back to article Windows Phone 8: Exceptional tools, but where are the devs?

The Windows Phone 8 SDK emerged at the Microsoft’s BUILD conference in Seattle last month. After so much hope, hype and promise, what’s new for developers? A lot, as you would expect given that this version of Windows Phone is built on the same core as Windows 8, whereas the 7.x line is built on Windows CE. At the same time, …

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Bronze badge
Meh

Well that all seems simple enough

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Anonymous Coward

Surely the big mistake from Microsoft is releasing the development tools for Windows 8 only?

I'd much sooner run them on Windows 7.

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Silver badge

ditto.

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Surely the big mistake from Microsoft is releasing the development tools for Windows 8 only?

I'd much sooner run them on Windows 7.

Surely though it would be better to develop a cross platform application which is not supposed to be too difficult i.e. dev for win8 and wp8. You then would need windows 8 for testing purposes as you could not test a windows 8 app on windows 7.

Certainly not perfect but pretty sure thats the thought process.

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Clearly that was never going to happen

For developers to be able to develop Windows 8 apps on Windows 7 they need to be able to run them, which means back-porting the entire WinRT infrastructure something which both takes them a load of effort to do and actively undermines sales of their shiny new product.

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Silver badge
Facepalm

You *must* have Win 8 for development?

That's amazingly stupid, even for them. Now, not only will more Symbian handsets than Microsofts continue to be sold as we just saw in the last quarter, but more fucking Symbian apps will be released for them too.

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Re: You *must* have Win 8 for development?

Have you written/do you write WP7 or 8 apps? Have you compared testing an app in the VM using a mouse, and then using touch? Retro-fitting W7 with WinRT aside, Windows 8 for Windows Phone development makes a LOT of sense from that single perspective.

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MIc

You can run VS2012 on win 7 just fine. Are you saying you want to develop Metro apps for win 7? that would not be possible with out a back port of WinRT

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Silver badge
FAIL

Biggest mistake made by MS.

They should have done what Apple did and have 2 OS's, one for computers ie desktop and laptop with optional touch built in and one for protables ie phone and tablet.

That way we would have a proper start system on computers and there would be a proper OS that is written purely for mobile devices and therefore runs faster with less on the hardware side.

That way developers could work on either 1 or both system like they do with Apple OS's and get stuck with the mess they have with windows. It would then have been easy to cut down silverlight etc to purely whats needed for mobile and rename it for that purpose.

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FAIL

Like iOS/OS X, Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 are different OSs with the same kernel

n/t - see title

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Silver badge

There are about 120,000 Windows Phone 7.x apps in Windows Phone Store, according to Microsoft. It would be a disaster if Windows Phone 8 was incapable of running those existing apps.

That doesn't seem to have stopped them doing the equivalent with Win8RT though?

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Anonymous Coward

Stupid Argument

Arguing that it is necessary to run Windows 8 on your desktop in order to develop software for Windows Phone 8 is like arguing that you need to run Android Jelly Bean on your desktop to develop software for the Nexus 7.

As it turns out, I have no problem developing Android software on a PC running Windows 7, and I can even debug it using Visual Studio 2010 (the code is written in C#).

It is a pity that MS can't quite seem to manage that.

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Silver badge
Windows

MS simply doesn't get it...

The main problem, as I see it of course, is that times have changed. Dramatically. Back in the "old days" we had to cough up quite a few bucks before we could actually do some Windows based programming. And before everyone now starts to go "Yeah, MS sucked": this wasn't an sole MS endeavour. If I wanted to program stuff for Solaris (back in the good ole Sun days) I also had to cough up quite a few bucks to get my hands on a native compiler.

And then Linux and GNU happened. It has caused major changes in the way people approached the "old stuff". Buy a Solaris compiler? Why bother; some cool dudes have ported GCC over to Solaris, I'll just use that. Buy myself a Windows server to get some cool Windows based network going at home (yes guys; some people actually like Windows / Windows based computing)? Sounds cool enough; if only prices didn't start ticking at $ 700,- and up. I'll just get myself a Linux box and put Samba on it!

