No,
this is finger-friendly UX from the ground up.
I've invested a fair bit of time learning .NET over the years. I
started with the alphas and betas of .NET 1.0, and kept up with
each version since. I've also done some native code over the years,
but as my recent walkthrough shows, it has been a while.
I dabbled with XNA for a bit, primarily with Windows, but also just
messing around with my Zune.
Since 2006 or so, I've been operating almost exclusively in
Xaml-based technologies: WPF and Silverlight. Those are two
technologies I personally believe in, and believe are the future of
code-on-the-client for a large class of applications. I'm happy and
excited to see that the Windows Phone is going to allow me to
continue evolving with those technologies.
I love the idea of using my existing Silverlight / WPF skills to
be able to develop for what I bet will be a popular device. Once
the developer tools are broadly available, you can bet that I'll be
all over it. Silverlight/XNA in a handheld device? Oh yeah!
Oh, and don't even get me started on the courier. I want the super-secret door code to
get into that building on campus. As I've said before: It's an awesome time to be a developer :)
Some Windows Phone Links:
PS. Yes, I still have my mobilon. It's in my office here along
with some commodore computers and other old tech :)