If you’re just getting into programming and Windows Phone development, you should think of Rob Miles as your new best friend. He’s a lecturer at the computer science department at the University of Hull in the UK, a Microsoft C# MVP and the creator of a lot of instructional material on Windows, Windows Phone and XNA programming. I’ve listed his works that are especially suited to the developer who’s just getting started out with C# and phone development.
The Free Books: The Yellow Book and the Blue Book
If you’re new to computer programming or not familiar with the C# programming language, a good place to start is the 2010 edition Rob’s book, C# Programming, or as it’s called in .NET programming circles, “The C# Yellow Book”. This is the basis of Rob’s first year C# course at the University of Hull, and it’s available for download for free.
The book starts with “A First C# Program” and proceeds to cover various aspects of programming and C#, from the basics of variables and methods to object-oriented programming to threads and threading. You can start this book as a complete programming newbie and end ready to code Windows Phone apps.
If you’re comfortable with C# (perhaps you’ve finished the Yellow Book) or new to Silverlight, XNA and Windows Phone development, you’ll want to get Windows Phone Development in C#, a.k.a. “The Blue Book”. This book covers development for Windows Phone with both Silverlight and XNA, consuming data services, how to make a “proper” application and making the most of Windows Marketplace.
As with the Yellow Book above, the Blue book is available for download for free.
- C# Yellow Book, 2010 Edition [2.8 MB PDF]
- Windows Phone Blue Book [4 MB PDF]
- Windows Phone Blue Book demo code [6.3 MB zip file]
The Commercial Book: Microsoft XNA Game Studio 4.0: Learn Programming Now!
I’ll leave it to Rob himself to describe his book published by Microsoft Press, Learn Programming Now! Microsoft XNA Game Studio 4.0 – this is taken from the “Who This Book is For” section of the book’s introduction:
If you have always fancied writing software but have no idea how to start, then this book is for you. If you have ever played a computer game and thought, “I wonder how they do that?” or, better yet, “I want to make something like that,” then this book will get you started with some very silly games that you and all your friends can have a go at playing and modifying.
If you’re new to programming or perhaps have only a little programming under your belt and want to write games for the Phone as well as Windows and Xbox 360, this book will help get you started (and keep you motivated, since games are generally more fun to create).
- Microsoft XNA Game Studio 4.0: Learn Programming Now! at the publisher (O’Reilly) – you can order it in either ebook or print form
- Microsoft XNA Game Studio 4.0: Learn Programming Now! at Chapters/Indigo Online
The Videos: Windows Phone Jump Start
Rob’s going to be the king of all Windows Phone developer media soon: in addition to writing some great books, he’s also put together a series of 19 – count ’em – video tutorial sessions that go deeper into the subject of Windows Phone development. If you’re comfortable with the material in his Blue and Yellow books (or once you’ve become comfortable with them), these videos are a natural next step. Rob and co-host Andy Wigley will lead you through all sorts of topics in a way that only two crazy-smart Brits can.
Their video tutorials are listed below. You can watch them online (Silverlight required, and if you’re getting into WP7 dev, you really should have it), or you can download the videos for offline view in a number of formats:
- Building a Silverlight Application, Part 1
- Building a Silverlight Application, Part 2
- The Application Bar
- Building XNA Games for the Windows Phone 7 Platform, Part 1
- Building XNA Games for the Windows Phone 7 Platform, Part 2
- Isolation Storage
- The Application Lifecycle
- Launchers and Choosers
- Push Notifications
- Marketing your Windows Phone Applications
- Working with Media
- Panorama and Pivots
- XNA Deep Dive, Part 1
- XNA Deep Dive, Part 2
- Location and Bing Maps
- Optimizing for Performance
- Designing Apps Using Expression Blend & Metro
- Ask the Experts podcast
They’ve made all their demo code available as well, so you can try out what they do in their videos for yourself.