Get your PAARC out of park with this latest update and milestone for the "Phone as a Remote Control" project...
Ever since the first announcement of my "Phone as a Remote Control" project the goal was to work towards a release of the reference app in the Windows Phone Marketplace. Over the last month I've added some improvements and fixes, and I'm glad to announce that last weekend a first version has been accepted and is now publicly available – for free and without advertisement. You should now be able to find the app doing a search for "PAARC" in the Marketplace on your phone, or by visiting this web link. In this post, I'll talk about what reaching this milestone means for you as a developer, and what's in the box for normal users.
Windows Phone PC Controller
One aspect of the now available reference client is of course to function as a showcase for the open source library. To bring it to a meaningful use, one of the included samples available in the project has been extended and evolved into something a bit mature: the Windows Phone PC Controller. This is a .NET desktop application that allows you to transmit phone sensor/touch input to a desktop computer and translate it into operating system level mouse commands which effectively turns your phone into a remote controlling input device for any computer. Again, the source code for this app also is part of the open source project...
Improved Options for Developers
The more interesting side of this recent development for you as a developer is that the availability of this reference client improves your options of using PAARC too, and makes it much simpler for certain scenarios. Let's take a look at what you had to do until now to integrate PAARC into your own projects
You can now simply point your users to the available Windows Phone app in the Marketplace, and they can use that app to connect to your application too. There's no need to develop and submit your own app, you can entirely focus on your .NET desktop application
The reference client has almost no branding (it of course mentions me and the project on the about page), and by using the inherent remote configuration options built into the open source project you can still adjust the functionality to fit what your particular application needs (e.g. you can turn on and off certain input features like individual sensors, gestures or the built-in text input, by sending controlling commands down to the phone). This makes it tremendously easy for you to work with PAARC if you don't have phone development experience or don't need custom features – you can now focus entirely on the server side code in your .NET application. For more details, go to the project home page on CodePlex.
Wait, There's More
I'm using this milestone as an opportunity to add the first binary release to the CodePlex site. Until now you had to download the source code and compile it yourself when you wanted to start with PAARC, which for some was not a straight-forward experience - the library makes use of the Portable Class Libraries project, for example, which you may not have installed.
A binary release makes it simpler for devs interested in the project to get a first idea and integrate the library into their own projects. Please note that there is no NuGet release. I do not see this library as a component that you quickly pull into your projects, at least not at the moment (but I will consider adding a package when people ask for it).
This is an awesome project and just keeps getting better. This will let you build some very cool WP7 <-> Desktop apps, apps you've always dreamed of (where your phone becomes an auxiliary terminal for .Net app/game.)
Related Past Post XRef:
PAARC (Phone as a Remote Control) - A library for WP7 & Desktop that lets the two easily connect... (Think "Writing a WP7 app that connects to and "controls" a Desktop app...)