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Microsoft aims to woo developers to Windows Phone with iOS porting tool

post #1 of 40
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In a bid to attract developers from Apple's ecosystem, Microsoft has released an iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool meant to help developers port their iPhone apps to the Windows Phone platform.

Jean-Cristophe Cimetiere, Microsoft's Senior Technical Evangelist for Interoperability, unveiled the porting tool in a post to the Windows Team blog last week. The tool comes as part of a interoperability package designed to help iOS developers "leverage [their] iPhone development expertise to build Windows Phone 7 applications."

In addition to the API mapping tool, the package includes a 90+ page guide to Windows Phone 7 for iPhone developers, a series of "developer stories," in which developers share their experiences porting iPhone apps to Windows Phone, and "a compilation of the key resources" needed to get started.

Cimetiere compared the API mapping tool to a "translation dictionary" that meets basic communication needs for tourists on a vacation to France.

"With this tool, iPhone developers can grab their apps, pick out the iOS API calls, and quickly look up the equivalent classes, methods and notification events in WP7," he wrote.

According to Cimetiere, using the tool to search for a given API call will provide the "equivalent WP7 along with C# sample codes and API documentations for both platforms. The code samples allow developers to quickly migrate short blobs of iOS code to the equivalent C# code."



Not every API call is covered by the tool, however. For the time being, Microsoft has chosen to focus on the following categories: Network / Internet, User Interface and Data Management.

Currently, the tool is limited to one-to-one mapping, but following versions will expand in scope to provide "appropriate guidance" for similar concepts. Developers are encouraged to provide feedback and suggest new mapping tools.

Cimetiere also noted that a similar tool is being planned for porting applications from Google Android.

Microsoft has invested substantial resources in drumming up support for Windows Phone 7, which has struggled to gain traction since it launched last fall. Last year, iOS developers reported that the Redmond, Wash., software giant had offered them upfront cash to port their games to Windows Phone 7.

Some Windows Phone 7 developers expressed doubts last year about the platform's future, voicing concerns whether sales figures would generate enough revenue to offset development costs. Microsoft revealed last month that of the 36,000 registered developers for the platform, only 40 percent have already published an app.

Apple recently surpassed Microsoft in terms of quarterly sales and profits for the first time in twenty years. While the Windows giant has been unable to repeat its success with the PC in the burgeoning mobile space, Apple has enjoyed astronomic growth, largely due to profits from the iPhone and iPad.
post #2 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

I... Microsoft revealed last month that of the 36,000 registered developers for the platform, only 40 percent have yet to publish an app. ...

What?

There are 14,400 apps for Windows Phone 7?

or 15,600?
post #3 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

What?

There are 14,400 apps for Windows Phone 7?

or 15,600?



40% of 36,000 = 14,400 developers, not apps. Lets keep the correct units when doing our mathematical equations here. If WP7 has reported more than 14,400 apps, then it would suggest some developers have published more than one app.
post #4 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

What?

There are 14,400 apps for Windows Phone 7?

or 15,600?

Quote:
Originally Posted by J.R. View Post



40% of 36,000 = 14,400 developers, not apps. Lets keep the correct units when doing our mathematical equations here. If WP7 has reported more than 14,400 apps, then it would suggest some developers have published more than one app.

Actually you're both misreading the sentence.

40% of registered developers have yet to release an app (to use Apple's word ), meaning that 60% have. That's 21,600 (assuming one program (to use Microsoft's word! lol) per developer as you've stated).

All this looks a little desperate from Microsoft but to be fair it does make sense for them. What I think will stand in their was is the way they cut their developers loose with WP6.5. There's little incentive to trust them again at the moment.
post #5 of 40
It's a useful web tool, but I dunno. I guess they are serious about helping iOS developers cross over. Back in the day, Microsoft half-heartedly supported OpenGL to get developers who developed mostly for SGI to port their visualization packages (such as Maya) to Windows NT. It worked. Microsoft never really cared for OpenGL, after they vanquished SGI. (Ironically, PCs have really good OpenGL implementations thanks to id Software's games and the support they got from nvidia & ATI in the form of drivers.)

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

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post #6 of 40
I love the smell of porting tools in the morning. You know, one time we had a whole app ecosystem, for 3 years. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of em, not one stinkin' C# developer. The smell, you know that iOS smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory.

