Today we are announcing the TouchDevelop Web App Preview, available at touchdevelop.com/app: a development environment for mobile and web applications that runs directly in your browser. You can quickly create fun games and useful tools. TouchDevelop’s editor and programming language have been designed for devices with touchscreens, but you can also use a keyboard or a mouse. You can turn your scripts into true Windows Phone and Windows 8 apps and sell them in the store.
This is a Preview, so not all features from the TouchDevelop app for Windows Phone are available yet. The Web App currently runs in Internet Explorer 10 and in other browsers on devices with 7-inch (178mm) screens or bigger. UPDATE: the 7-inch limitation is has been removed, and the Web App now runs on smartphones as well.
why TouchDevelop in your browser
Maybe you already started writing scripts with the TouchDevelop app for Windows Phone, and you want to edit them on a bigger screen. Maybe you just want to start learning programming using a fresh mobile-oriented language, and a browser-based approach works best for you. We believe that mobile devices with touchscreens are not only great tools to consume, but also to produce fun games and useful tools.
a rich programming experience
You can manage your own scripts, and browse other people’s scripts.
A script contains actions, variables, events. You can edit them in your browser.
If you have a real keyboard on your device, you can also just start typing. If you just type some words about what you want to do, TouchDevelop will try to synthesize the right code for you. You can navigate with your cursor keys.
When your script maintains global variables, all state gets persisted in your browser’s storage.
synchronize your devices
All TouchDevelop client apps (Windows Phone app, Web App Preview) use the touchdevelop.com cloud service to publish and query scripts and other data. When you log in with the same credentials in either app, all of your scripts will get synchronized between all platforms and devices.
create true Windows 8 Store apps
In the Web App, edit a script and navigate to the script properties of an installed script that you created. You will find buttons “create Windows Store app” and “create Windows Phone Store app”.
Not all devices and browsers support all TouchDevelop APIs. Each built-in API is tagged with whether it uses Accelerometer, Orientation, Calendar, Camera, Compass, Gyroscope, Home, Location, Maps, Media, Microphone, Motion, Contacts, Phone, Radio. When you browse the script bazaar in the hub, depending on your actual device and browser, some scripts may be shown in gray and with a yellow warning that the script uses APIs that are not available on your platform. When you edit a script, you can select your target platform (capabilities) in the script properties — this is an editor preference, and does not determine how a script will appear in the script bazaar, as that is computed based on the actual APIs that a script uses. (You might remember that, somewhat orthogonal to platform capabilities, the Windows Phone app has another concept of capabilities which is used to identify possible information leaks.)
Even if your device has an accelerometer, Internet Explorer 10 and some other browsers do not expose it out of the box. We have, therefore, added an emulation mode: When a script reads out the accelerometer, you can simulate different angles by clicking on the screen with your mouse. You will see that the screen twists in a subtle way as feedback that you are using the accelerometer emulation.
basic editor operation, voice, 6 minutes
basic editor operation, subtitles, 3 minutes
advanced editor operation, subtitles, 4 minutes
not everything is implemented yet…
In this Web App Preview, not all APIs are implemented yet. You will get notified about this problem when you run a script. We are logging which APIs are most missing. Feel free to drop us a note if you are missing a particular API dearly. Even if TouchDevelop does not indicate that some APIs are not implemented, expect that some functions still don’t work yet.
The following phone app functions are not yet available in the Web App: Viewing of leaderboards. Accessing old learning materials. Accessing list of users (go here as a workaround). Tiles. Receiving live notifications. Viewing information flow. In-place update of scripts.
We are working on implementing all features of the Windows Phone app into the Web App. In addition, we are planning to roll out some other new exciting features over time:
- innovative user interface designer
- tag records as “cloud” to create distributed applications with a single button tap (or click)
- maintain artwork for scripts on touchdevelop.com