Microsoft Hopes to Tap iOS Developer Momentum with Windows Phone 7 Migration Tool

Microsoft delivers a new tool to help iOS developers migrate iPhone applications to the Windows Phone 7 platform.

Hoping to tap into the momentum of developers building applications for the Apple iPhone, Microsoft has launched a new tool to help migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone 7.

Microsoft, on April 29, launched Microsoft its iPhone/iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool, which is like a translation dictionary, said Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, a Microsoft senior evangelist for interoperability, on The Windows Blog.

"For example, let's say that you're planning a vacation to France," Cimetiere said. "Since you don't speak the language, you'll bring a pocket travel dictionary. Having this tool will surely help you to get some idea about what you are ordering from a restaurant menu, but you'll have no idea what the actual recipe is, nor will you be able to have a conversion in French with the server. But that's a great learning tool to make the first steps."

Moreover, with this tool, iPhone developers can grab their applications, pick out the iOS API calls, and quickly look up the equivalent classes, methods and notification events in Windows Phone 7, Cimetiere said. A developer can search a given iOS API call and find the equivalent WP7 along with C# sample codes and API documentations for both platforms, he said. Developers can take the tool for a test drive here.

"The code samples allow developers to quickly migrate short blobs of iOS code to the equivalent C# code," Cimetiere said. "All WP7 API documentations are pulled in from the Silverlight, C# and XNA sources on MSDN [Microsoft Developer Network]."

Cimetiere said the iOS APIs can broadly be classified into a series of basic categories: Audio/Video, Data Management, Graphics/Animation, Network/Internet, Performance, Security and User Interface.

"For current mapping, we started with three popular categories [Network/Internet, User Interface and Data Management] and mapped them to the Windows Phone 7 API," he said. "Don't expect a mapping for all of the APIs, simply because the platforms are built upon different architectures and user interfaces. For this first round, we focused on identifying the one-to-one mapping when it exists. In the following versions, we'll expand the scope and anytime the concepts are similar enough, we'll do our best to provide the appropriate guidance."

Microsoft will continue to evolve the tool to map additional iOS APIs, Cimetiere said. The company also will provide similar guidance and tools for Android developers, he said.

Meanwhile, based on a recent survey, Appcelerator and IDC announced that that developer momentum is shifting back toward Apple as fragmentation and tepid interest in current Android tablets chip away at Google's recent momentum gains.

The Appcelerator-IDC Q2 2011 Mobile Developer Report, taken April 11-13, shows that interest in Android has recently reached a plateau as concerns around fragmentation and disappointing results from early tablet sales have caused developers to pull back from their previous enthusiasm for Google's mobile operating system. While this opens the door a crack for new entrants, nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that it is not possible for Microsoft, RIM, HP and Nokia to reverse momentum relative to Apple and Google, Appcelerator said.

Moreover, Appcelerator said underscoring the fluidity of the mobile ecosystem and in a peculiar turn of events, recent simultaneous drops in developer interest in Windows Phone 7 and BlackBerry OSes move Windows Phone 7 ahead of BlackBerry to claim the third spot in developer interest. Also featured in the Appcelerator-IDC report is an analysis of the six layers of fragmentation, including Android, that are increasingly frustrating developers, a fresh take on mobile applications vs. mobile Web, and a look at how the ubiquity of the "mobile cloud" is addressing fragmentation and defining the powerful new trend of always-on computing, Appcelerator officials said.