Windows 8 and the Windows Phone SDK, pt. 2

Last month, I posted to let developers know that we were aware of some of the challenges that were present in running the Windows Phone SDK on the Consumer Preview of Windows 8. In that post I mentioned that we were working on addressing those problems. My colleague Cliff then followed up with the announcement of the release of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1.1 update, which does unblock the use of our SDK on Win 8, (although not officially supported).

Lots of people are digging into the new development platform opportunities provided by Windows 8, and we understand there are a lot of questions about what they may portend for Windows Phone developers. While we aren’t yet ready to talk about our future plans, we do believe there are certain things we can tell you. In fact, we’ve already talked quite a bit about this at the //BUILD conference last September (see our sessions recorded online at http://wpdev.ms/phoneatbuild).

With regard to existing applications: today’s Windows Phone applications and games will run on the next major version of Windows Phone. Driving application compatibility is a function of Microsoft’s commitment to its developers. Regardless of what we release in terms of new developer features and functionality, we have made a large investment in protecting your existing investments.

We’ve also heard some developers express concern about the long term future of Silverlight for Windows Phone. Please don’t panic; XAML and C#/VB.NET development in Windows 8 can be viewed as a direct evolution from today’s Silverlight. All of your managed programming skills are transferrable to building applications for Windows 8, and in many cases, much of your code will be transferrable as well. Note that when targeting a tablet vs. a phone, you do of course, need to design user experiences that are appropriately tailored to each device.

Microsoft is committed to creating an ecosystem that maximizes your investments. This is not an overnight endeavor, but we’re confident you’ll be pleased with where we’re going with the Windows Phone developer platform. As always, please let us know in the comments, or in our forums, if you have questions or concerns; we can’t answer every question just yet, but I hope we’ve dispelled some of your concerns.