Building a Universal Windows App in 3 Hours

Learn all the necessary steps and skills to make your first Windows Phone app the best it can be.
Course info
Rating
(13)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Oct 10, 2016
Duration
2h 56m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Rating
(13)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Oct 10, 2016
Duration
2h 56m
Description

Maybe you have this amazing idea for a Windows Phone app, but when it comes to developing that app, you don't know where to start. In this course, Building a Universal Windows App in 3 Hours, you'll learn everything you need to know to build your first universal Windows Platform app. From getting the great idea and conceptualizing it, analyzing how it can stand out in the market place, design it, build it, test it and take it to market. With this course you'll be fully prepared to make your first Windows app a great success. Even if you have built apps before, this course will teach you valuable insights into leveraging all tools and keeping you one step ahead of the competition.

About the author
About the author

Lars is an author, trainer, Microsoft MVP, community leader, authority on all things Windows Platform, and part time crocodile wrangler. He is heavily involved in the space of HoloLens and mixed reality, as well as a published Pluralsight author, freelance solution architect, and writer for numerous publications.

More from the author
Managing Scope Creep
Beginner
1h 22m
5 Jul 2018
More courses by Lars Klint
Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Course Overview
Hi everyone, my name is Lars Klint, and welcome to my course, Building a Universal Windows App in 3 Hours. I'm a freelance solution architect at larsklint. com, Microsoft MVP, speaker, and expert in Australian outback internet. Yes, really! I've been building software systems from tiny websites to gargantuan telecommunication systems for the past 20 years. In this course, we're going to build an entire app for the universal Windows platform, and even publish it. The app will be cross-platform and run on over 400 million devices. Learn to use features of Windows AppStudio to build powerful universal apps with ease. Create completely personalized sections that showcase your company or business as a fully native universal app that can run on any Windows 10 device. How about personalizing the app to include more advanced features. You'll learn to export the AppStudio project into Visual Studio to continue expanding and refining it. We'll also cover the common model view ViewModel architecture for building mobile apps to make sure you create lean and testable software. But that isn't all. By the end of the course you'll have published the app to the wild and started getting real world users using it. To complete the course, all you need is a Microsoft account and the free community edition of Visual Studio 2015. By the end of the course, you will have an understanding of what universal apps are and how they are put together, as well as having built your very own. I hope you'll join me on this journey to learn how to build universal apps with the Building a Universal Windows App in 3 Hours course at Pluralsight.

Introduction
I'm hoping you're here because you want to know more about universal apps, the universal Windows platform, and in particular how to create apps quickly that work across multiple devices. This course will take you full circle from creating the first parts of your app in App Studio, exporting it into Visual Studio, to then publishing it into the store and looking after it in post production. In this module, we'll set the scene for where universal apps have come from and where they fit in. We will introduce the tools needed to complete the course, and then of course, have a quick look at the secret weapon of building universal apps, either as a non-developer, or as a developer wanting to get started lightning quick, being App Studio. First though, let's have a look at what we're going to build throughout the course. The finished app is for a made up radio station and is obviously a demo app that isn't a real world application. However, it demonstrates most of the features in App Studio and includes integration with various services. All right, let's go.

Starting a New Project in App Studio
This is the second module of the course, and this is where we're starting a new project in App Studio. We now have a background for how universal apps have come about, and although this is an essential part of understanding why the Windows runtime is built the way it is, it is time to get started looking in our project and building the first parts of it. In this module, we will start out with App Studio, and explore the reasons it is not only a great catalyst for your project, but also how to let you get started on the right foot. We'll look at a number of basic features available in App Studio in this module, and all of them can help us build our app. And then all of this is, of course, accompanied by plenty of hands-on demos. So these basic features that we're talking about in this module includes RSS, adding a feed of data from websites or other data sources; HTML, manually entering HTML code or rich text in a static fashion; YouTube, which is integrating your YouTube videos or your content into your app; Flickr, search Flickr's extensive photo library and include the results as a page in your app; Bing, include a search result based on a search term from Bing; and then, of course, there's social media, which is Facebook, which displays a newsfeed from Facebook from an account; Instagram, show pictures from your Instagram feed; and then finally, Twitter, which is getting a real-time stream of tweets from your favorite account. And then we will, of course, give your app a name and spruce it up slightly. All of this and an easy to follow demonstration coming up in this module.

