Simplifying the Windows Phone development experience! Codename: LionHeart

Each time you start a new project one of the first things most of us developers do is pull in code we want to reuse. If we don’t have any existing code then we try to figure out how to leverage concepts and theories from past experiences and platforms. The latter is exactly what we did during the development of my last project, a Windows Phone project. We have a ton of XAML and MVVM experience here at Interknowlogy, and a few of us had done small RECESS phone apps. None of us had done a full blown app from scratch on the phone before, but today I can say we did an awesome job! What I want to focus on are the lessons we learned from that project and how to apply them to future phone projects to help simplify the process. My coworker Tim Askins and I spent a few RECESS discussing what we could improve on and and what we thought went well. The result is what I call LionHeart.

Introduction to LionHeart

LionHeart is a demo phone app that I am working on that is applying the code lessons learned. These lessons include application lifecycle, navigation, tombstoning, MVVM on the phone, how to provide mock data vs. real data, styling, and many more. The project it self is a demo based on work my wife does as a Behavior Interventionist (BI) for children with autism. We got talking about what could potentially simplify her line of work as well as provide a compelling demo app for the phone. The resulting app will allow for BIs to create reports that are currently done on paper, then transferred to another paper and placed in a binder, then that binder is driven to the main office once a month, and then driven back to the client’s home where BIs go when then work with the children. Wow, that was a mouth full. The app will also allow BIs to view their schedule of sessions for the day/week/month/etc. from within the application. The schedule will also be integrated into the normal phone calendar from Windows Live as well. Individual client information will also be available including previous reports, charts showing progress, and whether there will be a supervisor attending the session as well. Sound like a full blown app? I’m really excited to bring this app to life. I just wish it wasn’t just a demo app.

Components of LionHeart

Let’s remind ourselves again that the reason we are am creating LionHeart is to help solidify patterns and practices on the phone that will help simplify and speed up the development process of future phone apps. Since there are so many components to LionHeart I wanted to give a brief overview of what I think some of those components will be over the next few weeks.

Framework Components

Application Components

  • HomeVM
  • Navigating to Pages with a Pivot Control and to a Specific PivotItem
  • Calendar Integration
  • Styling

With that said as I complete each post I’ll update the list with links.

Final Thoughts

When all is said and done these components should provide a solid foundation for developing on the Windows Phone platform. If you have any questions or thoughts about how to improve on our design please let me know. Happy Coding!