The way I see it Microsoft really has no clue - what so ever - how to deal with this. Sure; they came to their senses where servers are concerned and introduced low priced "home servers". That was a smart move. They also (as can be seen in the article) started providing free developers environments. It doesn't support everything, but you can do some serious stuff with it (I use the C#.NET Express version to program PowerShell extensions and that works quite well).

But the thing is; I don't think they did that because of market strategy. I think they did all that purely for "damage control". You know: If a $700,- sells only 2 times you could put a cheaper version on the market. Because if a $300,- solution manages to sell 5 times you're already close to achieving more than you did before.

WP8 (and WP7) development? Sure; the development tools are free. But the rest is not; its actually quite expensive. And yes: I know they have an introduction offer right now: "$8,- for 8". Thing is: you don't simply pay $8,- and be done with it. You pay them $99,- and can then hope to actually get your $91,- refund. Also very nice for people outside the US who will get even less discount due to currency changes.

Lets see.... WP7.5 / WP8: small marketshare, free development tools but you have to pay before you can do some serious development (even when using your own phone), and you're restricted to using Windows 8 (as of WP8).

Android... Free development tools, you can easily unlock your phone yourself so that you can get hands on experience without paying a dime extra, its the market leader right now AND you can basically do your development in any environment you'd like; from Windows to Linux.

Gee; I wonder why Windows Phone doesn't manage to attract the real geeks....

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Anonymous Coward

The reason is simple:

The "since it works for Apple, it'll work for Microsoft" mindset. It really does seem to be that simple.

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Silver badge
Linux

It will never cease to amaze me

The infinite capabilities of MS to reinvent the wheel each time they release a new product.

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WTF?

Genius

XNA seems popular? Scrap it!

XAML is struggling to catch on? Embrace it!

.NET has a huge installed base? Go with C++ and HTML 5!

I can't wait for the internal wars at Microsoft to complete, so we know who the victor was.

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Trollface

Re: Genius

XNA is still available for apps targetting Windows Phone 7, and will still work on Windows Phone 8. XNA is just a wrapper over DirectX, and Direct3D can be used from a XAML+C# or VB application: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-US/library/windowsphone/develop/jj207012(v=vs.105).aspx .

XAML was the only way to declare the user interface for Windows Phone 7, so anyone already targetting it is familiar, though the syntax and object model are different due to the WinRT runtime rather than Silverlight. XAML is also the way that WPF user interfaces are declared (with another different object model, that Silverlight was derived from). Basically, every new Microsoft user interface technology since Windows Forms has used XAML.

On Windows Phone 8, you CAN use C# or VB to write an application, there is no requirement to use C++. The difference is that C++ is now possible on Windows Phone 8, which it wasn't on 7. HTML5 apps are only possible through PhoneGap or some other container that hosts a WebBrowser control; WinJS (from Windows 8) is not available.

Apart from that, you're completely correct...

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Stop

Author has fundamentally misunderstood

"Microsoft also had to keep the Silverlight-based XAML - Microsoft’s XML-based language for defining a user interface – rather than replacing it with the native code XAML used by Windows 8, although the Silverlight name is no longer spoken."

No. Windows Phone 8's own 'native' environment is WinRT, the same as desktop Windows 8. A slightly subsetted and supersetted WinRT, but still the XAML syntax is the same and the object model is the same. Projects targetting Windows Phone 8 only will use the phone version of WinRT.

The Silverlight and XNA environments are still there for Windows Phone 7 compatibility ONLY. They are not enhanced. They will not be enhanced. It's likely that a future version of Windows Phone will drop support for them - but while a substantial WinPhone 7 installed base exists, developers may want to stick with something compatible, to increase their potential audience, if they don't want to produce two versions of their app.

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