Visual Studio Plug-in

The RhoMobile Visual Studio Plug-in allows you to build Rhodes-based applications that target Windows Phone 8. The current version allows you to:

  • Generate an application structure
  • Generate data models
  • Edit application code
  • Build apps for Windows Phone 8
  • Deploy and run the apps


  • Visual Studio 2012 Professional
  • Windows Phone 8 SDK
  • RhoMobile Suite 4.0 or higher
  • Silver or Gold RhoMobile subscription
  • A copy of the plug-in (see below)


  1. Visit the RhoMobile vsplugin page on GitHub and click on the VSIX file to begin the download
  2. Locate and double-click the downloaded file in Windows Explorer
  3. When prompted, select only the editions of Visual Studio in which the extension will be used
  4. Click OK to begin installation
  5. When finished, close and re-open any open Visual Studio windows
During installion (and removal) of the extension, a User Account Control prompt might appear in Windows. This is expected behavior; the current version of the extension installs for all users.

Generating an application

  1. In Visual Studio 2012, select File > New Project
  2. Select RhoMobile then RhoMobile Windows Phone 8 Project
  3. Name the project, click OK
  4. When prompted, select a Rhodes or RhoElements framework (If you’re not sure which to select, read about the differences between Rhodes and RhoElements)
  5. Click Finish

Once the app is generated, a folder structure like the one below will appear in your workspace in a folder with the name you gave your app.

Anatomy of a Rho app

Adding a productid GUID

The process above generates all the files and folders to define the structure of your new application. This structure is the same as when creating an app using RhoStudio. However, ro run your new Windows Phone app you’ll have to add a ‘productid GUID’ to its build.yml file. As seen above, the build.yml is located in the app’s root directory.

Using Visual Studio or any text editor, append the build.yml file as follows:

      productid: 632621d0-5ecb-012e-2c97-482a1411c191

Generating data models

RhoMobile includes Rhom, a database object mapper (ORM) that provides a powerful high level interface to an on-device SQLite database. Rhom works hand in hand with the RhoConnectClient to enable two-way synchronization between your application and a RhoConnect server.

To create a data model:

  1. In Visual Studio, right-click the project name
  2. Select Add New Item
  3. In the Add New Item dialog, select RhoMobile Model
  4. Click Add
  5. In the Add New RhoMobile Model dialog, enter a model name and a list of attributes (separated by commas)
  6. Click Finish

This will automatically generate a folder and the corresponding files for handling CRUD operations for the model. For a better understanding of data models, please refer to the RhoMobile Data Handling Guide.

Adding a Windows Phone 8 UI

Since RhoMobile apps employ HTML, CSS and JavaScript to define the user interface and application behavior, a Windows Phone 8 app can be designed with a WP-native UI (a.k.a. ‘Metro’ by using one of these Metro-like frameworks:

Follow the instructions that accompany the framework you’ve chosen to replace the default.

Launching your new app

Building RhoMobile apps requires an account on and that the user be logged in. This must be done via or RhoStudio before your build is attempted; no dialog or log-in prompt will appear within Visual Studio.

Now that you’re now ready to build and launch your app, you must select from following build configuration options:

  • RhoSimulator builds and launches the app in RhoSimulator, a Webkit-enabled window that displays your app along with a Web Inspector tool to help facilitate debugging

  • Device deploys the app to your Windows Phone 8 device connected to the development machine for on-device debugging using Visual Studio or web inspector tools

  • Emulator launches the app in the Windows Phone 8 emulator provided by Microsoft

RhoSimulator is recommended while initially building your app's UI and establishing its basic behavior; it is the fastest method for testing and debugging web apps.

Starting RhoSimulator…

…from within Visual Studio

To launch your new application in the RhoSimulator:

  1. From the Visual Studio toolbar, select RhoSimulator in the dropdown
  2. Click Start

…from the command line:

To run your the app in RhoSimulator from the command line, execute the following command:

    $ rake run:wp8

Keyboard for Windows Phone 8 Emulator

The host computer’s keyboard can be used with the Windows Phone 8 emulator, but is disabled by default. To enable it, press the PgUp key or the PAUSE/BREAK key. While the host keyboard is enabled, device rotation simulation is disabled. To rotate the device in the emulator, you must first disable the keyboard by pressing the PgDown key. MSDN has more information about host keyboard use with the WP8 emulator.

Run application device using command line:

    $rake run:wp8:device
  • See log in application folder : rholog.txt
When running on device you may need to disconnect USB cable from device to see log

Plug-in feature roadmap

The following features are on the Visual Studio Plug-in roadmap:

  • JavaScript debugging
  • Building for Windows Mobile/CE
  • Intellisense for RhoMobile APIs
  • RhoConnect Projects
  • Ruby Debugging
  • Building for Android
  • Remote build integration with RhoHub

Related Resources

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