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Some Quick Thoughts on Windows Phone 8

I just wanted to provide a quick update since it’s been days since my last post. I’m in New Zealand this week, and though I’m finally heading home today (Saturday, here at least) and have been preoccupied with the events here, I’ve been thinking a lot about Windows Phone 8 and this book.

Like many of you, I’m disappointed with Nokia’s inability to market itself or its products effectively. The world’s critical reactions to this week’s event—at which Nokia launched (or, really, “previewed”) its upcoming Lumia 920 and 820 devices is sadly representative of the pro-Apple climate we now live in and of course exasperated by Nokia not announcing release date(s), pricing, or carrier availability.

Like many of you, too, I have my theories about why that happened. Really, it doesn’t matter.

Windows Phone 8 is architecturally a major change. They are moving from a Windows CE core to a Windows (NT) core. This is huge, and as big a deal as moving from Windows 9x to NT with Windows XP back in 2001.

But the reality is that Windows Phone 8 is an evolutionary update from a user experience standpoint. If you use and/or understand Windows Phone 7.x today, moving to Windows Phone 8 will be obvious and even seamless. Yes, there are a ton of excellent new features in there, but there is no single major change. This is evolution, but good evolution. Windows Phone was already excellent, so there’s no need to go back to the drawing board.

The marketing stuff—Microsoft’s weird desire to hide the final end user features in Windows Phone 8, Nokia’s silly inability to explain itself—doesn’t matter much to the book. The core changes are important, sort of, but how much time can we really spend on what is essentially background material? Ultimately, the book is about the user experience. And in Windows Phone 8, that means everything that was right about Windows Phone 7.x—which is to say, most of it—plus the fun/useful new stuff we’re getting in Windows Phone 8.

Put another way, it’s all good news.

I’ll try to write up the final notes on the Summit so I can look at updating our very raw TOC and then move on to the next event. I suppose I need to start actually writing the book soon as well. Given that so much of what’s in Windows Phone 8 is already there in Windows Phone 7.x, it might make sense to start with some areas that aren’t expected to change (or change much).


Windows Phone Summit Notes, Part 2: Demo

Continuing the basic research/note-taking stuff, there are a few interesting tidbits from Joe B’s demo of Windows Phone 8 during the Windows Phone Summit. If you’re following along with the video (on the web or via the Microsoft Keynotes podcast on Zune Marketplace), this starts at the 34 minute mark.

Lock screen – does not work in horizontal mode like Windows 8

Start screen – compares to Windows 8 slate (also does not work in horizontal mode like Windows 8)

Live tiles – intent in the change wasn’t just to make them more personal, but to provide a more consistent experience between Windows 8 and Phone. (That said, there are still way too many differences between the look of each, and how they work.) Can choose any tile, make it smaller (which isn’t technically true of Windows 8.) You can move the tiles around on the screen. The idea is to put the user in control of their tiles.

Live tiles customization demo – Press and hold to go into customization mode. Increase the size of the tile by tapping the resize arrow (in the bottom right of the selected tile). Make a tile smaller, it stays live, as with Windows 8 tiles.

Moving a small tile into what Joe specifically calls out as the offset layout position.

Consistent with what Windows Phone 7.x users are doing today. But enables much more personal layout and capability.

Delivering more colors too.  (Color schemes – there are 20 accent colors in WP8, there were 10 before)

Games still referred to as Games hub. (Xbox Games in Windows 8.)

Windows Phone 7.5 apps run unmodified on HD Windows Phone 8 devices. That app compat is part of Windows Phone 8.

Nokia Drive updated for WP8 – The large version of the tile offers a lot more information. Any software dev can do this (for WP8 apps only).

Contact card tile – History, Profile, What’s new pivots as in WP7.x

IE 10 – SmartScreen demo – full screen experience, red, looks like it does on PC (somewhat).

