Microsoft Windows has long been considered a good bet for software developers. The majority of the world’s computers run on some version of Windows, and its relatively open environment is an excellent platform for software development of many kinds. Unfortunately, this bet hasn’t extended to Windows Phone… until now.
Windows Phone 8 promises to change the way developers create software for the mobile platform. In some cases, software that has already been written for the desktop version of Windows 8 can be ported over without any significant changes to the code at all. This means that developers will spend less time creating apps for multiple Microsoft platforms and more time expanding the features and reach of their software. Why wouldn’t developers jump on board Windows Phone 8 when the majority of their scripting work is already done for them when developing the desktop version of the software?
Windows Phone 8 is part of a greater initiative by Microsoft to bring mobile and desktop operating systems together in a single cohesive experience for the user. Learning how to use Windows 8 means having an easier time using Windows Phone 8. Change is a big problem for many users out there, and Microsoft may well be on the right track by creating a single cohesive experience from desktop to tablet and even the phone.
Advantages of a Shared Core
Windows Phone 8 is a dramatic shift from the code base of previous versions of the mobile operating system. Not only does the common kernel enable developers to port applications from Windows 8 to the Windows Phone 8 platform with greater ease, but the added power of C and C++ support means apps can do more than just plug in to a database in the cloud or take on simple functions.
In fact, game developers can enjoy the benefits of popular gaming engines and platforms like Havok Vision Engine, Autodesk Scaleform, Audiokinetic Wwise, and Firelight FMOD. There is even support for DirectX.
Makers of VoIP applications can actually plug their Internet phones into the Windows Phone’s built-in dialer. This means a user can send and receive calls with either their phone plan or data plan without having to switch between applications to do so. With Skype being a key property in the Microsoft ecosphere, there’s reason to believe that Microsoft has a vested interest in seeing VoIP become a greater part of the mobile environment.
Perhaps the biggest advantage for developers in the enterprise world is the creation of a corporate hub where users can download business-specific custom applications without making them available to the general public. When coupled with enhanced security (another advantage of a shared core) and a robust IT control platform, Windows Phone 8 comes across as a sensible choice for developers and enterprise users alike.
Windows Phone 7 apps will also run natively in Windows 8, despite changes being made to the core.
It’s hard to look at a demo of Windows Phone 8 and not walk away somewhat impressed by what it has done to bridge the gap between desktop and mobile operating environments. You may not be replacing your desktop with it any time soon, but it’s reasonable to believe that phones such as the Nokia Lumia 920 and the HTC Windows Phone 8X may very well give many Android devices a run for their money.
What do you think? Is Windows Phone 8 a good deal for developers?