Windows Phone App Studio Beta

Windows Phone App Studio Beta

An important milestone for a unique developer tool

Microsoft's web-based App Studio for Windows Phone hit the beta milestone this week and responding to users' feature requests and suggestions. Key among these changes: SkyDrive integration, which makes it easier than ever for developers to access their own pictures from their new apps.

App Studio is a web-based tool for creating a code-free Windows Phone 8 app. It includes several templates to help you get started, and real developers can further modify the resulting apps in Visual Studio if desired. Anyone with a Windows Phone developer account can submit their apps to Windows Phone Store as well.

App Studio debuted in preview form back in August, but has been updated to Beta status this week. With this update, App Studio changes in the following ways:

SkyDrive integration. Now you can easily access your own SkyDrive-based photos for use in your apps.

New graphic elements. Microsoft added new icons, backgrounds, and stock images which you can use to enhance and sharpen the visual identity of your app.

Code improvements. The quality of the Visual Studio templates and code generated by App Studio have been improved. This includes improved naming conventions for consistency across your project, simplified projects and app manifests, and pinch to zoom, Microsoft says.

Better navigation. The menu bar and navigation buttons were improved to aid navigation. It's also easier to edit collections after an app is created.

Other improvements. App Studio Beta has improved usability and performance. There were also some bug fixes too.

App Studio is a pretty unique offering, one that could show the way to the future of mobile development. Even if you're not a developer, you should check it out. Windows Phone App Studio is available on the Windows Phone web site.

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