The Fountain of Apps web site – high performance look at apps in Marketplace – 3D, touch capable, “fast and fluid” – hw accel implemented as part of the shared code componentry in the Phone

Marble Maze game sample from the Windows 8 SDK – uses DirectX, hw accel, textures, motion via accelerometer. Game ported to WP8 – with incredibly small code changes – same DX componentry and gfx support is on both the PC and the Phone. Taking app from PC to the phone is very straightforward.

NFC – NFC-enabled ad in Wired magazine. Touch phone to the ad, NFC share notification appears. Mobile operator store could have poster of apps where each one is an app download when tapped. Business card that imports contact info.  

Very easy, straightforward

Use NFC to move things from the phone to other devices

Share contact menu item in Contact card. Is there in WP7.x. But now Tap + Send is the top choice (above Messaging, Hotmail, Outlook, etc.). consistent addition. Universal way to share stuff on WP. Tap + Send screen appears. Tap, tap to receive content from the other device. Works with many content types.

Third party apps can do this too. Game demo – Spell It – real app in the WPMarketplace today. Changed for WP8 and NFC. Two days of work. New game – touch to slate, you can play online against person with the other device. Uses peer to peer Wi-Fi so always works. 


How the wallet spans wide range of features and scenarios

Storing stuff I’d normally store in real wallet

Two lists of things  (he calls the pivots lists)

All list – Deals list

All – Aadvantage AT&T AppCenter, Chase Credit Card, Chase Premier Plus, Delta SkyMiles, Fandango Tickets, Groupon Acount,  PayPay, Prescription Savings, San Francisco Public Library

Open an item

You’re looking at our Wallet UI. It’sl like a contact card, but for a wallet item..

About and Transactions pivots

Chase app coming – quick pay, check scanning, etc.

Wallet connects to  third party apps in two ways – it exposes data from the service and it provides deep links into the app


For digital coupons – from different sources

Sort by expiration

Opens into a contact card like UI for redemption

About and Details pivots


Maps app

Looks like Bing maps, but uses Nokia tech

Local Scout – many places now have deals

Place card  - tap that deal. Deal card, new to Windows phone 8.

Can pin, save to wallet

Deals found in web searches, place cards, third party apps


Wallet again

Not using a secure SIM

Wallet – PIN enable

Always use fro any phone based purchases

 In app purchase – go from free to pro version of app

Enter Wallet PIN – keyboard appears – then Confirm In App Purchase screen (“Wallet UI”)

Can choose which wallet item to use for payment – “which card in my wallet to use for this purchase”

Believes in-app purchase capability will lead to a faster rate of new apps for Windows Phone

Demo wraps

Video with real apps for Phone and Windows 8 – uses shared code

Kevin Gallo to come out for a deeper dive


Windows Phone Summit Notes, Part 1

When I try to understand a Microsoft product or service, I like to start by completely understanding how Microsoft itself communicates the product to the world. I don’t always agree with what they highlight or ignore, but it’s always instructive. And so a big part of the research for this book will involving going back and revisiting the few public (and private) events at which the company divulged information about, in this case, Windows Phone 8. The obvious starting point is the Windows Phone Summit, where Microsoft revealed Windows Phone 8.

I wrote about the Windows Phone Summit and various Windows Phone 8 topics on the SuperSite for Windows. So be sure to go back and check out my articles Windows Phone Summit, Windows Phone 8 Unveiled, Windows Phone 7.8 Preview, as well as my many other Windows Phone articles, though to be fair, we’ll be revisiting those too as part of the research for this book.

The Summit is an ideal place to start because it’s available in video form, on the web and via the Microsoft Keynotes podcast on Zune Marketplace.

If features that are already in the prototype TOC are mentioned, I’ll note them, but I’ll only expand on information that is unique to this event. Important information is bolded.

I’ll skip the really irrelevant stuff. And these notes cover just the first 34 minutes of the event as so much ground is covered.  More soon.


