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Windows Phone 8: Where To Go From Here

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This post is part of a series called Getting Started with Windows Phone 8.
Windows Phone 8: Pivot And Panorama

Even though you've learned the basic concepts of the Windows Phone platform, creating a modern Windows Phone application may still feel daunting. The truth is that we've only scratched the surface in this series, there is more to Windows Phone development than what we've covered in this series.

However, a good foundation is important and you are on the right track to create great Windows Phone applications. To help you continue your journey into the world of Windows Phone development, I have created a list of things that I recommend you do to continue your journey.

1. C# & XAML

C#

Since the recommended programming language for creating Windows Phone applications is C#, it is only natural that you need to become more familiar with the language. While a basic understanding of C# was one of the requirements for this series, if you want to write more advanced applications, then you'll also need to learn more about C#. Concepts, such as delegates, BackgroundWorker, and WebClient, are definitely worth exploring.

XAML

We've worked a lot with XAML in this series and it's an essential aspect of an application's user interface. It's fairly easy to get up to speed with XAML, but I recommend that you also learn some of its more advanced concepts if you want to be able to create more advanced Windows Phone layouts.

The below links are a good starting point if you plan to learn more about C# and XAML. Check them out to see for yourself.

2. MVVM

MVVM, short for Model View ViewModel, is a design pattern that describes the process of decoupling a Windows Phone application into three separate independent components, the View, the Model, and the ViewModel. It is a fairly advanced design pattern, but learning and applying it will save you a lot of time and make your application much more testable and reusable.

The MVVM design pattern alongside the Data Binding concept makes Windows Phone development wonderful and I therefore recommend that you make yourself familiar with both concepts. get used to these techniques in the near future. 

The below links are a good starting point if you plan to learn more about MVVM and Data Binding.

3. CodePlex

At CodePlex, a lot of open source projects for Windows Phone are hosted. It's a great place to find open source libraries, such as parsers, toolkits, and other useful projects made available to the Windows Phone community. It’s like the Bible for any Windows Phone developer. If you ever find yourself looking for a library that implements a trivial or common feature, then you may find one or more solutions on CodePlex.

4. Practice & Build

While the tips in this tutorial are great for learning more about Windows Phone development, it's important to put what you've learned into practice by creating applications. I encourage you to work on challenging projects that are out of your comfort zone. It may be frustrating at first, but it's a great way to learn and improve your skills.

There are many resources available about Windows Phone that will help you overcome the hurdles you run into. A simple Google search will almost always do the trick.

Also, Microsoft runs various programs that aim to convince more developers to make Windows Phone applications. One program that stands out is DVLUP. On the DVLUP website, you can ideas for mobile applications and you also get rewards for completing any of the program's challenges.

Conclusion

The aim of this series was to teach you the basic concepts of Windows Phone development and to prepare you for more advanced Windows Phone application development. The techniques you learned in this series are basic concepts that you must know to move forward and create more advanced applications.

By completing this series, you have become familiar with the Windows Phone platform and have created a solid foundation, which you can continue to build upon. It's time that you put your knowledge into practice and build something. It doesn't need to be great or perfect, build something that you improve over time as your knowledge grows and skills improve.

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