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Laurent Duveau on Morse Code Flash Light WP7 Application

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Joined Nov 03, 2008
Articles:   22
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0 comments   /   posted on Dec 03, 2010
Categories:   White Papers , Interviews

The next Windows Phone 7 application that we bring to your attention is Morse Code Flash Light – one app created mostly for fun. Its author, Laurent Duveau, agreed to share some details about the app as well as some tips on developing for WP7.

Q1. Laurent - please introduce yourself briefly and tell us more about the application you created - what are the key functionalities, major differences from other similar applications on the market, why do you think people would want to install this app on their WP7?
A. I am a Silverlight MVP and co-founder of RunAtServer Montreal (www.runatserver.com), we are specialized in Silverlight and Windows Phone apps. We do Architecture/Dev/UI Design/Coaching/Training/Speaking...
My “Morse Code Flash Light” app allows the user to translate text in morse code, then use the phone as a flash light to “read” it. Obviously it falls in the “funny tools” category, I don’t know if anyone will ever seriously use it, but who knows… anyway it was fun to build and it’s free! Try the “Shake for a random word” feature…


Q2. What was the motivation behind creating this application? How did you get the idea?
A. The idea came from my left brain; it’s a “toy” project… I needed an excuse to try development for the phone. As an experienced Silverlight developer I wanted to learn this new platform and see if there were any big differences. Since then we have had more serious mobile projects at work but they are not deployed yet.

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Q3. What were the challenges you faced when moving from Silverlight in/out of the browser to the phone environment?
A. It was not that hard, tools are the same (VS2010 & Blend), C#, .NET, … there are some specificities, like the Silverlight version, phone features, entire touch UI (make BIG buttons), but nothing major.
The “31 days of Windows Phone 7” by Jeff Blankenburg helped a lot:

Q4. Could you reveal some tip, some solution you used to work around a specific problem faced during the development of your application?
A. I didn’t really had problems while developing, but more during the Marketplace certification process. My problem was around navigation and the back button behavior which was really weird at first. To make it short: circular navigation is not recommended, get the user to press the back button instead.

Q5. Have you faced any performance challenges with Morse Code Flash Light? Was it hard to optimize your app so it may run smooth on the device?
A. Not really because this is a very little app. But it is true that you need to optimize your dev for the phone, much more than regular Silverlight. You have limited screen real estate, limited performance, ... any list of data needs UI optimization with things like defer loading, local cache.

Q6. How do you see the future of WP7, and applications for WP7?
A. I see a great potential in the WP7 platform, both in terms of applications to create (everything is to be done, we need to fill the marketplace!), and for developers, because if just a part of the army of .NET developers realize how easy it is to create WP7 apps, that will be crazy! To have a great mobile platform you need a Marketplace with tons of apps.

Q7. What other ideas for next WP7 applications do you have?
A. I have a few more ideas for WP7 applications… something around location services… wait and see!

Q8. What is your opinion on the recent announcement by Microsoft on the future of Silverlight and HTML5?
A. I am happy to see Microsoft adding some diversity in its RIA strategy and will focus on HTML5 as well. There has been a lot of confusion around this message but this is all what it is. We have Silverlight for the richness and HTML5 for the reach. For me Silverlight has never been a tool to kill everything else. I have always been a strong advocate of using Silverlight only if needed and where there is real values add. I will almost never use Silverlight for regular websites, it does not make sense.
So the shift in strategy does not change anything in my job and for my business, I have always used Silverlight for rich line of business applications for intranet or desktop, and that will not change anytime soon. Doing web stuff for the iPad is HTML(5) only, so I’m glad that Microsoft focus on that as well, this is a market they can’t ignore. I am sure we will soon have tools in Visual Studio to help produce HTML5.

For more information on Laurent’s future projects visit his blog http://weblogs.asp.net/lduveau or follow him on Twitter @LaurentDuveau.



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