Terry Myerson
Leads the Windows Phone division at Microsoft

Windows 8 is Windows reimagined

New silicon, new UXs, new dev platform, new devices

Today, previewing next chapter in our Windows story – Windows Phone 8

Where we started from

3.5 years ago – group reimagined the Windows Mobile platform

Knew there was a better way

Three principles that have guided us to this day

1, Windows Phone would be a more personal experience – an expression of the user, Start screen shows the people in their lives and their interests

2, Phone experience is most relevant to the user – Bring the experiences that are most relevant to the user right to them

3, deliver the most connected experience possible – bet on the cloud to bring users’ content to them, and store it back there (in the cloud) for peace of mind

From this, the birth of Metro and the first WP devices a little over 18 mos ago (Oct/Nov 2010)

Some stuff about how much people love Windows Phone

The future

Windows Phone 8 platform preview – aimed at developer partners

Joe Belfiore - Corporate VP, Microsoft

One thing we didn’t get done with first WP version

Core tech based on Windows CE – great for the low cost, low power phones

As phones get more powerful, benefit from core upgrade

Big announce: Future of Windows Phone is about Shared Windows Core, common code with Windows 8. What that means: Set of components that includes kernel, networking, file system, multimedia, graphics support (and “all those kinds of things”).
Implications of that shared core. It changes what the platform is about, for software devs and for hardware makers.

That shared code between Win8 and WP8 has as its heritage the NT kernel that’s in use today by over 1.3 billion people. Well tested, high familiarity for many people in the value chain, and now its all coming to Windows Phone.

Now more specifics.

For consumers, a much greater choice of hardware. It scales down and it scales up in a big way. Wider range of phones, wider range of capabilities, at a wider range of price points. New experiences that cross-over between your PC and your phone. A big change in the kinds of apps we expect to see in Windows Phone 8. With a shared common core, devs working on Windows 8 have an incredibly easy transition to Windows Phone (and vice versa). Win-win. ­

Hardware makers benefit from the shared core because the kernel exposes a driver model for many devices and components that is common to PCs, tablets, and phones. Many companies that build that parts make driver software and will only have to do it once and expose it across many platforms. Everyone benefits.

Windows Phone 8 tour – 8 new platform announcements – the foundation of the platform

Not doing: Disclosing all end user features. Just focus on the platform.

1, Latest and Greatest Hardware

Multi-core chipsets. WP8 will support the latest and greatest hardware this fall: Kernel has been optimized for multi-core chips – great architecture optimized over many years – Dual core devices in the fall “and beyond” in the future. We focused on dual core for this fall. Optimized on this. Batter life, great performance.

Screen resolutions. Also scaling up support for screen resolutions: Had WVGA for v1 (800 x 480), but now adding WXGA (1280 x 768) and 720p (1280 x 720). Picked one before to make it easier for the ecosystem. Now is right time to expand that selection. Both new ones are HD. Made sure the gfx hw support is there. All existing 7.5 apps will run great with no modification at these resolutions. End user: All the things you expect to work, continue to work.

Removable microSD support. Spans PC and phone. For consumers, devs, and hardware vendors. Different from 7.5 today because a user can add the card at any time. Transfer content from phone to card, use the card to transfer it from phone to phone. Distribution system for apps. Very natural and integrated in the Metro experience. Easy to use, predictable, and high performance. (Suggests this could happen on 7.x.) Helps hardware makers and mobile operators too. Range and stock phones that are lower cost at time of purchase. User can add storage later if they need it.

These three things will help WP8 scale up and scale down this fall.

2, Internet Explorer 10

This is an area where WP has been doing code-sharing for a while. Will have IE 10 built into WP8. Core HTML rendering and JavaScript technologies is the same on your desktop, your laptop, your slate. Web site makers can author once, test once and know that the same markup and JS will work on Phone too.

New benefits for end users, like SmartScreen. Is apparently discussed later.

For developers, big change is (better) support for HTML 5 standard and touch support, and improved JS performance.

