Love Android – Take a look at this

Android

A little while ago I covered the Windows Azure toolkit for iOS, where iPhone developers can use the cloud to host their apps. Now the Interoperability Team (say that fast, twice) at the mothership in Redmond has announced the release of the Android API Mapping Tool for Windows Phone 7, meaning Android developers can easily port their apps to the Windows Phone platform. Woo-hoo! Now it’s easier to do stuff like this.

why would someone want to do this?

Windows Phone 7

We’re big fans of Windows Phone but then it could be argued we’re slightly biased; with the Mango announcement we posted a few videos outlining what’s going to be coming to the platform very shortly – check them out here and see what you think.

But if you’re already developing for Android, effectively you can extend the reach of your apps to more people, with the support of Microsoft. If you’re into the the Windows Phone UX, you can spend your time taking advantage of the design aspects. If you’re more interested in the sheer number of eyeballs – it’s an easy way of getting to existing Windows Phone 7 users, and pretty soon those holding spanking new Nokias as well.

How comprehensive are the mapping tools?

Mapping APIs is actually a pretty tedious and labour-intensive effort; the official word is “we caution developers not to expect mapping of all of the APIs, simply because the platforms are built upon different architectures and user interfaces. And for the first round, we focused primarily in areas that we could identify one-to-one mapping scenarios.” I’d read that as saying it’s ongoing work.

For this Android work for example, the initial mapping covers the same set of categories than for iOS, and also includes mapping at the Java language level (type system, XML). In future updates, the scope will expand significantly. An example of what to expect as differences between the frameworks:

Functionality

Functionality comparisons

The Stacks

Stack comparisons

App UI and Device Integration

App UI comparisons

I love it/I hate it – who can I speak to/yell at?

App Guy

The team created the “App Guy” who crawls developer forums aggregating discussions from different locations to answer questions related to porting iOS and Android applications to Windows Phone… If you don’t like the look of this dude view further guidance.

Where do i get started?

Published by AndyRobb

Andy’s so into web there’s a suspicion he’s actually Peter Parker MK II. Having spent a couple of years at the Microsoft mothership in Seattle you’ll most probably hear him rambling about business opportunity, experiences that ‘pop’ but most probably just something about music.

2 Comments So Far, what do you think?

  1. Alex

    The main issue with Windows Phone 7 is not mapping the core APIs between OSes, its the fact that you cannot take the reams of C/C++ developed libraries and recompile them on Windows Phone 7. Where’s the libvpx release? What if I want to build an RTP client? What if I want to take the hundreds of thousands of lines of code I have developed for Android/iPhone and port it. On other platforms (including desktop Windows) all these can be achieved with some makefile/header hacking. With WP7 you’re left with having to rewrite everything – and worse than that maintain it.

    Only allowing NET languages is a fundamental blocker to Windows Phone support, and will leave it without many applications until the situation is resolved.

  2. Shuttur

    Really interesting stuff. You mapped out the android framework quite well.

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