Here are some easy instructions for getting going with Windows Phone 7 development.

Step 1: Remove Any Old Phone Tools

If you’ve installed betas or any earlier phone tools, go to the “Programs and Features” control panel and search for “phone”, “visual”, etc. and uninstall all of the old phone tools and emulators.

Step 2: Install the Phone Tools

The Phone tools installer will download and install the necessary components.  But it takes a while.  If you don’t already have Visual Studio installed, Visual Studio Express (a free edition of Visual Studio) will be installed.  There are all kinds of goodies that need to be downloaded and put onto your machine.  Best to find something to do while you wait.

The tools can be found on the Getting Started Windows Phone 7 page.  Click on “Download the Developer Tools!”

The direct link for the install page is here but beware this may change in the future as new versions are rolled out :)   For right now, you can download all of the developer tools in an .ISO for burning to a DVD/direct mounting.  These can be super useful for training scenarios.

Run the installer, you’ll get some great stuff including:

  • Visual Studio Express (if you don’t already have Visual Studio Installed)
  • Windows Phone 7 Add-in for Visual Studio 2010 (allows you to write phone applications in Visual Studio)
  • Microsoft Expression Blend (if Blend isn’t installed, you get a free version of Blend.  This allows WYSIWYG design of phone applications)
  • XNA Game Studio 4.0  (a free version of game studio for developing games on the phone)
  • Windows Phone Emulator (your own windows phone… in software.  used for testing applications)

System Requirements are pretty basic and include:

  • Vista or Windows 7
  • 3Gb of disk space
  • 2Gb of RAM
  • Emulator needs a DirectX 10 capable graphics card with a WDDM 1.1 driver

Step 3: Test the Phone Tools Installation

Start Visual Studio 2010

Either the one you already had installed or the Express edition that was installed for you.

Go to File->New Project

Select Windows Phone Application

On the left pane, select “Silverlight for Windows Phone“.  On the Middle pane select “Windows Phone Application“.  Press OK.  Wait a few seconds and Visual Studio will generate your new project.

Press F5: Your Application Runs

Press the F5 key and wait a few moments.  Visual Studio will build your application, start the emulator, deploy your application to the emulator and begin running.  You should see something like this.  Notice the goofy numbers on the right hand side.  These may or may not be present (it depends on the template you use).   These are normal, and they’re there for debugging purposes.   Thanks to PHenry for pointing this out.

Congratulations! 

You just created your first Windows Phone 7 application.  For some more resources, see here:

The getting started guide.

The training kit.

The Windows Phone 7 Unleashed events.