Convert Your Confusing Win32 Apps to Touch First Mobile Apps


Migrate confusing Win32 apps with tiny controls to touch first mobile apps with large fonts and UI elements while including gesture support and proper spacing.

The advent of a mouse connected to every computer gave users a pixel-precision pointing device. Coupled with ever-growing computer monitors and higher resolution screens, UI elements got smaller and smaller. This wasn’t a problem until mobile devices with their small screens became popular. The developers that crammed lots of small buttons and data grids on big PC screens brought those bad UI habits to mobile.

At first, these new mobile developers got away with it because personal digital assistants (PDAs) like the Palm, Handspring, Zaurus and Pocket PC used a stylus with plastic, resistive touch screens. Until the touchable iPhone was released in 2007, many smartphones used a stylus as a replacement for the mouse’s precision pointing. This facilitated tiny, touchable UI elements that were hard to see.

When developing today’s mobile apps (native + web), touchable UI elements like buttons must be finger-friendly and at least 44 x 44 pixels in size. To prevent the “fat-finger” problem, they must also be at least 20 pixels apart from each other. This will vary based on screen size and pixel density. Implementing responsive design principles is also a must. UI elements must scale smoothly to different smartphone and tablet screen sizes and support gestures like swiping. They must also reorient themselves when a device shifts between portrait and landscape and implement “hamburger” menus to conserve screen space.

Improve user productivity by creating touchable apps that are easy to use to get employees up and running while reducing training requirements and expenses. What is your organization doing to improve app productivity?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

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Your Win32 Apps are Broken so Break them Up to Improve Employee Productivity


Replace your large, complex, monolithic Win32 apps that still provide business value with multiple, single-purpose mobile apps.

I was involved in the architecture and development of some really large systems for some of the world’s largest companies. The user interfaces for all these systems had hundreds of screens. People with various job functions, from multiple departments, looking for different outcomes might all use the same app. These massive systems tried to be all things to everyone. Employees working in multiple departments found themselves using the same giant app despite never interacting with similar screens or workflows to perform their jobs. Expensive, time-consuming training was always required.

Mobile doesn’t work this way. Users expect apps to perform discrete tasks for a specific set of users. This increases efficiency while reducing confusion and training requirements. Mobile users will reject a 400 screen app on their smartphone. This means you won’t be successful turning a giant desktop app into a giant mobile app. Analyze those large, monolithic apps and see where you can break them apart along lines of functionality, users to be served, and tasks to be accomplished. Your analysis may reveal that some of those apps should be broken into dozens, or more, mobile apps to keep things simple and your employees productive.

Improve user productivity by making apps easier to use and eliminate training to reduce expenses by breaking complex apps into multiple, simple apps. What is your organization doing simplify apps for its employees?

Learn how to digitally transform your company in my newest book, “Mobile Strategies for Business: 50 Actionable Insights to Digitally Transform your Business.”

Book Cover

Click to purchase a copy of my book today and start transforming your business!

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at , follow me on Twitter at and on LinkedIn at

New Jump Start for Developers! Build Windows Phone 8 Apps. Register Now.

Andy and Rob

Microsoft Learning is thrilled to announce a new Jump Start for developers focused on building apps for Windows Phone 8.

This special live online course is scheduled for two full days of fast-paced, demo-rich sessions led by Microsoft Technical Evangelist, Andy Wigley, and Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Strategist, Rob Tiffany. Andy and Rob are two of the most respected experts in mobile app development and are excited to help C#/XAML developers get the most out of the Windows Phone 8 platform.

What: Building Apps for Windows Phone 8 Jump Start Date: November 28-29, 2012 Time: 7:00am – 5:00pm PST Cost: FREE! Target audience: Application Developers who want a fast-paced, real-world understanding of how to leverage C# and XAML to build apps for Windows Phone 8


Help us spread the word with a blog post or a tweet like this one: Building Apps for #WindowsPhone 8 #MSJumpStart w/ @andy_wigley & @robtiffany 11/28! #wpdev @MSLearning

What’s a “Jump Start” Course? Training specifically designed for experienced technologists whose jobs demand they know how to best leverage new, emerging Microsoft technologies. These advanced courses assume a certain level of expertise and domain knowledge, so they move quickly and cover topics in a fashion that enables teams to effectively map new skills to real-world situations.

Best Regards,


Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta Released

Windows Phone

Just wanted to help spread the word that was posted by Brandon Watson earlier this morning on our Windows Phone Developer Blog.  Go download the new Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta.