3, Native code: Killer games

Common platform for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8

Killer games this year

Lots of benefits from share architecture – both share DX, common gfx drivers – game dev who makes great game for PC has a super easy port of that native game to phone. Scaling up the capabilities of that phone hardware too. Also cross platform portability – complex apps on iOS or Android, is now difficult to move those apps to WP. With native code, portability is much easier. Net is that we will see more apps, bigger important apps happening faster, and beautiful and immersive games.

Back to hardware….

4, Better Sharing with NFC (Near Field Communications)

Native NFC

Part of shared core – also in Windows 8 and RT – enables scenairos between phones, laptops, and slates

Both in built-in experience and third party apps – more later

5, the most complete Wallet experience on any smart phone this fall

Why we think that

Goal of a wallet on a phone – new Wallet hub has the same goal as other wallets – effectively replace a physical wallet. That physical wallet stores your credit cards, debit cards, membership cards (AAA, frequent flyer), and coupons. It lets you take them out and pay for things. Our wallet does all of that. It integrates third party services into the Wallet experience when you install a third party app. So you have one place to go to see account balances, frequent flyer information, or to pull a coupon out to redeem it.

It also supports secure NFC payments. If you have a phone with NFC built in and, in our case, a SIM from your mobile carrier that has a secure element, or what we call a secure SIM, your phone can be scanned at point of sale so that you can use those cards in your wallet to make purchases and payments.

Our wallet spans the full range of scenarios, including third party app, and scenarios like frequent flyer cards.

Competitive comparison: Other smart phone systems are adopting wallet features. Google enables secure payments by putting the secure element in the device. The unfortunate side effect of that design is that some mobile operators have chosen to remove the Google wallet because the operators want to provision those secure elements and enable their customers to maintain their secure payment instruments as they move from phone to phone. Mobile operators prefer the model where the secure element is on the SIM. And its better for end users too. Our model is what mobile operators want. Its different from Google’s model.

Like Apple, our Wallet also integrates with third party apps and services.

Partner video with Orange (France) which partnered with Microsoft on Wallet. Yves Maitre – includes Wallet video

Comes to market: Every Windows Phone includes the Wallet hub. All the benes of third party apps and services integrated. Orange first to market with secure SIMs. Working with other MOs to get that same Wallet experience. They will come later in time. Solution in the US next year. Comes online over time.

6, Nokia Map Technology

Benefits of Nokia Maps data

Windows Phone around the world will have much better detail and complete local info in Maps

NAVTEQ map data – it works offline – choose a region, store that map data on the phone, don’t worry about needing a connection – better perfo and save on data traffic

Encapsulated in a Map control all developers can use

All third party maps get these benefits

Nokia is delivering turn by turn directions and it will be included in many locations around the world

7, Business

Audience we have not really addressed enough yet: IT admins dissatisfied with WP 7.x. Fixed it.

WP 8 is ready for business

Encryption - BitLocker

Secure Boot (from Windows 8)

Sign and deploy apps in their own way, not through Marketplace – set up their own LOB app deployment

Device management – use familiar tools to mg Windows PCs and phones

Microsoft Office apps – connect to SharePoint servers

Shared core plays a huge role to make WP8 great for business

8, New Start Screen

Not really a platform feature – end user feature we’ve been working on that aligns with Windows 8

Sexiest thing in Windows Phone 8

Start screen core of the Metro experience

What’s changing

Live tiles are the heart and soul of WP

Simple but powerful


Phone becomes yours in a more profound way than with other phones

Powered by passions, interests, likes, loves, the things and people they care about most

Live tiles make the phone so special, the reason people love their phones

So special, a unique fingerprint

The face of Windows Phone will be more beautiful and even more personal

Listened to feedback to make it more customizable and personal

You will be in total control of your live tiles

Can pin stuff as before, but set the size of ANY tile – new small size of tile

No other phone can do anything like this

Best of what Windows Phone is today, but even better





TOC: First thoughts

When you’re contracted to write a book, one of the first things the publisher is looking for is a TOC, or Table of Contents. This represents the structure of the book, generally divided into sections that are full of chapters, which are in turn each covering some set of topics. Getting to a final TOC is usually pretty painful. But you have to start somewhere.

