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!

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

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

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

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

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?