Thinking about making an app? Now’s the time.

Thinking about making an app? Now’s the time.

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You’ve had your Windows Phone for a while now, but recently started to get the itch to create your own app. Maybe it’s because you want something for your business, or your kids, or to make life easier—or just to prove something to yourself.

Whatever the reason, there’s no better time to dive in.

In case you missed it, this week we unveiled the Windows Phone Dev Center, a new home for our app developers that’s designed to make creating apps for our phones faster and more profitable. Check out Ash Wahi’s announcement and tour on Tuesday’s Windows Phone Developer Blog. And if you’re already a developer, don’t miss Todd Brix’s follow up post today with answers to the most-asked developer questions over the last few days.

While certainly not easy (but, hey, neither's fly fishing), making a useful app might not be as hard as you imagine. It might even be more fun and rewarding than you dreamed. My buddy Andy, a writer and musician, not a programmer, recently created this wicked cool Windows Phone app (look for his story here soon).  With the help of tutorials like this absolute-beginners series from Channel 9, I bet you can, too.

And if you do, by all means let me know.

The Windows Phone Dev Center was designed to be easier on the eyes and easier to use. The homepage, shown here, sports a cleaner look than its predecessor and streamlined menus. 

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  • ac3xx
    1 Posts


    Not sure about android, but iOS is $99/year and submissions are completely free, the only extra fees they take is a percentage from any paid app sales. In my mind, this is a better system - why would you want to pay to put a free app on the market?

  • "You’ve had your Windows Phone for a while now ... started to get the itch to create your own app. Maybe ... you want something for your ... kids, or ... yourself."

    I hope Microsofties with some responsibility for Windows Phone policy read your blog. Because this is a good argument for why the "we make you pay $99 to load an app your wrote on your own phone" policy is so stupid.

    It prevents exactly the kind of thing you describe.

    The current policy, requiring paid developer membership to develop an app for a single personal/dev phone, is geared at companies/professional developers who can justify the expense. It precludes hobbyist developers. It precludes personal development.

    The argument that it's free to develop for the emulator is just stupid. Do you really think that someone with "the itch to create their own app... something for their kids" is going to want to write an app that will only run in the emulator? Seriously?

    But okay, Microsoft wants to limit WP development to students and professional developers. It's your sandpit, you get to make the rules. But maybe just stick to them, and ease up on encouraging hobbyist newbie developers on how much fun writing apps for emulators can be?

  • What about old apps that you bought that you are trying to reinstall? Does this issue affect that? I have been trying to reinstall (from the website) Apict and a couple of others I lost and am unable to re-install.

  • @ Jarret – You are missing the point here, we don’t care what Apple does!!! I love and own a Windows Phone… not an iPhone, not an Android… a freaking Windows Phone!!! I personally don’t care if Apple’s prices are two or three times higher, they can afford that because they “lead” the freaking market in quality, consistency, innovation, accountability, etc.  Meanwhile, we are still way behind those two and with no sign of progress to forecast.

  • | While certainly not easy (but, hey, neither's fly fishing), making a useful app might not be as hard as you imagine.

    Hi Guys,

    I just wanted to add that while coding useful apps isn't easy, designing them and prototyping them now is. We have just added a windows 8 library to our app design tool. You can play with it FREE at

    No Fuss. No Forms.



  • Leigh
    89 Posts

    @Seva  Though windows Phone 8 will be out, Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 will be far from obsolete by the end of the year.  Everyone is not going to migrate to 8 the day it comes out (although I WILL), so there will be plenty of phones out there to target.   Don't worry about that.  As well, all the Windows Phone 7.5 apps will run unmodified on Windows Phone 8, so the apps are not going to be obsolete at all.

    Windows Phone 8 will bring the coolness of being built on the common core with Windows 8 and Windows RT, so that will be even better, but it will take some time to catch on.  I actually expect more Surfaces (I'll get one on launch day for sure) to be sold than Windows Phone 8 devices for a while, but then I expect the total WP marketshare to increase next year by 50-100%.   Things are catching on and that's why Mike recommends getting on board now, while there are still "only" 105,000 apps or so.

    And guys, you seriously can't afford $8 a month? (which buys 5 prepaid submissions as well)  Just give up two Starbucks or 2 gallons of gas.  It can be done, and it IS fun!

    I have an app, but I had to pull it because I couldn't support it well.  When Windows Phone 8 arrives, I will upgrade it and submit it again, and we'll see.

    Enjoy Windows Phone 7 and 8 !

  • Jarret
    4 Posts

    For those complaining about the cost/royalties to develop for Windows Phone, I suggest you go see how Apple does things and then think about it.

