First Mobile Development Experience

After announcing that I’m going to leave SharePoint, I’ve had the rare opportunity to choose a brand new career at the ripe age of… more than 25.

Note: I’m still 26 years old. I’ve been for many years.

One opportunity that arose through an awesome client is mobile development. It’s been a somewhat mysterious space to me since its inception, but some of my best friends whose opinions I value greatly tell me it’s a nice space so there you go.

My first impression is that this could actually be far easier than I thought. The huge issue has been building a dev environment and understanding the various processes and tools required. Because I’m no longer constrained with the somewhat quirky SharePoint development experience, I can be bleeding edge on everything, and bleeding edge right now is Windows 10 and Visual Studio 2015. Which is a nightmare, but hey, that’s what you get for using pre-release software.

Once that was done a couple of days ago, however, I immediately dived into not doing mobile development at all. Because, you know, the best way to do mobile development is not to do it at all.

To elaborate, I’ve always been a proponent of building extensible and reusable components. I did so with SP SIN, which started out as a way of adding a style sheet to a master page and turned into a full-featured SharePoint app store that crosses versions and app platforms. I’ve done so with Magick, which started as a way to avoid redeploying WSPs and turned into the framework to end all SharePoint deployment issues. In fact, I did so with NB2, a project several decades ago, that started as a way to extend server-side includes in CGI and ended up as an extremely extensible framework for building content publishing applications.

You can say extensibility is in my blood.

So, when I started to look at something to do in mobile development, the first thought was to build a core portable library for Wizh.NET to allow building of ISENG clients more rapidly.

Note: For those not paying attention, Wizh.NET is my new platform for interactive stories and games, and ISENG is the backing format. Extremely extensible, of course.

By doing so, I can basically encapsulate all the nitty-gritty details of supporting various ISENG features, including extensions, in one core library and then deploy that library through .NET-capable devices through for example Xamarin for mobile platforms.

Lo’ and behold, my first Windows Phone app.

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Yeah, yeah, it’s mighty impressive, I know, but it should be noted a few things to make this slightly cooler for the non-initiates.

First, what you’re seeing is a rendering of an interactive story created on Wizh.NET, so it’s an example of a cross-platform use of ISENG. Second, the library supports any extension to ISENG (you’d need to write your own rendering and behavior of the extensions, of course). Third, this app took the better part of 15 minutes to create once I knew how to write a Windows Phone app.

Here’s the console application version of the same story using the same library binaries reading the same ISENG file.

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The story, incidentally, is the one I use in the Wizh.NET tutorial over at the Wizhblog.

So, by doing the backend stuff first, and doing it right, I now have the ability to churn out clients quickly, which means less mobile development and more doing the cool stuff I really like.

Feel free to tag along for more on my mobile development experiences. I’ll be writing less and less about SharePoint from now on, methinks 🙂

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Bjørn Furuknap

I previously did SharePoint. These days, I try new things to see where I can find the passion. If you have great ideas, cool projects, or is in general an awesome person, get in touch and we might find out together.

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