Building my own To-Do List App: Where to Start?


  • Hello all,

    Sorry for the very generic title, but I'll admit I'm a bit disoriented with the Windows development environment and at this point I don't know what I don't know.

    To get right to the point: My near-term goal is to program some apps for my own personal use on my Surface.  My problem is that I'm overwhelmed by the number of options for developing in the Windows-related world.  Specifically, I'd like to start out by making my own To-Do list app that works on my Surface, but could also be resized/adjusted to fit on a Windows Phone without having to start over from scratch.  Where should I start with a project like this?  I feel confident that I can teach myself if I'm pointed to the right materials, but I don't know what the right materials are right now.


    P.S.  I'm post-scripting this because it isn't directly pertinent to my question, but I do think it might be helpful to portray what the landscape looks like to a beginner:

    To build iOS apps, it seems that one learns Swift and programs using xCode.  There are hundreds of tutorials on sites like Udemy showing the way.  iOS is totally separate from Mac OS.  Things are pretty straightforward.

    In contrast, there are separate versions of Visual Studio for Windows, Windows Desktop, and Web, each of which accept multiple languages.  There is also a Windows App Studio.  There is the Dev Center (https://dev.microsoft.com), but also the Microsoft Developer Network (https://msdn.microsoft.com/) and App Studio (https://appstudio.windows.com).  Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone are merging into Windows 10 with universal apps, but I'm not sure what that means with respect to developing apps.  I know that I could write a more desktop-style app that saves data in all sorts of files and folders, but have no idea if I can (or should!) try to translate that style of programming to mobile devices to include tablets and phone.

    Perhaps I am missing something, or overcomplicating this.  Is the iOS world really so simple?  Is mobile Windows development really this complicated?  I could be wrong on these points, in which case I would appreciate that feedback too.  

    Saturday, January 31, 2015 3:35 AM

All replies

  • It sounds like you're massively complicating things :) You have choices so you can write apps in the style that best fits your knowledge and background, but none of them are wrong if you're starting from scratch.

    Go here to get started: Get started which will lead you to Create your first app and Create your first Windows Store app using C# or Visual Basic

    You'll want Visual Studio Community Edition and will write a Universal app to run on both Windows Store and Windows Phone (Community Edition can also target desktop apps, web apps, etc.)

    You can cloud enable your ToDo app with Azure Mobile Services. The default tutorial for that is a ToDo app.

    Saturday, January 31, 2015 4:13 AM
  • Rob,

    Thanks for the quick reply!

    I completed all the material you linked before I went looking for third party tutorials on sites like Udemy and TeamTreehouse.  It's disheartening to search "Windows 8 App Development" and get nothing but page after page of iOS8 app tutorials.

    I came across this link and I think I'll be starting it next.  It seems a little dated, but it's the closest tutorial I've found to the specific project/skills I want to start learning.  I'm also hoping that this link is worth the time it's going to take to watch and follow along.

    I've always had an interest in programming but my education and career took me a different direction, and now I'm trying to get back to something I'm interested in but unfortunately have little foundation in.

    I want to make sure I'm coming across correctly.  I'm not complaining about how many options I have developing in Windows vs iOS.  In fact, that customizability it what I want.  However, to draw a crude analogy, when one builds a car, he knows he needs an engine, a transmission, 4 wheels, and a chassis.  These items aren't interchangable.  When I see Java, C#, SilverLight, XAML, XML, CSS, SQL, etc, I'm not sure which is which.  I just finished a demo of using C# to pull data from SQL, but I'm pretty sure Phone apps don't store their data in SQL.  I know a lot of this will come with experience, but a guide that roughly helps me figure out what I should be learning, when, and why would be very helpful, if such a thing even exists!


    Saturday, January 31, 2015 3:06 PM