TouchDevelop — Programming on the Go

Nigel Horspool (University of Victoria), Nikolai Tillmann (Microsoft Research)
and everyone else in the TouchDevelop team

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who this book is for

This book has much to offer to both students and teachers: For teachers, it walks in detail through all of the screens of the TouchDevelop app, and it points out similarities and differences of the TouchDevelop language compared to other programming languages that the teacher might already be familiar with. For students and enthusiasts, the book can serve as a handy reference next to the phone. The book systematically addresses all programming language constructs, starting from the very basic constructs such as variables and loops. The book also explores many of the phone sensors and data sources which make creating apps for mobile devices so rewarding.

how to read this book

If you are new to programming with TouchDevelop, or if you have not yet worked on touchscreen devices, we suggest that you read the book starting from chapter 1. If you are already familiar with the basic paradigm of the TouchDevelop programming environment, then feel free to jump ahead to the later chapters that address particular topic areas.


The TouchDevelop Web App runs in many modern browsers on many different devices such as iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Macs, PC. For Windows Phone, there is a dedicated TouchDevelop app in the Windows Phone Store which gives access to many more sensors and data sources. Both the Web App and the TouchDevelop Windows Phone app use the same programming language. While the Web App is always up-to-date with the latest features, some new features are not available in the TouchDevelop app v2.11 for Windows Phone 7. Starting with the TouchDevelop app v3.0 for Windows Phone 8, both the Web App and the Windows Phone app will share the same look and navigation structure and all features of the Web App will be available in the Windows Phone app.

status of this version

The first version of the book was produced as limited version of 75 copies for the ACM SIGCSE Conference in Raleigh, NC, March, 2012. That book was based on Version 2.6 of TouchDevelop for Windows Phone 7. An updated copy of the book with 1000 copies, based on Version 2.10, was printed in January 2013. This book was made available via a Creative Commons Licence and put on the Amazon Bookstore as well as the TouchDevelop website. Much of the contents of the second book were also applicable to the Web App version of TouchDevelop, though all the screenshots were still of a phone. This third version has been retargeted at the Web App version of TouchDevelop and the upcoming TouchDevelop app v3.0 for Windows Phone 8.

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