for the last 30 years i have been using a computer and the one common thread among all those computers? applications that made it useful. many of these applications were “off the shelf” meaning i or someone i lived with paid for the application. but an important part – especially of those early computers i used – was the app or software that allowed you to write your own apps or software. the first program i remember using was msbasic. my dad got me a programming book which allowed you to type in the code for applications (mostly games). later on i remember using qbasic in much the same way (only this time i could modify some of the programs that came with ms dos version 4 or 5 if memory serves correctly). by the time visual basic came around i was onto other interests (mainly how to setup a computer and make a computer communicate with other computers on a network), but whether you learned on windows, an apple, a mainframe or another computing platform, app development software has been an important part of the computing equation.
pc application #2: visual studio 2010 express
msdn (microsoft developer network) has all the tools you need to begin developing applications and these days using a browser you can access how to, code samples and virtual labs to learn how to program. the main thing i love about the eco system that microsoft has brought about is that there are so many ways to program for it (some examples from microsoft, but this could get pretty lengthy if I tried to think of all the different applications and platforms that you could leverage to write an application).
phone and xbox application #2 - http://create.msdn.com
at microsoft besides windows there was the windows ce, windows embedded, windows mobile, windows phone and zune marketplace just to name a few, but this list of 25 won’t only be microsoft platforms, applications or technologies (although with 30 years of history, that’s where a lot of my examples will come from) – apple and google both have showcased the smartphone as a development platform and microsoft now has windows phone 7 and it’s marketplace. microsoft gives developers the ability to write games for xbox (and apple has released ipad applications). the platforms that you can target have somewhat consolidated with companies acquiring others (compaq acquiring tandem in 1997 and then dec in 1998, hp acquiring compaq in 2002 and then palm in 2010, oracle acquiring sun,
there are so many platforms to develop on and many technologies that allow you to cross some or many of these platforms (some easier than others). microsoft, apple, oracle, hp, adobe, ibm, google, novell and the web can all in one way or another be considered a platform – some more popular than others (and sorry if I have forgotten anyone’s favorite platform – just listing some examples).