3 Ways to Develop Apps for Windows Phone 8

In Appcelerator’s most recent survey, nearly 90 percent of app developers said they prefer to develop for the iPhone.

Meanwhile, according to the same survey, fewer than 40 percent of developers expressed strong interest in building Windows Phone 8 apps.

In other words, the Windows Phone 8 door is wide open for developers. If you’re willing to invest some time, you can develop and sell your own Windows Phone 8 apps before everybody else starts jumping on the bandwagon.

Get Ready — Background

It’s easy to get started with Windows Phone 8 app development. So easy, in fact, that anybody, even non-developers, can do it. Right, and your four-year-old nephew can rap like Jay Z, too. There’s a difference between doing it and doing it well.

To avoid creating one-note apps, dust off your C++, C# and XAML skills. C++ brings speed, but C# functions as the “get ‘er done” language. XAML is also a must for Windows Phone 8 apps.

Get Set — Tools

To develop Windows Phone 8 apps, you need these connections and tools:

Go! — Tips

Here are a few helpful tips to keep in your back pocket:

  1. Keep App Idiosyncrasies in Mind

Nick Randolph of Visual Studio Magazine reminds us that phones are not always on like PCs, so your app might need to resume from a not-running state. Strive to create a Windows 8 / Windows Phone 8 app that reuses a single codebase, but make sure you honor Silverlight rules since Windows Phone 8 derives from Silverlight.

  1. Know and Accept Limitations

For example, in Visual Studio, you can’t ctrl+click on a class or variable to jump to a definition; you have to select your files manually to access the code. Also, keep in mind that Windows Phone 8 SDK installation failures do occur. Try revamping an expired setup or doing a direct reinstall rather than a reinstall using ISO. Another fixable issue is that the new resolution setting may result in an odd-looking app, so be sure to account for larger, higher-res screens and new resolution capabilities.

  1. Acknowledge Potential Security Issues

To increase app security on the Windows Phone 8, Alex Plaskett and Dave Chismon of MWR recommend a few basic steps:

  • Threat modeling
  • Source code reviews
  • Manual and automated testing, like file format fuzzing or web service request manipulation
  • Hardening and testing against web infrastructure that supports mobile applications

Remember, just because developers haven’t completely jumped on the Windows Phone 8 bandwagon yet, doesn’t mean they won’t soon. Just check out this buzz-worthy tweet by Joe Belfiore of Microsoft, pledging to end the “app-gap” in 2014. Wouldn’t it be sweet if your Windows Phone 8 app helps close that gap?

Share your own tips and tricks for Windows Phone 8 apps in the comments section.