Your Apportunity: Windows Phone + Windows Azure

It’s the last few weeks of the year.  Hopefully those “death march” projects are finally over.  It’s time to lay off the Mt. Dew, at least a little, and spend some relaxing, learning, and finally do those fun side projects you’ve wanted to do all year but never had the time to do.  One of those projects should be taking time to learn about Windows Phone or Windows Azure.  Mobile and cloud computing were all the rage in 2011, and it’ll surely continue in 2012.

It’s no secret I love working with Windows Azure.   As much as I love working with Windows Azure, it can be a hard technology to actually “see”.  After all, it’s “the cloud”, right?  Without some sort of user interface, it can be hard to get excited about the benefits Windows Azure can offer.

This is where Windows Phone enters the story.  I personally use a Windows Phone and find it to be an excellent product.  It’s also happens to be a platform that is actually really easy to write applications for.  As a developer at heart, I enjoy trying to create fun applications and Windows Phone gives me a fun new environment to create those applications.

When creating Windows Phone applications, you’ll often find yourself needing to get data to your application or save data from your application.  You already know Windows Azure offers many great options for working with data, it seems only natural to leverage Windows Azure as a platform to help build a Windows Phone application.  You can access data by connecting to a WCF service that is fronting a SQL Azure database.  Or, you may decide that a NoSQL approach to your data needs is best, and in that case you can use Windows Azure’s table storage service.  If you need to store items that don’t fit a NoSQL or relational data model, let’s say pictures taken from Windows Phone, then you can use Windows Azure’s blob storage.

It’s easy to get started doing just this.  To do so, the appropriate toolsets will be needed.

If you’re looking for some nice libraries and controls that can make building Windows Phone applications that use features of Windows Azure such as storage or Access Control Services, be sure to check out some of the new NuGet packages Microsoft recently released.  The easiest way to get started is by watching Cloud Cover episode 66.  In that episode Wade Wegner and Steve Marx provide an overview of using these NuGet packages.  Definitely worth checking out!

Once the application is created, you’ll  want to publish the application to the Windows Phone marketplace so that you can share your creation with friends, family, and hopefully a few million other Windows Phone users.  Microsoft has been running a promotion for a few months now that offers developers that submit new Windows Phone applications to the marketplace a chance to win a slick new Samsung Series 7 Slate PC.  So not only can you have fun writing a Windows Phone application, share that app with a lot of people, but also potentially win a cool new slate PC!  Since the application uses Windows Azure, you earn an extra entry to the contest!  As Charlie Sheen would say, “WINNING!”

To enter the contest, go to to register, and use the promo code “MCOLL”.  You’ll find all the contents details there.  The contest ends on December 31, 2011 – so get slinging that code now peoples!

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