One place to start is to look at the product in question, takes notes, and see where you end up. This is a bit difficult with Windows Phone 8, of course, because no one outside of Microsoft has a device. But based on various leaks, privately acquired information, and whatnot, I can (and did) construct a rough and incomplete feature list rundown. This will have little bearing on the final TOC, but it goes something like this:

Start screen/general user experience


Apps, tiles, "deep" tiles

All apps list



Lock screen - Like Windows 8 now, Background, Change Photo, Show artist when playing music on/off, Notifications, one app to show detailed status, choose apps to show quick status, screen times out (when), Password on/off, Change password


Themes - Accents, background

Battery saver

Phone storage

Backup - App list + settings, text messages, photos + videos (auto upload)

Auto upload photos/videos to SkyDrive - Don't, Good (data), Best (needs Wi-Fi)



Microsoft account - Hotmail, Xbox, Messenger, Windows

Outlook -, Exchange, Office 365

Yahoo! Mail


Other accounts - POP and IMAP

Advanced setup


Phone app

Voicemail/Visual voicemail


People app


Messaging app


Facebook and Messenger integration


Internet Explorer app




Share Page

Pin to Start

Settings - display full/mobile versions, address bar button, delete history, advanced settings


Windows Store (hub)

Apps, Games, (Xbox) Music, and Podcasts

Panoramic experience

Categories in each section



Still no (Xbox) Video Store? (on-device access to TV shows and movies)

Personalized Suggestions - new Windows Phone 8 feature - connects Microsoft account or Facebook to Bing - suggests apps, recommends places, shows deals


Music + Videos (hub)

Collection - Music, Videos, Podcasts, Store

Music - Artists, Albums, Songs, Playlists, Genres

Videos - All (TV shows, Movies)

Podcasts - Audio, Video


Xbox Music service

Xbox Music Pass - replaces Zune Music Pass

Xbox Music cloud collection - aggregates content from SkyDrive with on-device content

Xbox Music Store


Xbox Games (hub)

Collection, Xbox LIVE (Avatar, etc.), Requests, Spotlight

4 "Try now" games, and then Get more games at bottom of Collection list


Office (hub)

Places, Recent

Places: Phone, Email, SkyDrive, Office 365

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote 2013

Add SharePoint site


Calendar app

Agenda, To-do, Day view pivots




Kid's Corner

Provides a Start screen and easy access to approved items for kids

Games, Music, Videos, Apps

Set a lock screen password to protect your phone and keep child from accessing Start screen


People (hub)

All (all contacts), What's new (social networking feed), Together (new, can add Rooms and Groups),

Room: Chat and share with family and friends (new to WP8) - has main (unnamed), Chat, Calendar, Photos, Notes pivots

Group: Stay current with folks you want to follow


Photos (hub)

main (unnamed, with Camera roll, Albums, Date links), Favorites, What's new

choose background for hub

shuffle background


Change lock screen

Camera settings (Photos + Camera still linked in Settings)

Auto Upload Apps (new) - SkyDrive preinstalled

Browsing photos - albums, etc.

Viewing pictures

Multi-select of pictures (new) - Select All, Save to SD card, Favorite, Delete, Share

Share: Tap + Send (NFC), OneNote, various accounts


Local Scout app (also part of Maps app)

Eat + Drink, See + Do, Shop, For You (new: Tied to new personal suggestions service)

Missing: Highlights (For You must replace it)


Alarms app


Calculator app


Camera app

Lenses, Flash, Front/Rear, Video

Photo settings, Video settings

Lenses - Bing Vision built-in (scans bar codes, etc.)


