As you may know, the Microsoft TechDays
Conference took place in Montreal last week and we have landed an
interview with Louis-Philippe Pinsonneault, a local Montreal
developer. He is a really nice guy and a great
developer. I was very happy to finally meet him in person
after chatting with him over email on several occasions. If you
used the Windows Phone TechDays 2011 application (free download is
available here) , then you may be interested to know
that he's the author!
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Louis - Philippe Pinsonneault. I am a.NET
developer who specializes in Silverlight and Windows Phone 7
development and I am also an MVP Device Application Development. I
work for RunAtServer (www.runatserver.com), a
company in Montreal with expertise in Web, RIA, Touch solutions and
Mobile with.NET, Silverlight, Windows Phone and WPF, also offering
courses on these same technologies.
What is your experience in development with Windows Phone?
I have personally developed 4 applications. I also have taken
built applications such as Tou.tv (Radio Canada), and 10
applications for Sun Media (Canoe.ca, Journal de Montréal, Toronto
Sun, etc) for RunAtServer.
Tell us about the WP7 TechDays Canada application!
It all started a year and a half ago, after coming back from the
MIX09 in Las Vegas. I was looking for a project idea in order to
explore Windows Phone development. A few weeks later, TechDays Team
Canada put online an OData feed which gave access to the
information of the Conference, and this is where I got the idea to
make a first version of the TechDays 2010 application. It was
therefore a purely personal decision to build something for
TechDays and not initiated by Microsoft. But following some blogs
posts, the team gave me the green light to make it the official
application. This year I decided to update the application so as to
publish TechDays 2011 (Canada).
Have you integrated specific features from Mango in the TechDays
This year, I wanted to improve the application while exploring
the new features offered by Mango. So I used the "Fast Application
Resume" which allows you to go back to the application without
having to reload the data. I also implemented Secondary Tiles and
Deep Linking. These secondary tiles,in the context of the
application, allow direct access to the information of a city from
the home screen.
Did you experience any particular technical challenges while
developing this application?
The biggest challenge was the access to the data. In reality, it
is not the access to data itself but the caching management. Last
year, the application required a constant connection to access the
data. This year, I wanted to make sure that the application could
work in offline mode. After managing the cache, I realized that
there were some performance issues. Given these performance issues,
I changed my approach and I decided to load data in batch at
startup. This has greatly improved the phone performance and
reduced the use of its bandwidth.
What is your favorite feature of Mango?
From a 'developer' point of view, it is the Secondary Tiles, but
from a 'user' point of view, it is the integration with Facebook,
Twitter and LinkedIn as social media.
What do you think about the WP7 platform?
I think that it is an excellent platform, especially when you
get familiar with XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language, an
XML format that defines the layout and behaviour of the UI). For a
developer who already knows Silverlight or WPF, it is quite easy to
develop applications. The interesting thing is that the major part
of the code (C# / VB, XAML) is reusable in Silverlight
applications. In addition, for those who are interested in the
world of game, XNA allows to create games for the three platforms
(WP7, XBOX and PC). And now you can easily integrate 3D parts made
in XNA in a Silverlight-based Windows Phone application.
Do you have any interesting recommendations
There are many blogs on the subject. Recently, Jeff Blankenburg
has made a series of blog posts on the different Mango's
functions. There is an excellent book on Windows Phone which was
written by Charles Petzold called "Programming Windows Phone
7" which is available in paper format and the ebook is available free of charge. Twitter is also an excellent
source of information regarding Windows Phone development ( #wp7dev, #wpdev). And you can still find my
blog where I write about my experience and about some features
or components that I find interesting.