Wow. What a desperate measure. It's not that they're offering something better to work towards, but they'll try and wrap some APIs. Ugh.
post #7 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

I love the smell of porting tools in the morning. You know, one time we had a whole app ecosystem, for 3 years. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of em, not one stinkin' C# developer. The smell, you know that iOS smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory.

Wow. What a desperate measure. It's not that they're offering something better to work towards, but they'll try and wrap some APIs. Ugh.

I'm not sure what you mean about the Vietnam thing. iOS apps are programmed with Objective-C.
post #8 of 40
Ah, the great whore known as MSFT will stop at nothing to try to BUY developers off and steal from the efforts of others. All instead of building greatness into their own lousy products. Nothing has changed.
post #9 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonamac View Post

I'm not sure what you mean about the Vietnam thing. iOS apps are programmed with Objective-C.


Uh... yep, they sure are. And Win7 apps are presumably mostly written in C#. (Not sure if the VB or C++ managed code stuff works on it, though that may be the case. Haven't cared enough to look.)
post #10 of 40
Apple should amend their dev agreements to say, 'if you cross over to the dark side there is no way back to the light!'

Just kidding ... sort of ...
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post #11 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by FreeRange View Post

Ah, the great whore known as MSFT will stop at nothing to try to BUY developers off and steal from the efforts of others. All instead of building greatness into their own lousy products. Nothing has changed.

LOL! From where I stand, everything has changed!
I remember the dark days when programs galore were written for Windos PCs and Macs were seemingly ignored*. Even Mac developers seemed to switch over to a PC focus once they got big.
It never seems right when I read an article about MS pathetically trying to scrounge up developers...

*I know it wasn't as bad as it seemed, but still...
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post #12 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

Wow. What a desperate measure. It's not that they're offering something better to work towards, but they'll try and wrap some APIs. Ugh.

I don't know about "offering something better to work towards" but I can tell you with absolute certainty that with their tools (not necessarily this latest trinket) they are "offering something better to work with."

From a developer tools perspective, Microsoft is miles ahead.
post #13 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

*I know it wasn't as bad as it seemed, but still...

No it was, we just always filter out the worst parts of the memories.
post #14 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacksons View Post

I don't know about "offering something better to work towards" but I can tell you with absolute certainty that with their tools (not necessarily this latest trinket) they are "offering something better to work with."

From a developer tools perspective, Microsoft is miles ahead.

Maybe, though past versions of the tools had major issues - try to share files doing UI layout where the tools were re-writing code that build the forms and checkins got hairy pretty fast even if the tool itself looked nice.

But the real problem was always the APIs. Go to do shell integration work and you're knee-deep in COM, even today. (Though to be fair, some of the types of integration are effectively impossible on OSX because they're private APIs instead of just hideous COM.)

I had years of deep enjoyment of the Windows platform, and the shiny tools were generally a wrapper over a turd of an OS & APIs.
post #15 of 40
Why would you go through the trouble of porting an app over if you have to still debug it, make C# work arounds and support it when the user base isn't there? So instead of wasting resources on porting an app over to W7 phones, wouldn't you use those resources to make a new app for iOS and Android? Or if not new, reworking an app optimized for the tablet. It's a cost benefit thing. I don't see Microsoft catching up.

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post #16 of 40
Nifty. A tool that only just begins to help you convert your app to a platform where there are no users to sell it to.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - any platform looking to compete has an uphill battle against Apple's installed user base.
post #17 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

But the real problem was always the APIs. Go to do shell integration work and you're knee-deep in COM, even today.

I had years of deep enjoyment of the Windows platform, and the shiny tools were generally a wrapper over a turd of an OS & APIs.

I'd say >99% of code that most programmers write today doesn't involve directly using COM.

You can even write Office add-ins these days without touching COM.

WP7 doesn't even give direct access to COM or the Win32 API. It's pure .NET Framework using Silverlight and XNA.

Back on topic, this is a good idea. Any tool that lowers the entry barrier and helps out developers is welcome.
post #18 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

Maybe, though past versions of the tools had major issues - try to share files doing UI layout where the tools were re-writing code that build the forms and checkins got hairy pretty fast even if the tool itself looked nice.

But the real problem was always the APIs. Go to do shell integration work and you're knee-deep in COM, even today. (Though to be fair, some of the types of integration are effectively impossible on OSX because they're private APIs instead of just hideous COM.)

I had years of deep enjoyment of the Windows platform, and the shiny tools were generally a wrapper over a turd of an OS & APIs.

