It gives us great pleasure to announce that today at //build/ we launched the Windows Phone 8 development story. We have enhanced the existing Visual Studio 2012 developer tools to support development of Windows Phone 8 apps optimized for a variety of resolutions and hardware, introduced ability to simulate and monitor the impact of real life conditions on app quality and also enabled native C++ app development.
Windows Phone SDK 8.0 is now available for download here. The SDK is based on Visual Studio 2012 and will be supported on Windows 8 x64 machines. This SDK contains everything you need to get started developing Windows Phone 8 apps as well as develop and upgrade existing Windows Phone 7.1 apps.
The SDK includes the following components:
- Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone – Easily design, develop, build, debug and validate your Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.1 apps, taking advantage of the familiar Visual Studio environment. If you are already using a non Express Edition of Visual Studio 2012, the Windows Phone 8 Add-in for Visual Studio lets you develop apps alongside your Windows 8 store, web, cloud, Xbox and other apps.
- Windows Phone Emulators – The SDK includes new Windows Phone 8 Emulators in 3 screen sizes (WVGA, WXGA and 720p) with 1GB RAM and an additional 512MB RAM version of WVGA for validating your Windows Phone 8 apps on different targets. A machine running Windows 8 with SLAT enabled is required to be able to run these emulators. The SDK also includes the older Windows Phone 7.1 Emulators (512MB RAM and 256MB RAM) to support development and testing of Windows Phone 7.1 apps and these will also work on non-SLAT machines.
- Microsoft Expression Blend for Windows Phone – Blend is a professional designer tool for building immersive UI experiences for Windows Phone apps and is included as part of the SDK. Both 7.1 and 8.0 apps can be targeted using this designer.
- Microsoft Team Explorer – Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) Client allows you to take advantage of the powerful ALM and Source Control capabilities of TFS for advanced application development.
- XNA Game Studio – Enables you to develop XNA Windows Phone games.
With Windows Phone SDK 8.0, it is very easy to get started with developing Windows Phone 8 (or even Windows Phone 7.1) apps. There are pre-installed templates for XAML-based Windows Phone apps including Panorama and Pivot screens as well as templates for Direct3D, SL/XNA and Background Agents, which makes it easy to create optimized experiences.
The SDK introduces new templates for native C++ application development with XAML Interop and Direct3D, and for developing Windows Phone Runtime components which make it easy to use native code from within XAML apps. Now you can develop DirectX games for Windows Phone 8 and take advantage of easy portability between Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The integrated development experience for native apps has rich functionality similar to Windows 8 and includes a code profiler as well.
Multi-Targeting Windows Phone 7.1 and 8.0 apps
With Window Phone SDK 8.0 and Visual Studio 2012 you can continue developing great Windows Phone 7.1 apps. These apps will run on Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 devices. The SDK comes with emulators for both Windows Phone 7.1 as well as 8.0 so that your apps can be validated on both these versions.
However, if you have an existing Windows Phone 7.1 project but wish to upgrade it to Windows Phone 8, you can do so with the new single-click upgrade feature. Once upgraded, apps will no longer run on Windows Phone 7.1 or earlier version devices.
Enhanced App Development
For XAML based apps, we are providing a host of new capabilities in Windows Phone 8 which can be targeted to build great apps! There are new templates to enable speech in your apps in addition to existing Panorama, Pivot and other templates, which are enhanced further. The templates are localization ready providing the basic infrastructure to help you localize to multiple locales and markets effortlessly. As with Visual Studio 2012, the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 also supports NuGet and Extension SDK for easier discovery of 3rd party SDKs from within the tools. Building XAML based apps with Direct3D Interop capability is now possible with a new Direct3D XAML Interop template which enables you to have native components within your XAML based applications.
The Windows Phone designer as part of the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 has been enhanced to include new capabilities. Now, the ability to switch the designer to various resolutions and orientations as well as select the theme and accent colors has been introduced, all while developing your app.
The SDK also includes a new manifest editor which provides a simple and consolidated interface to let you edit your apps’ properties, add icons, choose capabilities and choose optional peripheral requirements.
Enhanced Validation and Diagnostics
As we have already announced, there are new screen resolutions supported in Windows Phone 8 (WXGA and 720p along with existing WVGA). All the Windows Phone 8 apps will now be present on each of these resolutions unless explicitly opted out of a specific resolution. Four new emulators (including WVGA 512MB) are included within the SDK to validate your apps accordingly. The Windows Phone 7.1 emulators can be used as well if you are developing and supporting Windows Phone 7.1 apps.
The performance analysis and diagnostics tools in the SDK have been enhanced to include a new Simulation Dashboard tool which allows you to validate your Windows Phone apps in various real life conditions. The ability to simulate different network conditions, trigger reminders or check how your app will perform under a locked screen have been introduced.
The Windows Phone 8 XAML profiler now includes battery, network and responsiveness profiling which will help you in greatly enhancing your apps’ real life quality before publishing them to the Store.
For native apps, the SDK incorporates the code profiler which can be used for profiling function calls and identifying hot paths.
We are also introducing Application Monitoring for performance analysis of XAML based applications which will give a concise summary of performance metrics of your Windows Phone 8 apps without the overhead of a full profiling session.
Tooling support for ‘Compiler in the Cloud’
Windows Phone 8 managed application binaries are processed in the Store to improve your apps’ performance and to save battery life. As developers, you will be able to validate your apps’ real life installation and performance behavior. When deploying to the Windows Phone 8 device, tooling will automatically generate these processed binaries and use them for deployment and launching of the apps. Read more on the .NET Framework blog.
Download the Tools
Starting today you can download the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 here and kick start your Windows Phone 8 development experience with the updated MSDN Documentation. Hope to see some more great Windows Phone 8 apps coming to the Store soon!
Visual Studio and Windows Phone Teams