A variety of books have been published on Windows Phone 7 – so far, I have not found one which is well-suited to beginners. Can APress’s Beginner’s book stack up?
The book is divided into two large blocks: block one provides a rough overview of the platform, while the second block knocks out some topics for more detailed treatment.
The introduction of the actual development process takes place in the chapters two and three. The authors chose a relatively complex example which used Azure, but barely cover XAML – this leads to a lot of not so useful information floating round your head. Debugging and distributing also get covered in the first block.
After that, the first detailled topic covered is the accelerometer. It is followed by two chapters looking at application bars and the web browser control.
Themes, Localization and integrating your app into the OS get covered too. Other topics include the Isolated Storage system, media and the GPS service. Finally, a few short chapters on reactive extensions and security were included, leading to the following TOC:
- Introducing Windows Phone 7 and the Windows Phone Platform
- Building Windows Phone 7 Applications
- Using Cloud Services As Data Stores
- Catching and Debugging Errors
- Packaging, Publishing, and Managing Applications
- Working with the Accelerometer
- Application Bar
- WebBrowser Control
- Working with Controls and Themes
- Integrating Applications with the Windows Phone OS
- Creating Trial Applications
- Isolated Storage
- Using Location Services
- Working with the Camera and Photos
- Push Notifications
- Reactive Extensions for .NET
In general, APress’s books have been excellently edited. Unfortunately, this book was not too satisfying – some code blocks are missing, and some sentences are unclear. Nevertheles, the book contains an ample amount of images and remains understandable even for non-native speakers.
Cutting a long story short: if you want to buy but one book on WP7, take the sister book on Recipies. If you, on the other hand, are looking for a more classic tutorial type of tome, buying this one will serve you well. The price of 24$ is ok.