Thanks. It's pretty obvious you are not using their tools.
post #19 of 40
ERROR_ARENA_TRASHED

win 7 != iOS

type cast error press ctl+alt+del

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post #20 of 40
Here's the irony: Apple allows one to flow easily between C/ObjC and C/C++ with ObjC++.

Microsoft wanting people to move to C# is neither going to attract ObjC nor C++ devs. Hell, the primary development language, by use, is still C++ on Windows.

It also explains the recent requests/whining on the LLVM lists for LLVM support in VisualStudio 2010 and wanting Apple Devs to do the lifting for ABI compatibility.

Not going to happen, though they can learn LLVM and do it themselves.
post #21 of 40
Pretty sneaky (read: desperate) on Microsoft's part. The last product I bought from MS was Windows ME....what a disaster that was!

No thanks. I don't want any MS product within a hundred yards of my iMac! I won't even consider a Ford car because of their MS Sync crap.

Best
post #22 of 40
If any of the developers were smart then they'd just stay with iOS, Microsoft's mobile platform never has been that good.
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post #23 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by christopher126 View Post

The last product I bought from MS was Windows ME....what a disaster that was!

True, but irrelevant.

That's no different from someone that has never owned an iPhone, iPad, any kind of iPod, never bought a computer that runs any version of Mac OS X and can't run iLife, iWork or iTunes... but then states they avoid Apple because they make crap products.
post #24 of 40
If there are no phones in people's hands there will be no point in developing apps for them. Sure windows phone seven is crap, but it has some potential. If nokia actually made some phones like the ones posted on engadget after the announcement I think there would be quite a few noobs who would buy their phones for cool transitions alone. However ms does not make it's own hardware and it's partners are dragging their feet.

Ms should bring j allard back and have him create a phone as good as the xbox 360 he created. Maybe even have a gaming phone like epheria play, but with xbox obviously. Then have nokia build it and put some serious cash behind it. But of course that would never happen.
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post #25 of 40
Should produce some horribly performing and awkward apps, akin to the shitty WINE assisted ports we get from many Mac game developers. Either way, another win for Apple.
post #26 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer View Post

Here's the irony: Apple allows one to flow easily between C/ObjC and C/C++ with ObjC++.

Microsoft wanting people to move to C# is neither going to attract ObjC nor C++ devs.

As useful as tools like this API mapper are, I think you are right.

It's not like C++/ObjC++ developers are going to jump all over this unless there is a business case for them to do so.

It does lower the cost of porting an existing iOS application though. So if there was a requirement to support WP7 that was delayed due to lack of resources it should probably be looked at again.

All that said though, this still isn't going to change anything much until Microsoft can get Windows 8 out an expand the Marketplace (and potential customer base) to a few hundred million Windows customers.

Another benefit would be if they could port the Silverlight environment to Android and iOS.

If the same C#/.NET codebase could be used to target Microsoft's platform (W7/W8, W8 tablet, Xbox, TV, WP7 etc) as well as iOS and Android... you might have some developers previously using C++/ObjC++ as their main environment move to C#/.NET.
post #27 of 40
How is this even legal? I thought iOS developers use Apple's SDK to make those programs. How can they do a 1 to 1 port without ripping off Apple's IP. Sure, their personal code can be ported but Apple's SDK supplied most of code for the UI and low level system calls. iOS and xCode is more than just APIs. Is this a lawsuit waiting to happen? Didn't these developer sign an agreement?
post #28 of 40
Let's see... Do I want to spend more time and resources to port to an inferior code base on an inferior platform with a forgettable user base? Um... how do I say this politely? Piss off. Microsoft is dead, and they don't even know it.
post #29 of 40
Microsoft really must do better than this pathetic zombie hooker come on slapstick if they expect to sucker iOS developers into bed.

As is, Cimetiere's overtures look more like a geriatric seizure than a come-hither glance, and there isn't enough cheap whiskey in the world to cover the stench of decay.
post #30 of 40
His name means graveyard (cemetary) and he's heading their new mobile store initiative? Anyone say doa?
post #31 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljocampo View Post

How is this even legal? I thought iOS developers use Apple's SDK to make those programs. How can they do a 1 to 1 port without ripping off Apple's IP. Sure, their personal code can be ported but Apple's SDK supplied most of code for the UI and low level system calls. iOS and xCode is more than just APIs. Is this a lawsuit waiting to happen? Didn't these developer sign an agreement?

