by December 3, 2012 0 comments

Microsoft announced at their //BUILD/ conference the launch of the Windows Phone 8 development platform. Existing Visual Studio 2012 developer tools have been enhanced to support the development of Windows Phone 8 apps which can be optimized for a variety of resolutions and hardware. The ability to simulate and monitor the impact of real-life conditions on app quality has been introduced and native C++ app development is also enabled.

Windows Phone SDK 8.0 is now available for download at . The SDK is based on Visual Studio 2012 and will be supported on Windows 8 x64 machines. This will mean that a 32-bit Windows won’t do. This SDK contains all tools necessary 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: Used to 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. What this means for developers working on Intel-based systems is that using a Core 2 Duo or Core 2 Quad won’t do. As far as Intel-based systems are concerned, they will need to go for processors based on the Nehalem architecture (such as some of the Core i3/i5/i7 range). For AMD-based systems, they will need to go for processors which support what AMD terms as RVI (Rapid Virtualization Indexing). 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 rich 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 ALM and Source Control capabilities of TFS for advanced application development.

– XNA Game Studio: Enables you to develop XNA Windows Phone games.

Getting started

Windows Phone SDK 8.0 makes it 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.

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The SDK introduces new templates for native C++ application development with XAML Interop and Direct3D, and for developing Windows Phone Runtime components. 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.

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Multi-Targeting Windows Phone 7.1 and 8.0 apps

With Windows Phone SDK 8.0 and Visual Studio 2012 you can continue developing Windows Phone 7.1 apps. These apps will run on Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 devices.

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.

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