Microsoft Visual Studio

Denver Visual Studio User Group   www.DenverVisualStudio.net
"mobile first, cloud first" - "any developer, any app, any platform"

 

 
 
 Review Details

Denver VS UG - Home    

     Also see Reviews and How To Review.
   
 
Windows Phone 8 Unleashed (Sams)
Author(s): Daniel Vaughan
Published: 2013, Edition: 1st, Pages: 1200, part of the Unleashed series,
ISBN-10: 0-672-33689-8, ISBN-13: 978-0-672-33689-8
Publisher (more . . .):  Sams, Pearson Education, Informit

 

   
 
 Review
 

 

 Five out of Five Stars
  Reviewed: July, 2013
  Reviewer: Ron H. Ikeda
 
       Windows Phone 8 Unleashed is the definitive guide to Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 platform for intermediate to advanced developers. Written by Microsoft MVP and leading Windows Phone and WPF innovator Daniel Vaughan (based in Zurich, Switzerland), this full-color guide covers everything developers need to rapidly build highly competitive Windows Phone 8 mobile apps. Having spent some time in Switzerland, I have developed a deep admiration for the Swiss and their methodical approach to technical concepts. Although the author Daniel Vaughan was from Australia and the U.K., he has mastered the Swiss techniques of precision along with exceptional organizational skills. One has only to visit Switzerland once to realize precision in action with the buses and trains always “on time. “ Another remarkable observation is the Swiss speak many different languages and in order to communicate effectively, they must be very organized in their thought process.

     Daniel Vaughan is cofounder of Outcoder, a Swiss software and consulting company dedicated to creating best-of-breed connected user experiences and leading-edge back-end solutions, using the Microsoft stack of technologies—in particular WPF, Windows 8, WinRT, Silverlight, and Windows Phone. Daniel is a Microsoft MVP for Client Application Development, with commercial experience across a wide range of industries, including finance, e-commerce, and multimedia. Daniel is a Silverlight and WPF Insider, a member of the elite WPF Disciples group, a three-time CodeProject MVP, and is a member of the Microsoft Developer Guidance Advisory Council. He is a technical advisory board member of PebbleAge, a Swiss finance company specializing in business process management. He also is the creator of a number of open source projects, including Calcium and Clog. Daniel blogs at http://danielvaughan.org, where he publishes articles and software proto- types. You also can catch Daniel on Twitter at @dbvaughan. Daniel Vaughan will be well known to anyone in the international Windows Phone developer community. He is a Microsoft MVP and a member of the elite WPF Disciples group as well as a Member of the Microsoft Developer Guidance Council. He is also well-known on LinkedIn because, along with his wife Katka, he runs the Windows Phone Experts Group. (http://linkd.in/jnFoqE ).Daniel has a degree in Computer Science from UNE, where he received various awards, including twice the annual School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science Prize, and the Thomas Arnold Burr Memorial Prize in Mathematics.

Scope of This Book

     This book targets Windows Phone 8 and was published in May 2013 by Sams Publishing. Although you see some examples incorporating XNA for audio and media, this book’s focus is squarely on XAML for Windows Phone. The book covers all main areas of the topic in a deep, yet easily comprehensible way, using practical examples with a real-world context. The goal is to provide you with concepts and techniques that will help you to design and develop well-engineered and robust Windows Phone apps.

     Throughout this book you see a small number of techniques and custom code applied to make developing phone apps easier. It is not the intention to make what you will learn in the book harder to reach; on the contrary, the techniques are tried and tested approaches that, when they become familiar, will help you build more testable and maintainable apps that can be potentially ported to other platforms. The competition between apps on the Windows Phone platform has intensified as the number of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace has increased dramatically. This competition not only brings with it a “long tail,” where independent developers find evermore niche categories to create apps for, but also requires apps competing in the more popular categories to increase their feature sets. As apps become more complex, maintainability comes to the fore, and greater attention to managing complexity is required.

     This book is not a book for those without at least some knowledge of XAML. Although there is considerable reference material for some essential XAML infrastructure, included within these chapters are advanced topics, such as the Model-View-ViewModel design pattern (MVVM). In fact, most sample apps follow the MVVM pattern. The concepts and techniques used throughout the book are described in Chapter 2, “Fundamental Concepts in Windows Phone Development.” Do not worry if some of these approaches seem foreign to you; by the end of the book they will be second nature.

