A “Hello World” app might not be helpful to users. But it is precious to a developer. Because as Morpheus said: “There is a difference between knowing the path & walking the path.” Making your first app is like walking the path. It clears your doubts and improves your sense of the whole process. It is also a test of the entire system. After all, a working app needs many tools and settings in place. This Windows 10 mobile app development tutorial will follow the same approach.
Our goal is not to solve a complex problem. Instead, we will quickly build a small app with Delphi’s great Windows apps studio. This process will help newbies learn many things fast. Once they are used to the software, they can expand their work. They can stretch the powers of the system to its limits. There is an excellent benefit of Windows 10 development with Delphi. Delphi can not only help you develop Windows 10 app, but you can target many platforms at once. Also, most work will be on Windows. It will make you more productive.
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What do we mean by Windows 10 mobile app development?
Just to be clear, we don’t mean a “mobile Windows 10 app”, there’s not really a mobile version of Windows 10 as such although there are some tablet devices which almost bridge the gap. We mean the process of using Windows 10 to create and produce apps for the mobile platforms such as iOS and Android. Those apps can be created using your PC running Windows 10 or an Apple Mac or Linux computer running Windows 10 in a virtual machine. Either way, you can use Windows 10 as your operating system of choice and then target mobile cell phones, tablets and iPads. In this article we’ll explain how to do this and when you need access to additional equipment or software beyond Windows 10.
How is this Windows 10 mobile app development tutorial organized?
This is an easy and brief Windows 10 mobile app development tutorial. Our goal is to let you build your first simple app quickly. The steps involved in the development on Windows are as follows:
- Install and configure tools for Windows, Android, and Mac.
- Make a blank Firemonkey app.
- Add some logic and interaction.
- Test and run it on Windows PC first.
- Optimize different views of the app for Android and iOS.
- Deploy it on Android and test it.
- Now deploy and check it on iOS and macOS.
- What to do next. Guides and links to read and learn more.
How to setup my system for Windows 10 mobile App development?
1. How to setup Windows so I can develop mobile apps?
This step is the same as Delphi’s Windows IDE setup. Delphi installs many Windows tools for developers along with the Windows compiler. In addition, Delphi may install many tools and SDKs like Windows SDK, Android SDK, Android NDK, AdoptOpenJDK, etc.
It is better to install Delphi with all the tools and SDKs. It will ensure that your Windows app development tools are ready for mobile apps. However, if you find any part of the Android pre-requisites missing, you can add it through the Feature Manager.
2. How to setup the Android system on my Windows 10 PC?
Delphi installs Android SDK and NDK at the time of installation. You shouldn’t need anything else for Android production. But if you are missing these tools, you might need to install them by running the Feature Manager as mentioned before. Now to run the app on an Android phone:
- Delphi needs a way to connect with an Android Phone. You may need to install a USB driver for your Android device. For more details, see Install the USB driver for your Android device.
- The phone should be in developer mode so Delphi can install and debug apps. It is easy to activate developer mode on an android phone. You need to tap on the Build Number seven times. You can find the build number on the About Phone page. It should be inside Settings. See Enable USB debugging on your Android device for more info.
- Your system should be able to detect your android device. On some systems, it requires installing some drivers. See Configure your system to detect your Android device for details.
Once these things are in place, Delphi can compile, install, run and debug Android apps. See Mobile Tutorial: Set Up Your Development Environment on Windows PC (Android) for details.
3. How to setup my Windows 10 machine for iOS development?
Unlike the Android setup, this one is a bit tricky. iOS setup needs more work because we need a macOS device also. In short, we need to execute XCode. However, XCode execution is only possible on a Mac machine. This is a restriction put in place by Apple. Hence, we need a Mac – either a physical Mac machine or a cloud-based Mac from a service such as MacInCloud. Either way, Embarcadero only supports and recommends iOS and macOS development using a genuine physical Apple computer or an authorized virtual cloud provider.
Contrast it with Android development. Android SDKs are available for Windows. Delphi can execute them, which makes things simple and fast. So, our two steps for iOS setup will be as follows:
1. How do I setup the Mac environment so I can develop iOS apps on Windows 10?
Now the situation is like this. Delphi is running on Windows PC. So, it will connect to the PAServer. PAServer helps deploy, run and debug applications remotely. Thus, to set up a Mac ready for iOS development:
- You need macOS installed on a computer. For full details, you can see How To Build iOS Apps Without A Mac.
- Also, you need suitable versions of iOS SDK, XCode, and XCode command line tools. PAServer will run command line tools to build the app.
- You need to sign up for the Apple developer program membership.
- Also, you need an iOS device connected to the Mac through a USB. An iOS simulator might do the task but having a physical device will be better.