Help + Tips app


Maps app

Scout, Direction, Me (location), Search

Directions list, Search results, Clear map, Show traffic, Favorite places, Hide favorites, Aerial view on/off, Settings

My Places - Favorites, Recent

Settings: Use my location, Download maps (from Nokia), Check for updates, Delete history

Looks like Bing Maps UI over Nokia Maps backend


Data Aware

Previously called Data Sense

Set a cellular data limit

Compare to metered account in Windows 8


Wallet app

Get Started: Collect (store coupons, credit cards, memberships, more) - Link Apps - Protect (PIN protect wallet and purchases)

Pivots: All, Deals

Refresh, Settings + Pin, Learn more

Settings: Wallet PIN On/Off, Use Wallet PIN to protect music, app, and in-app purchases

Create PIN, Change PIN

Add to Wallet - Credit or debit, Other


Company apps

Policies for disabling SD card, encrypt internal storage, remotely delete all content and settings


Background tasks


But even in this rough state, some obvious topic areas emerge:


General user experience

Personalization – Including personal suggestions service and Data Aware

Phone and People




Music, Videos, and Podcasts



Parental Controls

Photos and Camera

Maps and Local Scout

Utilities – Alarm, Calculator, etc.

Business Use – Side loading, policies

Many of these could be chapters, and of course I’d probably reorder things a bit. But you could also condense this down to some obvious sections—not that it necessarily needs to be structured that way—to help better organize the material. Maybe something like:

Getting Started: Accounts, General user experience, Personalization

Stay Connected: Phone and People, Messaging, Calendar

Fun: Music, Videos, and Podcasts, and Games, Photos and Camera

Work: Office and Business Use

And then these things …


Parental Controls

Maps and Local Scout

Utilities – Alarm, Calculator, etc.

OK, maybe that kind of organization doesn’t make sense. The other thing to remember is that there are themes that need to tie things together. In this case, one big theme with Windows Phone is integration: You get some of it by tying services to your (primary) Microsoft account in the cloud, and some by explicitly adding accounts from services like Facebook and Twitter. Or topics like auto-upload of photos. Is that a topic for personalization or the chapter about Pictures and Camera? Both?

And let’s not forget that this list isn’t complete: What you see above is not a complete picture of Windows Phone 8 at all. There’s more stuff in there, and any one thing I’ve missed—Xbox SmartGlass, off the top of my head—could throw off some presumed TOC pretty quickly. Spending some time with the documentation and information we do have will help. So the next thing I’ll do is go over Microsoft’s Windows Phone Summit video and see what pops out. And I’ll combine that with previously leaked information, like the infamous Joe B. video and my own previous Windows Phone 8 articles to arrive at a more complete view of Windows Phone 8, and of this book.


First day feedback

One of the things I’ll be trying to figure out here is whether the notion of blog comments-based feedback is enough. Perhaps not. But … let’s see how that goes. :)

First, and most obviously, thanks to everyone that’s commented here, written me email, or pinged me on Twitter. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, which I appreciate. I should respond to a few of the more common types of comments I’ve received.

Tip jar/donations. At least a few people have mentioned the notion of a virtual tip jar or whatever. Don’t worry about that: I’ll be using parts of this book as inspiration for feature focus articles on the SuperSite going forward—and yes, I mean “inspiration,” not “cut and paste”—and so on, where there are ads and a revenue stream. I’m doing this book as an experiment of sorts and want to see how it goes. And I really care about Windows Phone, so it’s something I want to fully explore. As with the original Windows Phone Secrets book, the goal was largely about forcing myself to learn something inside and out, not to make money. As with that book, I expect to be successful at both here as well. :)

Other topics. A few people have asked about other topics such as Microsoft Office 2013. I picked Windows Phone for a number of reasons, but aside from sheer enthusiasm/advocacy, it’s fair to say that Windows Phone is an approachable, finite topic that can be effectively covered in a far smaller space than something big and complicated like Office, or other topics I considered, like “Learn Windows 8 Programming with Paul” or whatever. There will be other projects in the future, but let’s worry about one book at a time.

Rafael. I of course discussed this book with Rafael before I went public with it. Rafael and I speak every day, often for hours, and while I did give him the offer of a lifetime—something like “you can have 50 percent of the $0 I’ll make, 75 percent of the $0, whatever, it’s you’re call—he won’t be formally writing the book with me. That said, I will be discussing this with him regularly, probably almost daily, and I bet you see a lot of him here. (The “nutter” thing is an inside joke. Please bear with us.)

