We finally got the word yesterday that our application, Rock Solid (previously CitySourced), is now approved and available for download from the Windows Phone Marketplace. With all of our experience in mobile development, I must say (and of course I am biased), that developing for WP7 was an absolute dream. We’re a .NET shop so we’re very familiar with the Visual Studio IDE, the best IDE on the market currently hands down in my opinion. We could get into an argument over this – what about Eclipse or XCode or this or that? They all completely blow when compared to Visual Studio. Microsoft has really outdone themselves with VS2010. Anyway, I digress.
After downloading the required plugins for VS2010 to develop WP7 applications (I’ll make a separate blog post on my personal blog about that), we were off and running. We already had all the back end services created and working since we’re on the other platforms, so all we needed to worry about was the client end. WP7 applications are based on Silverlight and XAML, and while this is not my forte, I had taken a WPF & Silverlight bootcamp up at Microsoft in Redmond a few years ago.
All in all, it took us about 4 weeks to get our application wired up and working. Granted, there was no back end work to be done, but 4 weeks is pretty incredible (and I wasn’t working on it full time – probably 75% of my time). I brought in some outside help with James Richards, a really talented developer that has been working with us on many of the Esri components. We had about a week to clean up some final bugs, and we’ve finally passed the approval process. The approval process was great too. Our application just so happened to fail twice (I admit, I didn’t read the entire submission guide…), but the great thing about Microsoft’s approval process is that they give you a detailed report as to why the application failed and the steps to reproduce it! Having only dealt with Apple until now, all I have to say to that is “Wow”. Apple could definitely learn a thing or two from Microsoft when it comes to the app approval process.
So if you’re a mobile developer, and you’re wondering if you should take the dive into the world of WP7, our recommendation would be to go for it. From a developer standpoint, it was a great experience. And if you’re a .NET/C# developer, you’ll be cursing Apple and Objective-C and wondering why it wasn’t this easy to begin with. Microsoft definitely got a win on this one.