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Book Review: 101 Windows Phone 7 Apps; Volume 1: Developing Apps 1-50

Windows Phone 7 programming, presented in full color

Rating: 5/5 stars
Price: $59.99

Now that the momentum for Windows Phone is starting to build, more books on developing applications for the platform are starting to surface. And I just finished reading one of the best I've seen on the subject so far: 101 Windows Phone 7 Apps, Volume 1.

Adam Nathan is the author of the 1,100-plus–page first volume of a two-volume set. He is no stranger to writing thick, colorful books on cutting-edge Microsoft UI-centric technology. He wrote Windows Presentation Foundation Unleashed and Silverlight Unleashed, both published by Sams and both packed cover to cover with beautiful, high-quality color pages filled with screenshots, multi-color callouts, and most importantly for developers, full-color listings that match the default color syntax-highlighted code listings as seen in Visual Studio. Like those books, 101 Windows Phone 7 Apps, Volume 1 provides features such as color, expensive high-gloss paper, and substantial page count, all of which help this book stand out from the other Windows Phone 7 books on the retail shelves. But even more impressive than the book's packaging are Adam's comfortable writing style and boundless enthusiasm he has for the subject matter. I found myself on several occasions nodding my head with satisfaction after discovering how easy it was to make Windows Phone 7 perform 3D transformations, multi-touch gesture recognition, audio-visual playback, hardware accelerometer events, and more.

The book is organized into nine parts, with each part containing walk-throughs for a variety of feature-related applications. Part one begins by building the most basic phone apps, the kind you see thousands of in the various mobile app stores (flashlight, stopwatch, tip calculator—and thankfully no whoopie cushion apps). Parts two through six focus on storing and retrieving local data as well as creating and managing visual elements like transforms and animations, pivot, panorama, charts and graphs, audio-video, and the microphone. Parts seven and eight demonstrate various application examples of touch and multi-touch interface interactions and accelerometer tricks. The last part contains five appendixes offering reference summaries of XAML, theme resources, animation easing, and geometries.  And it's hard to believe that this book is only half of what Adam has in store for his audience.

Besides guiding you through constructing the apps themselves, each project is designed to teach unique aspects of Windows Phone 7 programming—from grids, scroll views, sliders, and pop-ups to data binding, encryption, event triggers, bitmap caching, and dynamic XAML. And rather than present these concepts in dry "bible" or "nutshell" format, the book will enable readers to walk away with working applications that they can extend to meet their own needs or borrow code samples from for other phone projects.

This book is outstanding throughout, from the insightfully numerous FAQ, tip, and warning callouts to the thorough explanations of each technology introduced along the way. I tried my best to find something to criticize and simply failed to do so. Yes, it is that good. As such, I give it my highest recommendation. Any developer interested in learning Windows Phone 7 programming should buy this book first before any other Windows Phone 7 titles. Given how polished and packed with useful real-world applications contained in this first volume, I can't wait for the release of Volume 2 to learn about the remaining 51 applications that Adam Nathan has in store for us.

Mike Riley ( [email protected]) is an advanced computing professional specializing in emerging technologies and new development trends. He is also a contributing editor for DevProConnections. Follow Mike on Twitter @mriley.

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