- And finally, you need The Platform Assistant Server (PAServer) running on macOS. PAServer is a command line tool. You can install it for remote work. It is available for Windows, macOS, and Linux. The network of remote PAServer and your development machine should be the same. Delphi can interact with the PAServer. PAServer can compile and run programs for you. For example, On a macOS, PAServer will run XCode command line tools to compile iOS apps. Thus you can run and debug these apps. For more info, see The Platform Assistant Server Application.
For more information, see this Windows 10 mobile app development tutorial.
2. How to setup the Windows PC environment so I can develop iOS apps on Windows?
We need to set up a connection profile for connection to PAServer. Once you set it up, you can build apps for iOS.
How to create A new multi-device Application?
Now that our Windows application development tools are in place, we can build our first app. Delphi has two frameworks for building apps. VCL (Visual Component Library) is older, making Delphi an excellent native Windows development tool. However, it is usable for Windows development only.
Firemonkey is the new framework. It is not only a great Windows software maker. But, it also allows cross-platform development. Thus, we need to use Firemonkey for building mobile apps.
- Build an App
- Start a new multi-device application. (Click File > New > Multi-Device Application)
- Choose the Blank Application template. Press the OK button.
- Save the project to a new folder. (Click File > Save All)
- Put a button component on the form from the component palette. (Click Standard Tab > TButton)
- Add some code for On Button Click Event. (Double click on the button). It will take you inside the code window.
- Write this text. ShowMessage(‘Hello World’);
- Run On Windows
- Run the app (Press F9)
- Congratulations. You have made your first mobile app.
- Run On Android
- Now attach an Android phone with the PC.
- Select Android Build
- Press F9
- Run on iOS
- Make the iOS system ready, as stated above.
- Select iOS build
- Press F9
What are components and how to use them?
Ease of use of Windows UI toolkit is also an edge for Windows program development. To add some visual service, we need to add some components. Components are pre-built code that is ready to use. For example, we will place a button component on our main form. The user will be able to click this button. On mobile, instead of clicking, the tapping option will be available.
How to use event handlers?
We need to provide some reaction when a user clicks a button to develop Windows software. Event handlers make this feature possible. Inside button events, there is an option OnClick event. We write our code inside this event handler. When the user clicks on this button, it will execute our code.
Why should we fine-tune different views?
Doing Windows 10 app development, we may go with the default single view for all platforms. This view is ok for such a simple application. But in the future and for complex applications, we need to optimize different views for different platforms. It will make them look and feel more native. Also, adjusting to different screen sizes will be better.
How to test my iOS or Android App on Windows?
Here comes a great benefit of the Windows 10 apps development process with Delphi. Now that our application is ready, we will test it on Windows first. It is easier because most of the logic is the same for a multi-device application. Thus, when it is ready on Windows, it will also be ready for other platforms. However, if we test it on Android and iOS together, it will increase development time.
How to deploy and test an app on mobile platforms?
Once our app works fine on Windows, we can deploy and test drive it on Android. We already have our phone ready and attached to the PC. Select the desired target device and click “run”. Delphi will compile and install it on the attached Android phone. Now we can start using it instantly on Android.
Similarly, we can build and run it on an iOS device. Our iOS device should be ready as described above. So, we can compile and run it on iOS. If you have any difficulty, here is a good webinar on Everything You Need to Create iOS Cross-Platform Apps
What other things can we learn in this Windows 10 Mobile App development tutorial?
Now that you have a functional mobile app, you can start experimenting and expanding it. Here are some pointers you can use to do it.
1. Apply different visual themes to your app
In Delphi Firemonkey, these themes are called styles. Therefore, you can apply different themes quickly by using different styles. For more info, see Customizing FireMonkey Applications with Styles.
2. Select other templates and use the Low Code Wizard
We used a blank template to start our first app. Because it is the easiest one to understand, its features are also minimal. Later on, You can choose other templates and make apps with them. They have a lot of pre-built code in them. It will save you time. Please make yourself familiar with all templates and their usage in different scenarios. Also, the Low Code App Wizard for Delphi can create a fully working app for you in no time.
3. Explore some full-source applications
First, watch mobile app development tutorials. Then browse the Delphi sample apps. Samples are an excellent place to learn from original code. Once you know them, there are hundreds of apps available online. In addition, complete source code is available. Each one shows a different aspect of mobile development.
4. Expand your learning
You can expand your lifelong journey as a developer. Read different books. You can watch tons of videos available. But, of course, it is not possible to watch all videos. So only see those that are either interesting to you or which solve the problem at hand.
Nevertheless, you should know the kind of videos and helping material available. Thus at the time of need in a project, you can quickly consult them. See 8 Go-To Resources About Development On Windows for learning resources.
Do you want to build your first mobile app tonight?
The mobile app world is very charming. Being a mobile app developer can be an exciting journey. There are many IDE tools for Windows 10 available. You can start your first mobile app tonight. Just Download Delphi For Free to create mobile apps now.