Microsoft eases development for Windows Phone apps

The new Windows Phone App Studio can be used to build new apps without coding

Windows Phone App Studio

Windows Phone App Studio

Hoping to generate more apps for its mobile platform, Microsoft has launched an online tool that could allow even non-developers to create new programs for Windows Phone 8.

The tool, called Windows Phone App Studio, is free to use and in beta now. Microsoft designed it to be as easy to use as possible, even allowing people to create mobile apps without writing any code.

"We've heard from many potential Windows Phone developers who have great ideas, but who might not have the coding skills to create an app using standard development tools," wrote Todd Brix, Microsoft general manager for Windows Phone Apps and Store, in a blog post announcing the new tool.

The App Studio runs in a Web browser and is optimized for Internet Explorer 10. It has a number of templates that can serve as launching points for creating apps. Users provide addresses to data sources, such as image galleries and Twitter feeds. They can create new sections and then order those sections by dragging and dropping them across the visual interface. They can also customize the app with a color palette and uploaded images.

Windows Phone App Studio provides pre-built functionality for many common app tasks, such as saving data and sharing it with other parties. The software provides a depiction of the app on the right side of the browser as the app is being built.

The Studio can generate the app so it can run directly on a phone, or provide the source code so it can be further developed in Visual Studio or some other advanced IDE (integrated development environment).

To further aid in app creation, Microsoft now allows developers to unlock and register one phone in order to load two apps, so they can sideload and test their apps.

Developers need a Windows Phone Dev Center account to publish their apps in the Windows Phone Store. It will also let them test up to 10 apps across three different phones. Through Aug. 26, Dev Center accounts are priced at US$19 for a yearly subscription.

Microsoft is no doubt trying to make it easier for developers to create new apps in order to make Windows Phone devices more appealing to potential users.

Microsoft hosts more than 145,000 apps in its Windows Phone app store, while Android has more than 819,000 apps and Apple has counted more than 900,000 apps for its iPhone and the iPad.

Sales of phones running the Microsoft Windows Phone OS seem to be picking up, though they still trail Android and Apple iPhones by a wide margin. In the second quarter of 2013, 182.6 million Android phones and 31.2 million iPhones were shipped, compared to only 8.9 million Windows phones. That was up from 5.6 million Windows phones in the same period last year, according to data from Strategy Analytics.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileMicrosoftmobile applicationsMobile OSesWindows Phone

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Joab Jackson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?