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Windows Phone 8 Developer Platform Is Here

Shunning the formal press announcement route for this week's news, Microsoft has blogged somewhat informally to release details of the Windows Phone 8 Developer Platform.

A new SDK arrives along with a refreshed Dev Center, which is currently now open for Windows Phone 8 app submissions.

Announced to the developer cognoscenti at Microsoft's BUILD 2012 conference, the firm has detailed a "common core", which aligns its phone platform to that of the newly arrived desktop/tablet mobile-centric Windows 8 itself.

Windows Phone developer platform manager and blogger Kevin Gallo explained that this move to the common core meant that almost every major underlying subsystem had to change.

"For example, for the .NET Framework, we moved from using .NET CF to Core CLR, two different versions of the Framework that forked from each other over five years ago. This gives developers far more capability," writes Gallo.

Developer Investment

Microsoft explains that this work should be viewed as an "investment" which, in turn, is intended to allow developers to take advantage of support for native C++ programming, familiar tools, and common APIs to target phones, PCs, and tablets for an estimated combined opportunity of roughly 500 million units next year.

Even Gallo couldn't focus his comments on the command line for too long, and his blog quickly shifts to his excitement regarding the new Start screen, customizable Live Tiles, and other "innovative" new features such as Lenses, NFC support, plus custom app notifications and wallpaper on the lock screen.

Returning to the developer opportunity, Gallo says that this was the easy part. "You told us you wanted native code, in-app-purchase, and more ways to reuse and port code — done, done, and done."

"I hope you'll take this opportunity to learn about the new platform and its capabilities by installing the new SDK. If you've already got an app, now is the time to start doing things like adding large tile support (to take advantage of the extra Start screen real estate and show more info on the tile) and experimenting with native code," enthused Gallo.

The revamped Dev Center has plenty of developer guidance and info on local Developer Camps where you can get one-on-one hands-on time with Microsoft experts.

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