How to get started easily leveraging web services in your Windows Phone applications

Many of today’s best apps and games tap online information to give customers real-time data. Apps fueled by data from online weather, stock, and news services; social networking; and game playing networks are part of today’s connected world, and part of what has created the smartphone revolution.

It’s pretty easy to build these types of experiences by consuming web services that already exist, using friendly .NET APIs like WebClient, HTTPWebRequest, or the PCL library HTTPClient. But you can greatly expand your app’s capabilities by building your own web service. Backend as a Service (BaaS) providers make this easier than ever, and in many cases you can get started at no cost.

Because some of the best app experiences can be improved and expanded by consuming web services, and possibly even more by creating your own, we’re showcasing many of the best online resources to help you get going, and beyond. Here are key places to go to get started:

Web and data services Windows Phone Developer documentation

Official developer documentation

Go here for an overview of the web and data services supported in Windows Phone 8, as well as links to samples and ‘how to’ content

Web Services on Windows Phone Topics in the Nokia Developer Wiki

Nokia Developer Wiki

A great set of comprehensive posts from the Windows Phone developer community; covers specific developer web services scenarios in-depth.

Windows Azure Mobile Services Official developer documentation

Official developer documentation

Official developer documentation for Windows Azure Mobile Services. The documentation is a high-level overview of supported scenarios.

Thomas Fennel on implementing Live Tiles on Windows Phone using push notification

Windows Phone Developer Blog

Includes an outstanding, full-scale sample of a server app, with a website portal where you can test push notifications.

Network Communication in Windows Phone 8 Windows Phone 8 Jump Start training video

Windows Phone 8 Jump Start training video on Channel 9

Episode 11 of the Windows Phone 8 Jump Start training videos on Channel 9. It focuses on how to execute web services in network communication scenarios on Windows Phone 8.

Windows Azure: Get started with Mobile Services

Windows Azure Mobile Services portal tutorial

A step-by-step guide that walks you through getting started using Windows Azure Mobile Services.

Windows Azure: Tutorials and Resources for Windows Phone 8

Windows Azure Mobile Services portal tutorial

A complete list of resources on the Windows Azure Mobile Services portal to get you going with a variety of developer scenarios.

Andy Wigley on using the new Windows Azure Notification Hub feature with Windows Phone Andy Wigley’s Blog Comprehensive overview of how Azure Notification Hubs vastly simplify the work of setting up a push notification infrastructure.

These resources should be just about everything you need to start benefiting from web services, either adding to an existing app, or building them into in a new app. Go get started.

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