August 29, 2013 11:42 am

Maximize code reuse when building for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8

You likely already know that Windows Phone 8 is built on the same shared core as Windows 8. You might also be aware of some of the benefits this shared core offers app developers who want to write apps and games that run on Windows Phone and on Windows tablets and PCs.

When you add in the benefits of leveraging the same programming language skills, such as C# and XAML, and the same powerful development tools, most importantly Visual Studio 2012, you have a recipe for accelerating development, test, and publication time.

Since we launched Windows Phone 8 last year we’ve released guidance and resources to show developers how best to design Windows Phone apps to take advantage of the platform’s shared core. Our top picks include:


Content type


Build Apps for Both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 Jump Start

5-part, 3+ hour online training

A comprehensive walkthrough of similarities and differences between the two platforms (Windows Phone 8 /Windows 8), along with guidance, best practices, and patterns for cross-platform development. This content demonstrates techniques that can help you deliver apps for both Windows Phone and Windows with maximum code reuse.

Real Talk: Sharing Code Between the Windows & Windows Phone Platforms

60-minute video, BUILD 2013

A great place to start if you are new to cross-platform development. Leveraging a pragmatic, real-world app, the talk goes step-by-step through six of the most common, battle-tested techniques for maximizing code reuse across Windows Phone and Windows.

Windows Phone: This App Brought to you by MVVM – the Hulu Case Study

60-minute video, BUILD 2013

This session focuses on a complex, first-class service app, Hulu. It takes a detailed look at the MVVM design pattern, perhaps one of the most critical strategies in a great design to maximize code reuse. It also discusses design considerations for targeting Windows Phone and Windows.

The Story of Bringing Nokia Music from Windows Phone to Windows 8

60-minute video, BUILD 2013

The primary focus of this session is the actual porting of the Nokia Music app, originally written only for Windows Phone, to a full Windows Store app for Windows 8. It offers detailed coverage of mapping user experience functionality between platforms.

Sharing Code between Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 Applications

MSDN Magazine Online Article

A helpful article that explores three specific strategies for reusing code in-depth: portable class libraries, Windows Runtime shared components and the Visual Studio “Add as Link” option.

Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 App Development

Official Developer Documentation

Our official developer documentation on the topic. It gives you access to a comprehensive code sample and to specific documentation on some of the most successful code-sharing approaches.

We have a particularly good co-development story for game developers, to support extensive use of DirectX in creating a game UI, and because DirectX is prevalent across Windows Phone and Windows in general. Some outstanding third-party libraries and tools now support both Windows Phone and Windows, so it’s easier than ever for developers not only to build for both platforms, but also to maintain world-class games on multiple operating systems.

Here are resources we recommend that are specific to developing games for both platforms, Windows Phone and Windows.


Content type


Windows Phone Game Development Basics

60-minute video, BUILD 2013

A very fundamental look at how to build games for Windows Phone using DirectX and C++. The video also is structured to demonstrate how this code is highly portable between Windows Phone and Windows.

Bringing Halo Spartan Assault to Windows Tablets and Mobile Devices

60-minute video, BUILD 2013

A good overview of how a sophisticated, first-person shooter character was developed and published to Windows Phone and Windows.

Accelerating Windows Store Game Development with Middleware

60-minute video, BUILD 2013

A great discussion of several of the most popular third-party game development middleware providers, and how developers can use their tools and frameworks to bring games to Windows Phone and Windows.

Games for Windows Phone

Official Developer Documentation

The core Windows Phone documentation on game development. It provides a basic overview of Direct3D for Windows Phone.

Developing Games

Official Developer Documentation

The core Windows documentation. It includes more comprehensive material on porting, including from OpenGL and several full sample apps.

So to summarize:

  1. Windows and Windows Phone have a common shared core and their application platforms are based on the same set of tools and technologies.
  2. This means it is easier than ever for developers to leverage the same knowledge, experience, tools, and in many cases, the same code to deliver applications and games for both Windows and Windows Phone.
  3. We’ve got a large number of resources listed above with which you can get started maximizing your code reuse today.

Check out these resources today and start developing for Windows Phone and Windows.

Updated November 7, 2014 11:44 pm

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