Creating an app for Android, iOS, or Windows means learning two things: a programming language and the SDK. Even if you use one of the cross-platform frameworks, you’ll still need to learn some peculiarities of each system. It requires a significant investment in time and talents—and you’ll have to repeat it to create the same app for a different phone.
We’ve built the same app for all three mobile platforms (actually four; Windows Store and Windows Phone are separate), using the same assets and creating the same functionality for each. We enlisted three top-notch authors to show you how they would implement the application on each platform. Our authors shared outlines and met regularly to coordinate their efforts, only making changes when the particular language or SDK demanded it.
To use this set of courses most effectively, start with the platform you know best and review how that author chose to implement the app for your favored SDK and language. Then choose your next device and watch the related course. Feel free to switch back and forth between the two, comparing the platform you know to the platform you’re learning.
Our authors provide you with insights to each platform, pointing out differences that may trip you up if you’re making assumptions based on a different SDK. In the end, you should be able to map your experience from one device to another.
Please be sure to fill out the survey at the end of each course. We’ll read your comments to see how we’re doing and how we can improve.
If you’re a developer who’s interested in working with Microsoft operating systems such as Windows 7, Windows Phone, or the upcoming Windows 8, you might wonder why this course might be important. After all, Silverlight, like Adobe’s Flash Player, is a web browser plug-in. You should be interested because many mobile devices, such as the iPhone or iPad, can’t display content built for these technologies, and Microsoft has made it clear that Silverlight apps won’t be able to run across all modes of Internet Explorer when Windows 8 is delivered.
Fortunately, the skills you have acquired to build Silverlight applications are directly transferable to some new and important application platforms. Silverlight applications are created with a combination of XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language) and your choice of either C#, or Visual Basic. (In his Silverlight 5 Essential Training course, Walt Ritscher focuses exclusively on C#, since it’s the more popular of the two languages.) Wondering how it all ties together? The same languages—XAML, C#, and Visual Basic—are all at the core of Microsoft’s developer platforms of the future: Windows Phone and Windows 8.
Consider the following XAML code snippet that declares a page control in a Silverlight application:
The code in bold font defines the layout and presentation of a single line of text: “Hello World.” Now here’s a page control for a Windows 8 Metro app; notice that the bolded code looks almost exactly the same:
These component definitions are all built with XAML, and use pretty much the same syntax to display text on the screen. They have different root elements: UserControl for Silverlight, Page for Windows 8, and PhoneApplicationPage for Windows Phone. But they all support the same basic set of visual controls such as Grid and TextBlock, and they all use “code-behind” architecture to bind logic written in C# or Visual Basic to visual presentation defined in XAML.
The bottom line is, you can’t just move an existing Silverlight or Windows Phone application to Windows 8 and expect it to work. The underlying technologies are different, and there are differences between the application programming interfaces (APIs) for the different operating systems. You’ll have to “port your application,” a process that involves creating new code files and copying selected portions of code to the new version of the application. You’ll probably also have to re-imagine the user interface for the new target OS, since applications written for a browser have different layout guidelines from those on a phone or tablet, or those designed to run full-screen in high resolution as they might on a Windows 8 desktop. If you already know how to use XAML and other .NET programming languages, learning how to build Windows 8 apps will be much faster and easier.
In this video from chapter three of the Silverlight 5 course, Walt explores the programming side of Silverlight 5 and discusses the relationship between XAML and .NET:
Microsoft has put a lot of effort into making development skills and programming languages transferable across their multiple operating systems and application platforms; these efforts make it easier to learn, and easier to build applications for, their current and future technologies.
Our authors have been busy as usual! Check out the latest news on conferences, speaking events, webinars, and blogs from a few of our fine lynda.com authors:
Author Walt Ritscher is going to have a busy month. In April, he is speaking at three different Microsoft Silverlight conferences. Check him out at one near you:
April 17-18, 2010: Seattle Code Camp v5.0—Two full days of talking about code with fellow developers. Sessions will range from informal “chalk talks” to presentations. There will be a mix of presenters, some experienced folks, for some it may be their first opportunity to speak in public. We are expecting to see people from throughout the Pacific Northwest region and beyond.
April 27-29th: Devscovery Conference in New York, NY—Devscovery is a three-day multi-track indepth technical conference produced by Wintellect. In 2010, Devscovery will provide 33 technical sessions to cater to the intermediate to advanced developer.
Join authors Laurie Burruss (lynda.com Senior Director of Education) and Simon Allardice for MoblEd10 in Pasadena, CA April 19- 20. Explore how mobile technologies are impacting the ways we learn, work, and play anytime, anywhere, and everywhere. Register today.