Free Microsoft Windows Phone 7 developer tools released

Developers can now create software for upcoming Microsoft phones, but delivery method is still unknown

Microsoft Monday announced at its MIX 10 conference the immediate release of free versions of its core development tools, all designed to get developers off to a fast start building applications for Windows Phone 7 smartphones.

Developers can download to a Windows PC Microsoft's Visual Studio 2010, Silverlight 4 multimedia toolkit, and the just-announced beta release of Expression Blend 4, a GUI-oriented design and code-generating toolkit. All come with an emulator running the full Windows Phone 7 operating system, so developers don't have to wait for the first hardware devices, which could appear in October.

From sneakers to smartphones: The man behind Microsoft's Windows Phone design

Developers with existing experience with Microsoft's PC tools can at once be productive in shifting applications to the phone or building new ones, including games with the new XNA Game Studio 4. Microsoft executives recited the mantra that developers can build an application once and then run it, with some minor adjustments for resolution and other features.

But many questions were left unanswered during an opening session at the event, including how Microsoft will structure its online Windows Phone marketplace, where developers can publish and sell their applications. Also unclear is exactly how developers can integrate their applications with WP7 hubs, which are visual locations on the user interface where like content is grouped, such as photos or music, and common tasks and features are enabled.

Such integration is possible, demonstrated by a number of new third-party applications demonstrated on stage.

One is Associated Press Mobile, a news reader for the AP Web site. The demonstration showed the application behaving like any other WP7 program. It shows top news stories, associated with photos, with options to share and comment. A "breaking news" popup at the bottom of the screen indicated the notifications capability of the redesigned operating system: depending on the application, users can configure a range of notifications, which are sent whether the phone is on or not.

Microsoft officials stressed the role Silverlight 4 will play on WP7 devices. Working with a group of handset makers, Microsoft created a hardware specification for WP7 phones. That includes the graphics horsepower, which Silverlight exploits, to create smooth, fluid UI features, without any compromise.

"This is full Silverlight," said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president, Microsoft's developer division. "It's the same code, the same tools, and the same programming model on the phone."

Coupled with Bing Maps, Silverlight can be used to embed interactive maps associated with a link in a tweet, for example: the interactive map pops up, you can pan, zoom and see where your contacts are nearby, and even get directions to them, as demonstrated onstage by Seesmic, an application for managing Twitter accounts and streams. Seesmic had been available only for Android and BlackBerry phones but has now been ported to Windows Phone 7.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags MicrosoftWindows Phone 7 Series

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

John Cox

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?