Microsoft Finalizing Windows Phone 7 Tools, Marketplace

Microsoft announced plans to deliver final Windows Phone 7 development tools on Sept. 16. The company says there have been more than 300,000 downloads of the Windows Phone tools.

Microsoft announced plans to deliver final Windows Phone 7 development tools in September, as the company gears up for an October launch of its Windows Phone Marketplace ahead of actual Windows Phone 7 devices hitting the shelves.

In an Aug. 23 blog post, Brandon Watson, director of developer experience for Windows Phone 7, said Microsoft will ship the final version of its Windows Phone 7 developer tools on Sept. 16. Watson also said there have been more than 300,000 downloads of the Windows Phone developer tools to date, which suggests that there could be an abundance of Windows Phone 7 apps available for the phones when they become available. The Windows Phone developer tools have been in beta for several months.

Moreover, in his post, Watson said: "All developers will have equal opportunity to capitalize on the first mover advantage of having their apps or games ready at launch. In order to do that, there are a few things developers will need to do:

  • Register at the marketplace today
  • Finish your application or game using the beta tools
  • Download the final Windows Phone Developer Tools when they are released on Sept. 16
  • Recompile your app or game using the final tools
  • Have your XAP ready for ingestion into the marketplace in early October when it opens

Watson acknowledged that the final tools will likely have some minor breaking changes from the beta tools, so developers may have to fix some bugs that arise. "The final tools will also include several highly requested Silverlight controls which will make it even easier for developers to deliver high quality Windows Phone 7 experiences," he said. "Also in the Sept. 16 final release, the panorama, pivot and Bing maps controls will all be available to drop into applications."

In addition, Watson said Microsoft has updated its Windows Phone Marketplace policies. "Further, in the coming weeks we will be conducting a limited beta test cycle of our app submission and certification process," he said. "We're also working on significant changes to our developer portal that reflects feedback from the community. In those changes, you'll see enhancements meant to simplify and streamline the path for developers to get the information they need."

Watson said Microsoft has been working with a broad group of application and game developers, including: Adenclassifieds; Allocine (including sister brands: Screenrush, Filmstarts, Sensacine); APPA Mundi; Artificial Life; eBay; Esurance Insurance Services; Flixster; Intelligent Touch Solutions; Jobsite UK (Worldwide); Kelley Blue Book; Le Figaro group; My Interactive Limited; Open Table; Pageonce; Panoramic Software; Photobucket; Real Estate Search; Red Badger Consulting; rising systems networks GmbH; Seesmic; Sequence Collective; TBS Field Mobility Solutions; The Associated Press; Touchnote; Trip Mate; Tx3 Solutions; vente-priv??«; Viadeo S.A.

"Lastly, we aren't just building a marketplace to deliver apps and games, but rather testing and certifying every one for quality and performance - all the while maintaining a fully open and transparent process to support the developer and their Marketplace success," Watson said in his post. "Our rich developer ecosystem is creating a variety of quality apps and games that take advantage of the phone's unique features and design."

Meanwhile, in related news, Microsoft's XNA Creator Club announced a new set of educational materials on Aug. 23. A statement on the XNA Creators Club site, said:

"Today, we've launched a whole new area on our site completely dedicated to helping all our amazing creators learn about developing games for Windows Phone 7! Our Getting Started page under the Education section of our main navigation bar now leads to a series of developer education content that will help you learn how to -Create Games for Windows Phone 7!'"

The series kicks off with:

2D Touch Game Lab (Catapult Wars)

2D Graphics Sample

2D Particles Sample

Sound + Music Sample

Landscape/Portrait Orientation Sample

2D Asset Types Article

Gestures Article

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