  • caresrg
    5 Posts

    Hello! I would love to pursue this. I am not a pro, but have in the past been an avid amateur programmer. My main stumbling block was that adding scrollbars to text boxes and text blocks didn't make scrolling work at all. Some serious coding is required. Has that been fixed for us dabblers? I really want to be able to use the app I have in mind. :)

  • Let's see. Windows Phone 7 will be obsolete before the end of the year - who would want to target a platform with a known expiration date. Automatically recompiling WP7 Silverlight apps for Windows Phone 8 WinRT is not an option (I've tried with Win8 dev tools - a manual porting effort is required, the platform is similar, but not identical). WP8 SDK is not available yet. So no, I'll pass.

  • @Rodney

    Again, I don't understand why there is any fee->what is MS providing (other than the platform)?  The developer must learn how to program (basically on their own), come up with an idea and then create the app.  They then offer it to MS.  If MS accepts it, they use the app to promote their products (and the developer may or may not make money based on ads - it is consignment except there is unlimited space and the owner is profitting regardless).  From my view, MS should be paying the developer, not the reverse, and this is especially true because MS is playing catch-up.

  • pepebg
    1 Posts


    So what you are basically saying is that, despite Microsoft being years behind Apple or even Google, developers should still be happy coding apps just to see them at the bottom of the list on the market place, miles below MS ones? Sounds reasonable...

  • @ BuckeyeTico, and anyone else

    Maybe they should have "open" periods once or twice a year where the fee is waived for a certain amount of days. This will give guys like you a chance to get your app published, if you're willing to wait, and it will help increase the amount of apps in the marketplace. It might even be a good idea to slash the price from $99 to $49.99 for a 10, or 15, day period... Good idea??

    What are the fees to publish to iOS, and Android??

  • What Michael forgot to mention is that on top of the $99.00 yearly fee developers have to pay to publish applications, a chunk of your sales also goes to MS for what some geniuses call “loyalties” (unless this has changed lately –which I totally doubt it).

    I, myself, have downloaded the developers’ tools and have created a small application for a football (the real football) team I follow but I don’t want and will not pay the publishing fee just to see it on the marketplace.  MS has to realize that not all developers (whether individuals or companies) will build applications for profit (perhaps the vast majority do).

    Some of us, aspiring developers, would like to get our feet in the water first, to see how it is… If we like it and it perhaps looks promising, then we can commit to a yearly fee (something like first application free for non-commercial purposes, or something like that).

  • As a guy that knows nothing about the app making process, I am baffled why a developer has to pay a $100 subscription fee to publish a tool which MS will later use to promote its products.  The MS "testing' does not seem to be weed out crappy or duplicate apps.  MS should at the very least make this service free and perhaps offer incentives to attract good and original apps.

  • How easy will it be to develop apps for Windows 8 Phone and for Windows RT?

  • I'm really expecting to hear some news about a release that will allow interaction with other devices using, for example, a bluetooth connection. Are there any plans on supporting this  kind of connectivity? It would be really cool to be able to interact with netduino and/or arduino devices with my WP.

  • Michael is right! Just think of the potential that's there to make your money back, and maybe even profit substantially. After all, the app is what you put into it, and if you pour your heart and soul into it people will purchase it. Just think of the award of having someone purchase your ideas, and art work!! I thinks the price is very small compared to the benefit, and who knows you may make an app that catches on big time.. Look at Rovio!

  • Hey @ Greyson. Good to hear from you. I'd never presume to tell someone what they can afford, but I think free is generally pretty affordable. :-)

    What I mean is that the tools you need to create a Windows Phone app cost nothing--and they even include a phone emulator for testing your app. So from a pure educational or hobby perspective, you can accomplish quite a bit without spending a cent. (I'll assume you have  PC or access to one.)

    Of course, it really gets fun when you see your app on a real phone--and especially on the shelves of Marketplace where others can download it. If you're not a student or haven't done a little nosing around looking for deals, it's true that it costs $99 to unlock a real phone for testing and/or publish an app to Marketplace.

    That's an annual fee, by the way, so figure 8 bucks a month to get more serious about creating and publishing apps (money you could potentially recoup if your app sells or has ads.) That's two or three lattes, dinner at Burger King, or two fine craft brews (sorry, it's Friday.)

    Anyway, just wanted to make sure folks who are curious about what it really costs didn't get the wrong idea.

  • I got an idea for an app! How about an official WP Blog app?? Great idea right? Lol

  • Grayson
    3 Posts

    As much as I would love to just create an app for Windows Phone, or any phone for that matter, It would be far too expensive to leisurely develop an app. As much as you guys are pushing small time developers to create an app, I don't see why you don't allow discounts or free App Hub memberships to aspiring developers, like myself. No love for the noobies.