A Quick Overview of Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 Developer Platform

Devs can build better apps that deliver smoother experiences

Last week, Microsoft officially launched its new mobile operating system flavor, namely Windows Phone 8, and also provided software developers with the possibility to download the updated Windows Phone 8 SDK.

The new developer tools came along with a series of updates to the company’s portal for application builders, all bound together under a single name: the Windows Phone 8 developer platform.

Those who would like to get started with the development of applications for the operating system should head over to the Dev Center to learn more on what it involves, and should grab the Windows Phone 8 SDK (available on this page on Softpedia) to start building.

For those out of the loop, we should note that Microsoft has brought the building of software for Windows Phone 8 one step closer to the development for Windows 8, which means that those interested in the matter will benefit from access to new resources.

Thus, devs will enjoy the ability to use C++ in their XAML-based C# or Visual Basic.NET apps, or can even choose to write the entire application in C++, courtesy of Microsoft’s new native app model.

C++ developers will also benefit from a new gaming platform, Direct3D app, which offers low-level access to Direct3D APIs for graphics, XAudio2, and WASAPI for audio.

There are also new and expansive Windows 8 aligned APIs to take advantage of, since the new mobile OS version has been built on a shared core with Windows 8.

The XAML app model has been improved as well, with better XAML controls that can enable visually responsive, beautiful, and consistent apps. There is a LongListSelector control available with access to Windows Phone list experiences, a Map control, and WebBrowser control, as well as the possibility to enjoy control of performance.

“XAML apps and Direct3D apps can build reusable Windows Runtime Components using C++. These components can provide APIs that are directly callable from C++ or C#/Visual Basic code,” Microsoft explains in a blog post.

“XAML developers can now reuse C++ in their apps. This enables a whole new set of options, from using open source C/C++ code such as SQLite, to reusing C++ app code, to calling new COM and Win32 APIs in the Windows 8 Aligned API surface.”

A long range of other enhancements has been included in the new development kit as well, so that developers could not only be able to build better apps for Windows Phone 8, but to also enjoy doing so, Microsoft says. Have a look at the aforementioned blog post for more info on the matter.

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