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Microsoft Cloud: Book Review

Book Review: Windows Phone 8 Unleashed

Everything about this book rocks!!!

Just like the Windows Phone 7.5 Unleashed book, everything about this book rocks!!! It is in color which makes for a great read. Being able to see the code and screenshots in color doubles the value of a book like this. I wish all programming books that included coding client UIs were in color.

Although the chapter names usually highlight the main topic covered in the chapter, some chapters like chapter 2 cover a ton of topics. It covers XAP files, the capabilities model, threading model for graphics and animation, the frame rate counter, performance tools, how to determine device status, MVVM, commands, and a platform-agnostic dialog service.

This book is 1123 pages huge and includes 34 in-depth chapters. It is broken into five parts. I have listed each part and the chapters below.

Part I: Windows Phone App Development Fundamentals
Chapter 1. Introduction to Windows Phone App Development
Chapter 2. Fundamental Concepts in Windows Phone Development
Chapter 3. Understanding the Application Execution Model
Chapter 4. Controlling Page Orientation

Part II: Essential Elements
Chapter 5. Using Content Controls, Items Controls, and Range Controls
Chapter 6. Mastering Text Elements and Fonts
Chapter 7. Employing Media and Web Elements
Chapter 8. Taming the Application Bar
Chapter 9. Enriching the User Experience with the Windows Phone Toolkit Controls
Chapter 10. Creating Jump Lists with the Long List Selector
Chapter 11. Creating Expansive and Engaging Apps with the Pivot and Panorama

Part III: Windows Phone App Development
Chapter 12. Processing Touch Input
Chapter 13. Portraying Your App with Live Tiles
Chapter 14. Leveraging Built-In Apps via Launchers and Choosers
Chapter 15. Receiving Messages from the Cloud Using Push Notification
Chapter 16. Sensing Motion and Attitude
Chapter 17. Building Location Aware Apps
Chapter 18. Incorporating Map-Based Positioning
Chapter 19. Supporting Multiple Cultures and Languages
Chapter 20. Extending the Windows Phone Picture Viewer
Chapter 21. Capturing Images and Video with the Camera
Chapter 22. Recording Audio with the Microphone
Chapter 23. Creating Speech Driven Experiences
Chapter 24. Unit Testing Apps
Chapter 25. Manage Payment Instruments Using Wallet Extensibility

Part IV: Building Data Driven Apps
Chapter 26. Validating User Input
Chapter 27. Communicating with Network Services
Chapter 28. Preserving App State and Settings
Chapter 29. Storing App Data in a Local Database
Chapter 30. Auto-Launching with File and Protocol Associations
Chapter 31. Extending the Search Experience

Part V: Multitasking
Chapter 32. Conducting Background Activities with Scheduled Actions
Chapter 33. Performing Background File Transfers
Chapter 34. Coordinating Background Audio Playback

One of the things I really like that the author did was introduce the Windows Phone Performance Analysis Tool right off the bat in chapter 2. Knowing how to make use of the performance tools may really help developers without an actual device.

Another thing I really liked was that the author made use of MVVM throughout the book. He did not just introduce it and then continue with the rest of the book without it, like I have seen done with some other XAML books, he made extensive use of it.

The author does a great job covering the Windows Phone Toolkit. He covers the ListPicker, AutoCompleteBox, ContextMenu, DatePicker and TimePicker, LoopingSelector, Page Transistions, TiltEffect, ToggleSwitch, WrapPanel, GestureService, and GestureListener. He does not just list them, he provides in-depth examples of each.

The chapter on Building Location Aware Apps is not only a great introduction to Bing Maps, it also contains a practical example of using Reactive Extensions (Rx). The chapter on Geographic Location also contains a nice example of Rx.

The chapter named Processing Touch Input is all about gestures. It gives a great overview with some really good visual aids. It covers all the gestures and their associated events.

The chapter on Launchers and Choosers is awesome. The author does a great job of covering a ton of them. He covered so many of them, that I am not sure that he missed any. He provides a nice code sample for using each one.

The downloadable code is very well organized and usable. I did not run into any trouble with the samples, which is amazing because there are a ton of them.

Every chapter of this book is rock solid and they all go in-depth. The last thing I will say I liked about this book is that it took advantage of tools like LINQ to SQL, Odata, the Unit Testing Framework, and Reactive Extensions in practical real world examples. The author doesn't skimp on implementation examples.

All in all if you are considering getting into Windows Phone 8 development, or are already involved with it, this book is an absolute must!!!

Windows Phone 8 Unleashed

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Tad Anderson has been doing Software Architecture for 18 years and Enterprise Architecture for the past few.

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