The term “Beta” is understood to mean that things are close to being finished.  Well, that’s what we mean anyway. This Beta release represents the near final version of the tools for building applications and games for Windows Phone 7.

Since the initial CTP release of the tools just this March, the Windows Phone Developer Tool CTP has been widely embraced by the community, and they have shown what’s possible on our new development platform.

It’s time to get serious about building the actual apps and games for Windows Phone 7 that consumers will be looking for starting this holiday season.

One of the things I really want to do is just take a step back and congratulate the entire Windows Phone 7 team.  They have done an amazing job of delivering code month after month on our path to releasing later this year.  Check out this timeline:

  • Feb 2010 – Windows Phone 7 was unveiled at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona
  • Mar 2010 – The application platform was unveiled at MIX 10 in Las Vegas.  With that, we had the first CTP of the Windows Phone Developer Tools.
  • Apr 2010 – The tools received an updated, and the CTP Refresh shipped.
  • Jun 2010 – Windows Phone Marketplace details unveiled at TechEd 2010.  Get the Windows Phone 7 Application Certification Requirements.
  • July 2010 – Beta release of Windows Phone Developer Tools, and the preview developer phones start shipping to ISVs


Whew! The Windows Phone engineering team has been crushing it.

Here’s a link to the release notes for the beta, but I wanted to talk about a few top level items:

  • Microsoft Expression Blend for Windows Phone – Blend is now integrated completely into the Windows Phone Developer Tools Beta.
  • Developer Registration Utility – Now you can unlock you Windows Phone 7 device for development purposes.
  • XAP Deployment Tool – if you want to deploy XAP files directly to an unlocked device, now you can.
  • The Windows Phone 7 API – we’re getting close to completion.  Many namespaces that were previously distributed over several different DLLs have now been consolidated into one.  In addition, there have been realignments and changes in several other namespaces as well.  Push Notifications, Accelerometer and App Bar APIs have all been updated.
  • Additional Controls – There are some additional controls coming in the next few weeks (i.e. Panorama and Pivot) which didn’t make the beta release.  They are coming soon.
  • Control Templates – Silverlight for Windows Phone control templates have been updated to match evolutions in the overall OS.


Get Trained – Windows Phone 7 Jump Start

Windows Phone 7 JumpStart is a FREE virtual live class for developers interested in developing applications and games for Windows Phone 7.  We’re providing this in partnership with our MS Learning team. The course is organized into four virtual instructor-led sessions that are of 3-hour duration.  They will be presented by forthcoming MS Press authors and MVP’s, Andy Wigley and Rob Miles. It will provide developers a jump start for developing Windows Phone 7 applications.  The Labs will be completed offline with office hours access to the instructors.

The dates for these course sessions are:

  • July 20 – 8am: Session One: Getting Started with Microsoft Windows Phone and Silverlight
  • July 20 – 1pm: Session Two: Programming Game Applications with XNA
  • July 22 – 8am: Session Three:  Programming Applications with Silverlight
  • July 22 – 1pm: Session Four:  Review and Wrap Up


Go register for the course now!

Devices for Developers

We made a promise last month that we would be getting pre-production preview devices to developers this month. We are keeping that promise. In fact, the very first preview devices were awarded last week to a pair of pretty amazing high-school students who won the Windows Phone “Rockstar” contest as part of the Imagine Cup. When we saw what they had done, we knew we had to get them preview phones.

Starting next Monday (July 19th), we start shipping the devices more broadly. Sadly, we will not be able to meet all of that demand.  We are planning to set up deploy and test labs in major cities to make it a little easier for everyone who wants to have access to a preview phone to have it. More on that soon.

Lastly, to get your name in the queue, assuming you haven’t already sent in an email, you can now send an email to  A field representative will get back to you as soon as possible. Again, these are preview phones, so they are limited in quantity. When you send email, please include the following information:

  • Your name
  • Company name, if applicable
  • What city/state/country you are located in
  • App(s) you plan on developing (category and brief description)



At some point, we had to mention Twitter, right? We strongly encourage developers establish a connection with their local field evangelist, since they will be the ones ultimately putting phones into the hands of developers, but they can also point you in the right direction for solving problems, get you connected to other partners, and generally help out. To make it easier to get to know your local evangelist, we’ve set up this list – wp7dev/champs (

You can also follow other members of the team based on their area of coverage:


Go start developing!


Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at , follow me on Twitter at and on LinkedIn at

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