Use your keyboard in Windows Phone 7 emulator – and a caveat

Even if you’re “only” developing and demo-ing mobile web applications the Windows Phone Emulator (the “7” is gone for the new Mango) is a great place to start. Of course lots of testing still needs to be done on Androids, iDevices and what have you – but still, the WP emulator, running as it is in a virtual machine using the actual compiled Phone code, is probably the best available. It’s emulation of positioning and orientation is great!

To depend on simulators is always risky even in the best of times and Android emulation seems awfully slow. In my case WordPress could not recognize the Fennec (the mobile Firefox) desktop version as a mobile device. Apple’s Safari for Windows seems fairly true to the iPad, but did mislead me for iPhone/iPod capabilities.

However one thing I missed (or thought I missed) in the WP emulator was the keyboard. I really hated keying with the mouse on the screen keyboard until I came across this link, entitled “Keyboard Mapping for Windows Phone Emulator”: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff754352(v=VS.92).aspx – it is as easy as PgUp and PgDn to enable and disable a hardware keyboard.

And now for the caveat:

If you’ve enabled the hardware keyboard, the browser won’t autorotate if you tilt the emulator window. Remember to disable the hardware keyboard with PgDn before you use the emulators rotate function!

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