Publishing end-points. I’ve gotten a few questions about the formats this can/will be published in, and my goal is for this to happen in as many formats as possible (as well as in native apps, etc.) So if you need/want ePub, or whatever, I don’t see any reason why that won’t be the case. The trick, here, of course, is that the book will start happening at some point, and I suspect the first many number of drops will be whatever format only, like PDF or Word format or similar. But as it gets closer to something real, I’ll need to start thinking about those other formats. I may need help with conversion, etc. But that’s for the future.

Site template. As many of you have noticed, I’m using Squarespace for this blog, and have been waiting for an excuse to try it out. I have done less than nothing to modify the look and feel of the site, but will do so in the near future. I guess that’s not a huge priority, but it will happen. I want it to look nice, and have some sort of non-infringing Windows Phone “style.”

Other ways of publishing. A few noted other forms of book publishing, like MEAP (Manning Early Access Program) and what Ed Bott’s doing with his Windows 8 title. I’m not familiar with either, sorry, but if I’m understanding this properly, and perhaps using Charles Petzold’s new Programming Windows book as a guide, those publishing styles are a bit more like traditional publishing than I’d like. I don’t want to write 5 or 8 chapters or whatever and then present it to the world. I want to write parts and then present it much more frequently—perhaps daily in many cases—so I can get feedback immediately. So while I will be the one writing the book, per se, it will be heavily influenced by feedback and, hopefully, made into something that is more complete/concise/correct … or just “better.” I can already write a book, I’ve written something like 25 of them. I don’t want to do that this time. And if this works out, this is the future.

Compared to wiki/help file/etc. Many have compared the plan here to a crowd-sourced wiki, help page, or similar, and that’s probably fair. One thing I’ll bring to this, however, is a book structure. There will be a “cover,” front matter with introduction, “chapters,” and so on. It will be structured something like a book. I think. We’ll see. :) That said, there are issues around referencing other parts of the book. For example, in a book like Windows 8 Secrets, we will have a line like, “we discuss this feature more in Chapter xx” or whatever. While writing what I think of as a book-book, these passages are often highlighted in yellow so we remember to go back and make sure they’re always correct. There are absolutely mechanical parts of this process I’ve never had to deal with before. But the structure of this book—by “chapter,” by topic, by scenario, or however it comes out—will help drive this. Ideally, the book will be structured in such a way that one could read it front to back or just cherry pick topics and not worry about referencing other parts too much.

Hyperlinks. In a similar vein, a true, electronic-only title could have lots of hyperlinks in it for moving around in the book. I suspect this will be part of it, but we’ll need to figure out how to handle those links in the “print” and eBook versions. Maybe just traditional references.

Specific content ideas. A few people have made suggestions about the types of things that could be in the book. One thing I wanted to include in Windows Phone Secrets but had to cut because it was just too early in the product’s lifetime and the information/capabilities just weren’t there yet was the notion of a “how to transition to Windows Phone from other platforms” chapter. This should of course be a part of this book. But I’ll begin the discussion about how I view the content/topic/chapter list soon. Obviously, this one has sort of been preoccupying me lately.

Research. One thing that you may find interesting is how I cull information. One of the next posts will be a deconstruction of the Windows Phone Summit event from June which is still, I believe, Microsoft’s only major public communication about Windows Phone 8. I’ll watch the video, take notes, and show how I’d break what’s in there down into specific parts of the book. I’ll do similar breakdowns for other sources of information I already have, too, and in the future will do so from meeting notes and future events.

OK, hopefully I didn’t miss anything. I’ll be commenting inline in the comments section normally, of course, but I just wanted to kick this off in way that makes sense for where we are at the beginning of this.

I think the next thing will be a topic breakdown. One thing I’ve learned from doing this for so long is that the first version is always a mess, and will always change.