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Build Your Own App on WP7!

written by: •edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/30/2011

Getting started with mobile app development can be tough for a newcomer, but thanks to Microsoft the job is made a little easier with their free TouchStudio tool. With this guide you can learn how to make a Windows Phone 7 app with TouchStudio.

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    Get Coding on Your Windows Phone

    Get Coding on Your Windows Phone Getting started with Windows Phone 7 development is a slightly intimidating, but ultimately rewarding, task thanks to the complete SDK (software developer’s kit) provided by Microsoft.

    Thanks to this kit, various new apps have been developed and launched on the Marketplace, and it can also be used as a framework for existing apps from other platforms to be ported across.

    However, getting to grips with an SDK if you have no previous experience of coding or development can be difficult without lots of time and dedication to apply to studying what is what. Luckily, however, there are other ways to make a Windows Phone 7 app.

    Using the free TouchStudio app from Microsoft Research, you can develop your own apps using a great calculator-like user interface.

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    Tools on Offer in TouchStudio

    Tools on Offer in TouchStudio for Windows Phone After installing TouchStudio from the Windows Phone Marketplace you should be ready to get started with the wise selection of tools that you can use to create your own mini apps.

    On the initial screen, there are various tiles labelled "Start here" and these can be used to find out more about TouchStudio. The first thing you should do is watch the About TouchStudio video, which lasts around 15 minutes and is accessible from the second tile. However, if you're more interested in finding out about the tools that you can use in the app, swipe left to see what is available.

    Various cool scripts are available here, from a song search and auto-play tool to a script that launches the device camera for you to take a snap and upload it directly to Facebook. In addition to these scripts, you can edit and create your own, using a simple menu-based input method to add and edit statements.

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    Building an App

    Building an app with TouchStudio requires some patience; clearly your Windows Phone isn't an SDK running on a full PC with a mouse and keyboard, so you will need to use the tools provided.

    Building an App with TouchStudio on Windows Phone Adding a new script doesn't simply require you to start typing away with your Windows Phone keyboard, however. Happily, the developers of this app have made it possible to quickly output common scripting elements such as variables, for... do... loops and many more useful shortcuts all gathered in a calculator-style keygrid.

    Here's a basic sample script that you could create:

    action find short songs() : Nothing

    foreach song

    in media>>songs do

    if song>>duration < 180 then

    song>>post to wall

    What this script does is find all songs stored on your Windows Phone that are under 3 minutes (180 seconds) and then plays them back! More complex scripts can be developed, but this is a great starting point.

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    Take Inspiration from the Sample Scripts

    Along with the scripting tools, there are countless scripts in TouchStudio that you can use to create labor-saving shortcuts and apps, as well as games, and these can be found in various shapes and forms that fully illustrate how easy they are to use. Best of all, when your own scripts are complete they can be saved to your Windows Phone 7 Start screen as tiles.

    While this software doesn't give you the full control you might dream of, or the opportunity to sell your wares on the Marketplace, it does offer a great starting point to understanding and developing scripts for WP7.

    With a few hours practice you should understand how to make Windows Phone 7 apps with TouchStudio!

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    • Author's own experience.
    • Image credit: Windows Phone Marketplace.