A Silverlight Developer’s Experience with Windows Phone 7

So I have been working with Windows Phone 7 since it was originally released this March and after early concerns about platform consistency I must say in the latest version I am using I am very, very impressed. Yeah the build increments the Silverlight 4 version number wreaking all kinds of havoc when I try and work on Desktop software that will be going live with the production version of Silverlight 4 but that is to be expected in unreleased bits.

Very impressed with feature for feature parity between Desktop and Phone implementations of Silverlight. The toolbox is getting pretty full with the inclusion of what I consider staple Desktop components found in System.Windows.Interactivity and Microsoft.Expression.* assemblies. Expression Blend is running like a champ and I have been able to recompile the majority of the Avanade Silverlight Accelerator onto the Phone Platform. Only having to partial class when I need to strip out certain browser interop code from the Phone version where System.Windows.Browser is still blatantly non-existent.

I am loving the Panorama and Pivot controls, they are truly beautiful. I am also very pleased with the standard control library and the control templates that magically appear when dropping them inside of a Phone application. The only major gap in terms of standard controls is the lack of a properly skinned Combo Box. You don’t get the same kind of functionality that you see from a iPhone Combo Box which launches an on-screen keyboard equivalent pop-up for item selection. Right now you have to manually build selectors. The way we are doing it is just navigating to another page that has a generic selection list on it and then navigating back when complete. It gives you a lot more space to see the list of items that way.

I am anxiously awaiting seeing the Silverlight toolkit ported as well as PRISM, Unity and the like but I can probably just re-compile those myself so don’t waste your time MSFT, focus on making some killer Phone specific control templates for the remaining un-skinned controls and give us phone specific controls like the jump list.

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