Fandango app for WP7 easy to build, developer says

It used .Net and Silverlight development tools for the app

NEW YORK -- Some third-party developers have been unhappy with Microsoft for complicating the ways they can port apps from Windows Mobile to the new Windows Phone 7 (WP7).

But not Fandango. The movie ticket site built a WP7 app from the ground up with two internal developers and outside contractors over a three-month period, said Darren Cross, head of business development at Fandango. He talked about the development process in an interview at the launch of nine WP7 phones here.

"We were lucky we didn't have a Windows Mobile 6.5 app," he said. "We built for WP7 [from] whole cloth."

Analysts such as Jack Gold at J.Gold Associates said that Microsoft will likely please Silverlight developers looking to build apps for WP7, but maybe not others who use different tools. The number of applications likely to be available when WP7 phones ship has been a mystery, but Microsoft has noted plenty of developer interest, with 500,000 copies of its tool kit downloaded.

Fandango used .Net and Silverlight development tools to make the WP7 application. It has also built iPhone, BlackBerry and Android versions of its software, and Cross said it took about the same time and effort to build Fandango for Android as it did to build the WP7 version, although the Android version has proven more difficult because there are a variety of Android phones on the market and many manufacturers have their own interface overlays, such as the Touchwiz overlay on the Samsung Captivate.

The BlackBerry version has been the most difficult to develop, because there are many different types of BlackBerries and a variety of ways to input information. The iPhone has been the easiest, Cross said, because it is locked down in terms of its interface and hardware variations.

Fandango for WP7 offers much of the functionality found on other platforms. For example, users can search for recently released movies, find showings nearby, and even purchase tickets wirelessly. But the navigation is somewhat different and involves swipes and gestures to access information, Cross said.

Fandango is now incorporating tweets about certain films, so would-be movie-goers can see what's being said and join in a social network experience about movies.

The fact that Microsoft has imposed limits on hardware manufacturers by preventing them from introducing interface overlays helps developers like Fandango, Cross said. Otherwise, having to customize an app for an overlay like the Captivate's Touchwiz would have added time to the development process.

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen, or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His e-mail address is

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