Windows Phone gets easy app development tool

Microsoft has launched a simple tool to let anyone without coding ability build apps for Windows Phone, in a bid to catch up with rival operating systems.

Windows Phone gets easy app development tool

The company has released a beta version of Windows Phone Studio, a web-based tool that lets developers create apps in HTML from within the browser. Though ostensibly targeted at first-timers and hobbyists, the new tool could prove useful in letting Android and iOS developers quickly prototype their apps for Windows Phone.

The tool lets developers design apps from scratch or fill in existing templates with text, video, images and other content.

“Windows Phone App Studio is about giving everyone the ability to create an app, regardless of experience,” said the company. “It also can radically accelerate workflow for all developers.”

To get cracking, app designers must log in using their Microsoft Account credentials, before deciding whether they want to populate an existing template or try and design something from scratch. The tool then lets developers port the app file to their own device for free testing. Microsoft is allowing new developers to register one Windows Phone device for testing, and test up to two apps on it for no fee. Apps are hosted in the cloud, meaning there’s no back-end maintenance for developers to take care of.

Developers will still have to take out an annual subscription with Microsoft’s Dev Centre if they want to publish an app, and the company’s currently offering a discounted joining fee of $19. Microsoft won’t accept submissions for paid apps in certain regions, though they will be allowed in the UK.

The company’s head of developer relations for Windows Phone, Emilio Salvador Prieto, said that the app economy was “still in its infancy”. Currently there are around 145,000 apps on the Windows Phone Store, compared with more than one million on Google Play and 900,000 on Apple’s App Store.

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