Texas Road Side History? There’s an App for That!

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin

Slalom Consultant Derek Martin is an accomplished Microsoft systems developer and integrator, experienced in developing and deploying SharePoint and CRM solutions, integrating line of business applications, and leveraging existing infrastructure investments.

Have you ever wondered what that historical marker says that you just passed while driving down the road? Well, there’s an app for that, if you live in Texas.

Texas Road Side History was first thought up by my myself and my colleagues as one of four applications all of the developers from our Slalom Consulting Dallas office collaboratively developed during a one day Windows Phone 7 “lock in” team exercise.

One of our goals was to help our entire team learn how to make use of Microsoft’s rapidly evolving SQL Azure and Azure Web roles. Using SQL Azure, we took advantage of the Geography data type and the STDistance function to query for historical markers by proximity. We next exposed a WCF Web service for executing the proximity query. And lastly, we generated an OData endpoint using WCF Data Services for all of our basic data access needs, which was amazingly simple.

After several iterations of submissions and rejections to the WP7 Marketplace, Texas Road Side History was finally Read more of this post

Five great things about developing for Windows Phone 7—and five things that should be in the next release

Slalom Consultant Rob Howard

Rob Howard is a software developer and part of Slalom's National Mobility Team charged with putting emerging technologies to work in business.

In the past few months I’ve gotten a chance to write a couple of applications for Windows Phone 7.  Some of the concepts in the development environment, both new and old, were executed very well.  I was able to create some powerful features in these apps that would have been difficult for other mobile platforms.  Here is a list of five of those things that I would like to give the people on the Windows Phone 7 development team kudos for:

Portability of Skills

Anyone that has written code for the web in Silverlight should be able to easily read and implement a Windows Phone 7 app.  Since many of the same controls are used, one doesn’t have to learn a new UI API to work on phone development.  Also, with the inclusion of Expression Blend, skills that a designer has used in UI customization for WPF or Silverlight are valuable in Windows Phone development.

Networking combined with Data Serialization

It is almost a given that an application that one would write for a mobile phone will need to use network resources.  Windows Communication Foundation is included in the Windows Phone 7 libraries along with a loaded HttpWebRequest.  When used with the DataContractSerializer classes, fetching and parsing data from the cloud becomes a simple implementation where it can be very complicated on Read more of this post

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