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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 40
    prof. peabodyprof. peabody Posts: 2,860member
    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?
  • Reply 2 of 40
    j.r.j.r. Posts: 27member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 40
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 40
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,725member
    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.)
  • Reply 5 of 40
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 446member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 40
    jonamacjonamac Posts: 384member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 40
    freerangefreerange Posts: 1,584member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 40
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 446member
    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.)
  • Reply 9 of 40
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,901member
    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 ...
  • Reply 10 of 40
    bageljoeybageljoey Posts: 1,748member
    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...
  • Reply 11 of 40
    jacksonsjacksons Posts: 244member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 40
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 446member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 40
    mrstepmrstep Posts: 446member
    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.
  • Reply 14 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.
  • Reply 15 of 40
    jinglesthulajinglesthula Posts: 236member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 40
    firefly7475firefly7475 Posts: 1,502member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 40
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Never thought I'd see the day when I felt sorry for Microsoft.
  • Reply 18 of 40
    jacksonsjacksons Posts: 244member
    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.
  • Reply 19 of 40
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member
    ERROR_ARENA_TRASHED



    win 7 != iOS



    type cast error press ctl+alt+del
  • Reply 20 of 40
    mdriftmeyermdriftmeyer Posts: 7,200member
    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.
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