Windows Phone App Studio: an easy way to create your first Windows Phone 8 app
If you ask a group of people which is the best mobile phone, you’ll receive a variety of answers. Search the blogs and the review sites and the picture won’t become much clearer. About the only thing most people agree on is that the availability of a large number of useful apps is vitally important to the success of any smartphone.
App availability is a chicken-and-egg scenario, since people won’t buy a smartphone that isn’t supported by a decent number of apps, and programmers aren’t going to write apps for a smartphone nobody wants.
It’s a simple-to-use web app that allows you to knock out an app in no time at all
Manufacturers get around this by “seeding” the app marketplace for their phone, writing their own apps, and offering software houses encouragement to port their existing catalogue to a new phone. These measures get them only so far, however. They need to provide a way for developers to write apps easily – and quickly – that will encourage a wave of new apps, and therefore spur phone sales.
Windows Phone 8 lags behind iOS and Android, but it’s been making up ground recently. Those who use one are generally impressed. However, while a reasonable number of apps is available for the platform, far more are needed. Such apps are usually written using a copy of Visual Studio with the Windows Phone 8 software-development kit installed. The Express version of both tools is free, but they must be run on Windows 8.
App development being as difficult as it is, Microsoft felt that a tool for easily building simple apps – perhaps as a mock-up of a more complex product – would be useful, particularly if it were easy enough for non-programmers to use. Called Windows Phone App Studio, it comes in the form of a simple-to-use web app that allows you to knock out an app in no time at all. It probably won’t be of a level to make you a fortune, but you can export it to Visual Studio for further enhancement.
The sample projects are very similar visually, basically involving the construction of a small catalogue app for various product types, but it gets you started, and no doubt the range of supported app types will expand. If you want to write a Torchlight app, however, you’re on your own – for now, at least.
Check out Windows Phone App Studio here. It’s best to use it in Internet Explorer, since it’s still in beta, but it seems to work fine in other browsers, too.