This post is Day #26 in a series called the 31 Days of Windows Phone.
Yesterday, I wrote about how you could easily consume data from an external web service. Today, I’m going to talk about how you can share your app (especially as it’s being developed) with other Windows Phone developers.
What do you mean “share?”
If you’ve poked around at what was installed when you got the Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools, you might have noticed an interesting little program called “Application Deployment.” What this application does is opens a XAP file, and deploys it to either the emulator or to an actual phone, if you have one.
The reason I’m telling you about this is because it’s a great way to show someone what you’re working on, get their feedback, or just demonstrate specific functionality without sharing your screen. The best part is…it’s free. Think of it like a limited beta program of people you trust (this will be key later in this article.)
How is it free, exactly?
If you recall, downloading and installing the tools and SDK for Windows Phone is free. It costs nothing. You can go download the tools and SDK right here. Using these tools, and the Application Deployment app that comes with it, you can build and share your applications with others who have done the same.
How does the app work?
It’s really about as simple as they come. You open the app, choose a XAP file from your computer, and tell it to deploy, either to the emulator (still free), or to an actual device (if you have one.) Here’s what it looks like:
Where is my XAP file located?
Once you’ve built and tested your application, you will find your application’s XAP file in the Debug/bin folder of your project. Here’s a screenshot of one of my projects, for example:
Sure, you can share it, but be careful
Keep in mind that in order for someone else to run your application (without buying it from the marketplace, of course), is to give them the XAP file, and have them use this tool. What this means, however, is that you are giving them the file that you will ultimately upload into the App Hub, and sell. DON’T give this file to people you don’t trust. You don’t want to find yourself in an argument about who created the application, and why you weren’t the one that submitted it to the marketplace.
This was a short article, but I think it’s an important thing to mention. Being able to get your friends to test your application is a huge leap in making sure that your application will appeal to a broad audience, and that you’ve handled for the errors you might not have anticipated.
Tomorrow, we’re going to talk in depth about the marketplace specifically, what you need to do to get your app in there, and some of the pitfalls you might encounter along the way. See you then!