     Due to the extensive time needed to review each of the 100 apps and the code (with over 1,100 pages in this book), this report, therefore, does not dwell upon the sample code aspects, but rather describes how to utilize the features the author has setup. Wherever possible, you are provided with tips and techniques that go beyond the topic, and you will frequently find content not easily found elsewhere. A substantial amount of custom code is provided that extends the Windows Phone SDK to support real app that can be potentially ported to other platforms. The competition between apps on the Windows Phone platform has intensified as the number of apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace has increased dramatically. This competition not only brings with it a “long tail,” where independent developers find evermore niche categories to create apps for, but also requires apps competing in the more popular categories to increase their feature sets. As apps become more complex, maintainability will be important, and greater attention to managing complexity is required.

     As Daniel points out, this book is not a book for those without at least some knowledge of XAML. Although there is considerable reference material for some essential XAML infrastructure, included within these chapters are advanced topics, such as the Model-View-ViewModel design pattern (MVVM). In fact, most sample apps follow the MVVM pattern. Much of the concepts and techniques used throughout the book are described in Chapter 2, “Fundamental Concepts in Windows Phone Development.” Do not worry if some of these approaches seem foreign to you; by the end of the book they will be second nature.

     Wherever possible, you are provided with tips and techniques that go beyond the topic, and you will frequently find content not easily found elsewhere. A substantial amount of custom code is provided that extends the Windows Phone SDK to support real app scenarios.

     At first this book reads like a typical Microsoft Tech manual, but when you read through it things begin to come together (like being enlightened) and you will learn to love this book.

     Vaughan teaches through complete sample apps—leveraging the MVVM pattern—illuminating each key concept with fully explained code and real-world context. He presents best practices for building highly functional, maintainable, and attractive mobile interfaces; integrating touch, rich media, and data; testing; profiling; and more.

     Expanded and updated, Vaughan shares expert insights which are unique, drawing on his exceptional access to the Windows Phone development team through the elite Microsoft Silverlight and WPF Insiders group. Along the way, he presents exceptionally practical and thorough coverage of many powerful new Windows Phone 8 platform enhancements, including full chapters on voice commands and speech synthesis, incorporating speech-driven experiences, Wallet integration, new Live Tile capabilities, the Nokia Maps control, launching apps via file and protocol associations, and much more.

     One of my favorite items is the “Note” sections which gives his insight and clarifies the codes, etc. and makes it clear as to understanding his comcepts.

Detailed information on how to…
* Get started quickly with Windows Phone XAML development in Visual Studio
* Master the Capabilities Model, threading, and the Execution Model
* Create attractive mobile interfaces using Windows Phone’s rich set of controls, including the Windows Phone Toolkit
* Make the most of the application bar and other interface elements
* Enhance user experience with advanced support for touch, gestures, and sensors
* Build location-aware apps that use Nokia Maps and location services
* Incorporate speech-driven experiences
* Quickly internationalize apps for global markets
* Leverage Windows Phone 8’s improved camera support
* Connect apps to online services via SOAP, REST, and OData
* Validate user input on the client side or via WCF services
* Use Windows Phone 8’s powerful local database support
* Implement background actions, file transfers, and audio playback
* Automatically launch your app using file and protocol associations
* Unit test to find defects earlier, saving time and money

     Windows Phone 8 Unleashed is very much a techie manual for techies and is aimed squarely at app developers who want to develop apps for the Windows Phone 8.

     This book is divided into five essential parts. The first deals with the fundamentals of app development, including an introduction to Windows Phone. Part two deals with essential elements such as text and fonts, web elements, and jump lists. Part three is the key section on Windows Phone app development – dealing with issues that include processing touch input, Live Tiles, sensing movement, and capturing images and sound. It also includes accepting payments and the wallet function. Part four is about validating user input, communication with network services and storing app data locally. Part five is devoted to subjects that include performing file transfers in the background and coordinating background audio playback.

     What will be of particular interest to the developer is that this book not only includes many diagrams illustrating processes and functions, it also has many actual screen shots showing just how the executed code should appear.

     As mentioned earlier, Daniel Vaughan says, ‘Although you see some examples incorporating XNA for audio and media, this book’s focus is squarely on XAML for Windows Phone. The book covers all main areas of the topic in a deep, yet easily comprehensible way, using practical examples with real-world context.’

     Daniel’s goal is to provide developers with concepts and techniques that will help them design and develop well-engineered and robust Windows Phone apps.

     Wherever possible, as Daniel states, “readers are given the tips and techniques that go beyond the topic, and the book frequently has content that is not easily found elsewhere. A substantial amount of custom code is provided that extends the Windows Phone Software Developer Kit to support real app scenarios.”

Recommendation

     With its attention to detail and its extensive content, it’s hard to resist the conclusion that it’s likely to remain the Windows Phone app developers bible for quite some time to come. Therefore, I have given this book, “Windows Phone Unleashed by Daniel Vaughan” an overall Five Star rating.
   
  Top
  Copyright © 2000 - 2017 Denver Visual Studio User Group.
All Rights Reserved. Please see Notice