Leveraging your Android development expertise to build Windows Phone applications

Leveraging your Android development expertise to build Windows Phone applications

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Update 12/02/2013:

  • The "Windows Phone 8 development for Android devs" guide was updated, here.
  • General porting guidance is available here.


Following up with the Windows Phone guidance and API mapping tool for iPhone developers I wrote about a few weeks ago, today we are releasing a comprehensive package for Android developers to easily learn Windows Phone and port their app to Microsoft’s phone platform.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I think it is essential to be a “polyglot” developer. And although you might have a preferred language, opening your mind to others will bring considerable value to your abilities and your resume. It’s true that jumping from one platform or language to another can break your habits, but change can be stimulating and will ultimately expand your opportunities.

How can you leverage your Android development expertise to build Windows Phone applications?

There’s no magic wand that will do the work for you, but we have put together a great package to help you get started.

The package consists of:

Windows Phone API mapping tool: now includes Android

clip_image002We’ve added Android to the Windows Phone API mapping tool to help developers find their way around the Windows Phone platform. Think of the API mapping tool as being like a translation dictionary. For example, let’s say that you’re planning a vacation to France. Since you don’t speak the language, you’ll bring a pocket travel dictionary. Having this tool will surely help you get an idea about what you are ordering from a restaurant menu, but you’ll have no idea what the actual recipe is -- nor will you be able to have a conversion in French with the server! But it’s a great learning tool to make the first steps.
Give it a try!

API mapping tool: open for feedback

When we opened the API mapping tool, we invited developers to offer up their ideas (http://wp7mapping.uservoice.com) about what mapping we should cover. With this new version including Android, we’ve also introduced the possibility to add comments directly on the existing mapping. So if you want to provide additional details or if you spot something inaccurate, just add a comment, we’re listening!

Getting help when porting your applications?

clip_image003Mapping is tedious on-going work. Don’t expect a mapping for all of the APIs, simply because the platforms are built upon different architectures and user interfaces. We’re working on expanding the coverage of the API Mapping tool for both iOS and Android, but there will be some situations where you might be stuck, not knowing what way to port your feature over from iOS or Android to Windows Phone. We’re willing to help!

We have hired the “App Guy” who crawls developer forums aggregating discussions from different locations to answer questions related to porting iOS and Android applications to Windows Phone, but hey, that’s just one guy for now, anybody can help out. Tell us if we’ve missed something and tag your questions/answers so that we can find them (see guidance) and show them off.

What’s next?

We are continuing to expand the scope of the API Mapping tool and the technical guidance. Our next step is to include the Mango features into the API Mapping tool (planned for this summer).

As mentioned above, we’re open for feedback and if you want to share your “porting” story let me know, we already have a few, like the Groundspeak Geocaching app.

Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, Sr. Technical Evangelist – Interoperability
@jccim - blogs.msdn.com/interoperability

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  • I love that this article is nearly 2 years old and no one pointed out the broken link on the first image. :p

  • Now there was a great demand for chosing the right personality to android development! yep Where to hire a android app developer is a good question. Take a look over www.cogzidel.com/hire-dedicated-professional then you will feel you got right source!

  • Nice post. Here’s a tool to use to build your mobile apps in minutes without coding. Just point-and-click  www.caspio.com/.../mobile.aspx

  • I have a game developed using Unity, a cross-platform game development environment (www.unity3d.com). It ported easily to Android, iOS, Web, PC executable and Mac executable. There is not, and possibly will never be, a WP7 target option. Given the enormous effort required to rewrite the application to target such a small market share, why should I bother? Unless Microsoft start talking to Unity, it is not going to happen.

  • jaxim
    57 Posts

    I'll start developing for Windows Phone (and buy a WinPhone) when the platform allows Adobe Air Apps - similar to how Android and Blackberry Playbook allows.

    It would be great if Windows went one step further and created an Air SDK similar to the Blackberry/QNX folks did.

  • Thanks for your feedback, and to keep track of your suggestions, i encourage logging or voting for suggestions at wp7mapping.uservoice.com. We're listening :)

  • Regarding NDK: I second that. Porting is OK, but  straight code reuse is much better. And between WinMobile, iOS and Android, code reuse is very much a reality, as long as it's in C(++).

    Blackberry will follow suit shortly.

  • WP 7
    7 Posts

    Fantastc work! Another great features after converting from iPhone.



  • Could we have some feedback about a NDK for WP7?

  • Mr80s
    1 Posts

    When WP7 allows you to register MIME types in 3rd party apps, I'll write some apps.  Native code support is needed as well, but I'm not going to hold my breath for that one.