Menus & Collections in App Studio
In the last module, we saw how easy it is to add sections of content to our radio app in App Studio. We've got a good hold of which sections are available and how we can add them with just a few clicks. In this module, we'll continue on that trend and explore two more complex context sections. First, we look at the menu section, which is a list of items grouped together. This is a great way to easily group simple links and provides easy access to perhaps otherwise hard to discover sections. Second, you'll learn about one of the most important sections in App Studio, the collection. This is where the power of your custom data gets into your app. We will look at the various ways you can insert data both as dynamic and static sources, and then we will get to see all of this in action using App Studio. Hang on tight, here we go!

Theming & Visuals
Hi, I'm Lars Klint, and welcome to this module on Theming and Visuals. One thing is to add data and sections to your app, but just as important is to get the look and feel right. If an app is not appealing to the eye and pleasing to use, you might have the best data in the world, but it just won't matter. In this module, we'll look at how to theme an app in App Studio and how you can make it to be visually appealing even if you aren't a designer. We'll struggle with color complements and other design approaches. Theming is powerful, and with just a few clicks you can brand your app as you wish. We will look at live tiles, which is one of the standout features on the Windows platform. Although not all features of the live tiles are available in App Studio, they will still provide a very important part for engaging your users. As in the previous modules, there are plenty of practical demos to guide you through the content and provide a first-hand experience of the features as well.

Store, HockeyApp, and Advertising
Now that our Pluralsight Radio app has both data, basic design, and live tiles sorted, it is time to add measures that will both ensure a revenue and provide a visibility of how the app is being used and where it can be improved. This module wraps up our work within App Studio and adds three more important features of our app. The first is to associate the app with the Windows Store, and understand the process to get the right information into the app so publishing is a breeze. The second feature of integration is HockeyApp, which give metrics on usage of the app. This integration is crucial to understand what goes on when users use your app. Last, we dive into the sometimes controversial integration of advertising by using the Windows Developer Center. Having ads in your app can help provide some return on your investment and make it worth your time. As with other modules, we also get practical demos of the usage and implementation of these.

Visual Studio
We're now done with our work in App Studio, but that doesn't mean that the app is finished. There is still much more to do to make sure it is a success. In this module, we'll move on from App Studio and start looking under the covers of our app in Visual Studio. First up, we need to get the App Studio solution brought across to Visual Studio by doing an export from within App Studio itself. This is a relatively straightforward process. Next we need to understand exactly what the generated code looks like and what the various elements are. This won't be an introduction to building up a new app in Visual Studio, but we will go through the various elements that make up our radio app. This includes project structure, assets, and frameworks used. This will also include a brief introduction to the model view view model, or MVVM programming paradigm, which is the industry standard for developing universal Windows apps. Lastly, we'll add one of the features that aren't supported in App Studio, but is important to give your users the one experience across devices in Windows 10, Data Roaming. We won't have time to touch on all the amazing features that are supported on the universal Windows platform, but we will make a start. All right, let's get into it.

Finishing Touches and Testing
We have come a long way in a really short time. As you will have discovered by now, App Studio can make you incredibly efficient in a very short amount of time. Even if you aren't a developer, you can build an app that performs the most basic functions and is especially useful for a company or a business. However, if you are a developer, you might find it a little too high-level, and it probably feels like you aren't really in control by dragging and dropping some elements. That is why we exported a solution to Visual Studio in the last module, and we will continue that journey in this module. Firstly, we are now working exclusively in Visual Studio, and like most Windows 10 apps, the views are built in eXtensible Application Markup Language, or XAML. We need to know some of the advantages of this XML-like language, and then we will use the XAML editor Blend. Blend is a great way of manipulating XAML and not having to write and remember the syntax of the language while at the same time having a visual editor for a visual language. The second part of the module focuses on implementing testing in your app using unit tests. We will introduce testing concepts and then write some simple tests. This will make the app more robust, along with a lot of other benefits. Finally, we will set up the app in HockeyApp to facilitate user monitoring and beta testing scenarios.

Publishing
Last module! This is exciting, as we're now at the end of the process of creating our universal app. There is very little left to do, but that doesn't mean we can relax just yet. The final step is to get the app into your users' hands and get them to enjoy it. After all, if you don't have any users, then why are you creating an app? First off, we'll look at the steps to publishing the app by putting the app through the Windows App Certification Kit to make sure it is ready for prime time and will pass certification. Next we will consider whether a beta testing program is appropriate for our app, and other apps you might create. Beta testers can help you fine-tune some of the features and get it just right. Finally, we will look at what to do after an app is released to the wild. It is not enough to just release it into the wild, you also need to care and look after it. Use updates, metrics, and other user feedback to continually improve your app. All right, let's go.