It's doesn't port any code. It's just like a translation dictionary that can be referenced by the developer.

Have a look.
http://wp7mapping.interoperabilitybridges.com/
post #32 of 40
The french word "cimetière" translates to "graveyard".

Interesting ...
post #33 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

I love the smell of porting tools in the morning. You know, one time we had a whole app ecosystem, for 3 years. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of em, not one stinkin' C# developer. The smell, you know that iOS smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory.

Wow. What a desperate measure. It's not that they're offering something better to work towards, but they'll try and wrap some APIs. Ugh.

Wonderful Apocalypse Now twist - made me literally LOL!!!

But MS are way behind in the Mobile and Tablet space, this is no time to be worried about pride. I wonder what MS shareholders are thinking? Here there is a market of tens of millions of iOS machines, yet they, the biggest software house there is, as far as I can see, have only three free apps available - after all these years?? Surely the company could earn big bucks by selling quality apps to the tens of millions of iOS customers?
post #34 of 40
In the past, Mac users were confronted with PC ports that were slow (because of the shim translating PC API calls to Mac), and couldn't offer anything better than the lowest common denominator as far as features and optimized GUU were concerned.

This time, Apple has really turned the tables.
post #35 of 40
Maybe Parallels can come out with a mini VM for the iPhone so you can run Windows 7 just for fun and save anyone the need to ever bother with the real thing.
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post #36 of 40
Guys, you talk about how MS is here desperate or pathetic and how would an iOS developer move to the Win Phone 7 when he can do new project on iPhone and so on.

Well precisely, of course the person ding work on iOS would not spend time to convert it to WP7, some other guy would do it. And can take the existing code as a template and work on it to convert it. As it is done in all professional teams.

MS has a proven track record of the best dev tools there is. I do development for a loooong time, back then on Amiga and assembly, Atari 800, old 8086 assembly, over to Watcom C++ and Borland Pascal and C, first Visual C up to Visual Studio 2010 and latest C# 4. Used Mac Objective C back in its Carbon days when Cocoa first was launched and now latest iOS SDK, XCode 4. So really believe me, if anyone can judge, I saw it all, MS is far ahead in Dev tools.

This little conversion helper is a nice tool, for me and my colleagues and teams in companies where we work, you do the first version of the app for iOS, then over to Android and WP7, why not when client ask for it? And remember, not all products are consumer market apps, there are plenty of clients (more then there is visible for the first sight) that want an app for a mobile device for their products and services, these mainly want cross platform.

So all in all, don't just kick a tool if you are not the audience, believe me, this will be pretty widely used one in commercial development.
post #37 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrstep View Post

I love the smell of porting tools in the morning. You know, one time we had a whole app ecosystem, for 3 years. When it was all over, I walked up. We didn't find one of em, not one stinkin' C# developer. The smell, you know that iOS smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory.

Wow. What a desperate measure. It's not that they're offering something better to work towards, but they'll try and wrap some APIs. Ugh.

Was it safe to surf the beach?
post #38 of 40
[QUOTE=Firefly7475;1858701]It's doesn't port any code. It's just like a translation dictionary that can be referenced by the developer.


I can't quite shake off this image in my head of a giant syphon. Msft gives me the creeps\
post #39 of 40
The porting tool was inevitable. But I won't be surprised to see Microsoft throwing money at developers of popular apps. They threw money at people who used Live Search, their cashback search engine. Who remembers that? Anyone get paid to use it?

They also tried bribing developers to develop code for WP7 with their native development tools. Seems to have helped, as there are what, 12,000 WP7 apps now? But whatever. This is how Microsoft uses the money from their Windows + Office cash cow. To fund "hobby" projects like KIN, Bing, and WP7...

Live Search cashback: http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2008/05/microsofts-gran/

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post #40 of 40
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacksons View Post

I don't know about "offering something better to work towards" but I can tell you with absolute certainty that with their tools (not necessarily this latest trinket) they are "offering something better to work with."

From a developer tools perspective, Microsoft is miles ahead.

There are aspects of the MS Tools that are nice. And if you just touch XCode a little and don't use it day in and day out and LEARN it, then you could be forgiven for thinking that MS Tools are miles ahead. But I used MS Tools - everything from eMbedded Visual C++ to Visual Studio 2008 full time for 10 years. I've worked with the WP7 toolset. Its not much better. XCode 4 is miles ahead, but then I've taken the time to learn it.
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