Windows Phone App Studio Beta response exceeds expectations, new capabilities released today

Windows Phone App Studio beta has been live for almost two weeks – with a few hiccups. Today I’d like to share a few of the learnings and tell you about enhancements we’re releasing today.

First of all, I’d like to thank every single one of you for your support and feedback. You’ve been helping us work out the kinks, and sharing ideas about how to make the tool better, from templates to tutorials. Thank you.

We created this beta with the idea that it would become whatever the community made of it. We wanted you to experience a new, easy way to get started with Windows Phone and see what it’s like to create an app, and then bring it to life on your own phone. To be honest, the response rate has been well above what we expected. In the first 48 hours we saw more than 20,000 people from all over the world kicking off more than 30,000 projects, and just a few hours ago we surpassed 55,000 active projects. To help manage demand we’ve implemented a temporary access code system – just sign up to get your access code and access to the beta. If you need help with access codes, send us an email at studio@microsoft.com. We knew this tool would appeal to hobbyists and enthusiasts, but we didn’t expect quite so many to jump in so quickly. It’s been wonderful to see the enthusiasm.

We’re getting feedback from users that they really like creating apps on their own terms – personal or specialized apps for specific local needs, and which they can share with friends and family. Apps created in App Studio don’t automatically publish to the Windows Phone Store or raise the number of apps available to everyone, and we’re fine with that; it’s great to see hobbyists and non-professional developers using these tools to create apps for personal use. If and when they’re ready to offer their apps more broadly, it’s easy to take the next step to open a Dev Center account and submit their apps to be published in Windows Phone Store.

We’re finding that professional developers have begun using the tool as well. One of these is developer Rob Miles, who is documenting his experience importing App Studio code into Visual Studio to create a custom app that he can submit to publish in the Store.

Your feedback also is helping us define where we will take Windows Phone App Studio beta next. We see the potential and we’re moving fast to help more people transform ideas into apps. Today we’re adding new functionality to provide connections to additional external data sources; improving code legibility; and adding new templates. Several of you also asked about integrating Flickr feeds into the apps you create, so we’re adding Flickr as a data source. In addition to these enhancements, today we also are making some fundamental changes to Windows Phone App Studio beta to improve the overall performance and scalability of the system.

I encourage you to continue to provide your feedback and share ideas on our User Voice site. Please also join the discussion on Twitter via @wpdev and share examples of the apps you’re building.