Windows Phone 7 vs iPhone Development

Gravity Jack In the Press

We recently developed a mobile application for Windows Mobile 7 and are pushing it to the store today. We will announce that app as soon as it is approved. 🙂 We thought we would share some of the gotcha’s and compliments of working with WoMo7 in its first iteration. A special thanks to Microsoft for giving us early access to the hardware!
If I were to sum up the Windows phone in one sentence, it would be that it has potential but is currently immature.
On the downside there are some notable absences in the API such as  database support (really Microsoft, no relational database?), multi-tasking, copy & paste, etc.  Several of the Silverlight controls seem to be paired down versions of the ‘real’ controls. This is frustrating when looking for an event or method that’s just not supported on the phone. Also, since the phone is so new there’s not a lot of online/forum help if you get stuck and a lot of the regular Silverlight content doesn’t apply (see previous sentence). The emulator can feel a bit unfinished at times.
Microsoft manages to get a lot of things right, or at least better than Apple. Let’s start with Visual Studio and Silverlight. Visual Studio vs. xCode? No contest. I think if you could write iApps in VS, no one would ever run xCode again. We can move on to C# and XAML. One word. Brilliant.  Using XAML to define the UI and being able to bind to your data is pretty smooth. Although we did miss creating all the IBOutlets and IBActions.
To compare with iOS developement once more, not having to deal with with keychains, certificates, and provisioning profiles that expire is refreshing. Microsoft has made the whole process of developing the app, putting it on your phone, and submission process much more user-friendly than it’s iCompetitor.
It should be mentioned however, that getting a dev phone for testing was like pulling teeth from a rabid grizzly but as I mentioned they did come through. And on a purely personal note, I HATE the back button. I disagree with a mandatory button that affects the flow of my app, but that’s a discussion for another time.
So we are not ready to trade in our beloved iPhones yet, but hopefully the Windows Phone 7 will mature quickly to be a smart-phone contender.
-Jack

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