Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Building a cross platform solution for Windows Phone and Windows 8. Part II: The class library approach

Previous parts in this series:

Part 0: Intro

Part I: Quick sharing of code

In the previous part of this series, you learned about linked files. While these are a good technique for quickly sharing pieces of code of your application, I prefer using a class library for shared functionality. The problem is however, you cannot use a regular class library in Windows Phone or Windows 8. What you can use though is a portable class library. This is a special kind of class library that makes it possible for you to target multiple platforms.

What you will get when using a portable class library is the greatest common divisor between platforms of functionalities you will be able to use.

For creating one, you can chose 'Portable Class Library' as a project template.

When creating the PCL you will get an additional pop up asking you for the platforms you wish to target with your portable class library.

In our case choosing Windows Phone and Windows 8 will suffice. For Windows Phone you might also choose to target at least version 7.5 or 8. The higher the version you choose the more possibilities you will have in your portable class library. This is due to the fact that Windows Phone 7 doesn't support the entire .Net framework, so you will bump into some coding restrictions when specifying Windows Phone 7. I myself, most of the time, choose at least version 7.5, just for convenience and since I assume most Windows Phone 7 users will have by now upgraded to this free version.

So, now we have a place to put all of our shared code. But, what will this shared code be? It's not like we can put the code behind pages of the XAML files in this class library. So we will have to take the not so conventional path and make use of an additional pattern which will make it possible for us to put the business logic of our application in the shared class library. This pattern will be the MVVM pattern, since it can very easily be used in databinding scenarios and since it gives us a reactive user interface with INotifyPropertyChanged. This will be explained in the next part of this series.

You can find additional information on Portable Class Libraries here.

Other parts in this series:

Part 0: Intro
Part I: Quick sharing of code
Part II: The class library approach
Part III: We need a pattern
Part IV: Mocking out the differences
Part V: Event to command
Part VI: Behaviors for coping with orientation changes
Part VII: Tombstoning

No comments:

Post a Comment