After the Node.js resource list and the list of book for Arduino, the third part of the 2011 summer book list is about Windows Phone 7. The platform is still pretty young, and there are no books that cover both the feature of the device together with some best practices and, something that is important in phone development, the developer/designer workflow. For that reason this list includes also books about Silverlight and WPF.

Core skills

Silverlight 4 Unleashed

Even if not specific to Windows Phone 7, this book is one of the best (if not THE best) book about Silverlight. One of Laurent’s interests, being himself a crossover between a developer and a designer, is making the designer/developer workflow easier, for both parts. And this is reflected in this book, where he covers the MVVM pattern, and pays a lot of attention of the "Blendability" of your application (that is making sure designers can work on it in Blend and actually be able to see data in it). A plus is that this book is printed in color, both screenshots and code syntax.

One little nuance is that sometimes the author refers back to the SL2 book. You get a free pdf copy of it, so not a cost issue, but referring back to another book is a bit annoying sometimes. Also available as Kindle ebook.

Building Enterprise Applications with Windows® Presentation Foundation and the Model View ViewModel Pattern

Written by my friend relocated to Bermuda, it’s more a dissertation about how to write a LOB with WPF and MS libraries (Unity and EF are used). But it lacks a bit the MVVM part of the title. But if you want an introduction on all the pieces and how they fit together in building a Line of Business app with WPF this is good book. The author acknowledged the problem and committed on adding the parts on the MVVM and composite UI for free, in digital format. Also available as Kindle ebook.

Still from the same author is Applied WPF 4 in Context. A bit more practical, a bit more of best practices. But on WPF, so code will not work and many features are not available on Silvlerlight.

Advanced MVVM

I wanted to get a quick overview of the MVVM pattern and how it is usually implemented, so I bought this eBook to read it on my iPad with the Kindle app. I probably should have not read this book at the beginning, but a lot later when I had already mastered the basics of MVVM (as the title says, it's advanced MVVM).

But even then I got some interesting info, especially from the first 4 chapters, which are about WPF, the MVVM pattern in general and the architecture of the BubbleBurst application. Also chapter 5, about animating transition was a good source of information. But then the other remaining chapters are a explanation of the implementation details of how the bursts happen, and how the undo/redo feature is implemented, using a task based architecture: probably a bit too specific for what I was looking for. All in all I would say this was a good 40 pages read.

Specific to Windows Phone 7

Microsoft Silverlight Edition: Programming Windows Phone 7

This was the first book on WP7 available on the market. It was available for free last year, and was both about XNA and Silverlight. Now there is also a Silverlight only, and more polished version available for sale. It's Charles Petzold approach, so love it or hate it: it looks into more basic programming stuff, like core graphic primitives and controls, and doesn't make a lot of use of Expression Blend. But that's the approach that worked for him in all his books. It won't cover other topics like notifications and generally what it makes sense to do on the phone vs on the desktop. Also available as Kindle ebook.

Professional Windows Phone 7 Application Development: Building Applications and Games Using Visual Studio, Silverlight, and XNA

If Petzold's focuses on basic and core skills, this one covers all the peculiarities that the MS Press book didn't cover. Also talks about the philosophy behind the WP7 design and UI language (Metro). It covers all the features available in WP7 in very easy to follow plot. And at the end even covers some external frameworks that make development a bit easier. Unfortunately doesn't cover more advanced design topics, like MVVM or other best practices. But so far it's the best WP7 book out there. Also available as Kindle ebook.

Any thing I missed?

I know there are also other books on WP7 around, but these are the ones I liked the most. But I haven’t found a good book that covers developer/designer workflow with Blend.