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Friday, June 10, 2011

Microsoft: Port your Android apps to Windows Phone

In an effort to get more developers on board, Microsoft has unveiled a tool designed to help Android developers port their apps over to Windows Phone.

In a blog post yesterday, Microsoft cautioned that there's no "magic wand" for Android developers that can automatically port their apps to Windows Phone. But the company is hoping that a new API tool, white paper, and other technical resources can take some of the pain out of the process.

The Android to Windows Phone API mapping tool is designed to serve as a translation guide for developers, comparing different program events, classes, and methods in Android with their counterparts in Windows Phone. So a developer familiar with Android can learn what API calls should be used in Windows Phone to perform various tasks.

The API Mapping tool also provides a feedback page where developers can share their questions and ideas.

Microsoft concedes that since Android and Windows Phone use different architectures and interfaces, not all of the APIs are covered in the mapping tool. Though the company is trying to expand the scope of the tool, for now it's also relying on an "App Guy" to help out further.

The App Guy monitors various developer forums scouting around for questions and discussions specifically related to porting apps from Android to Windows Phone and includes a summary of them on the App Guy page.

And for developers who don't mind a bit of heavy technical reading, Microsoft is also offering a 90-page white paper dubbed the "Windows Phone 7 Guide for Android Application Developers."

Next on Microsoft's to do list is a plan to include features from the new Mango update into the API mapping tool, which it hopes to accomplish this summer.

The new API mapping tool for Android is Microsoft's latest effort to lure even more developers to the Windows Phone platform. The folks in Redmond already offer similar resources for iPhone programers.


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