Today at MIX '10 Microsoft is looking under the hood of Windows Phone 7 Series, takled about a new application development platform and how Microsoft choses Silverlight and the XNA Framework to deliver on a new platform strategy.
MIX 10 a three-day conference for Web developers and designers, begun today in Las Vegas. After a month of hearing little about how to build games and apps for the Windows phone, developers at the conference are being introduced to the Windows Phone 7 Series development tools and given a tour of the platform, which uses both XNA Game Studio and Silverlight.
Onstage at MIX, Charlie Kindel, one of the key thinkers behind the Windows Phone 7 Series development platform announced the availability of Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone, which is specifically designed for building Windows Phone applications and is now available free in a single download at www.developer.windowsphone.com. Visual Studio 2010 Express includes an emulator that will allow developers to build and test their applications directly on their PCs in a virtualized Windows Phone 7 OS environment. That means developers won?t need the phone hardware to get started at building phone apps. Kindel also told attendees they can get a free version of Microsoft Expression Blend specifically designed to help them build apps for the new phone. They can use it to build graphical interfaces for Silverlight applications.
During the keynote, Microsoft provided the first deep dive into Windows Phone 7 Series application development. By combining Silverlight features for rich application development and the XNA Framework for games, Windows Phone 7 Series empowers developers and designers to build rich applications and games while taking advantage of device-specific capabilities. Specifically, developers will be able to take advantage of the following features:
- Accelerometer, an intuitive control that responds to motion
- A Microsoft Location Service to provide developers with a single point of reference to acquire location information
- Microsoft Notification Service for pushing information to the phone, regardless of whether or not an application is running
- Hardware-accelerated video with digital rights management (DRM)
- Internet Information Services Smooth Streaming for high quality content viewing experience
- Camera and microphone support
To further support an end-to-end development experience, Microsoft announced the availability of tools support for Windows Phone 7 Series. The package includes previews of the following:
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Express for Windows Phone
- Windows Phone 7 Series add-in to use with Visual Studio 2010 RC
- XNA Game Studio 4.0
- Windows Phone 7 Series Emulator for application testing
- Expression Blend for Windows Phone Community Technology Preview (available as a separate download)
Microsoft also showed how developers and designers will be able to bring applications and games to market with a new Windows Phone Marketplace. The Marketplace features a panoramic design and active merchandising to increase the discoverability of games and applications, and supports one-time credit card purchases, mobile operator billing and advertising-funded applications. The Marketplace will also enable customers to try applications before buying them and allow developers to cross-promote their applications through deep linking.
Microsoft announced a release candidate (RC) for Silverlight 4, available for download today, which builds on the beta version released at the Professional Developers Conference in November 2009. The Silverlight 4 RC provides powerful media and enterprise application and media capabilities, out-of-browser flexibility and tools support via Visual Studio and Expression Blend with Sketchflow to enable application development.
In addition, Microsoft unveiled the Expression Blend 4 Beta, a design and development workflow tool. New features such as Path Layout enable developers and designers to build and animate user interface design via a new visual layout mechanism, without the need to write code. Expression Blend 4 Beta also adds support for Silverlight 4, .NET Framework 4 and Visual Studio 2010.