Microsoft has unveiled the Windows Phone Dev Center — replacing the App Hub — which brings new features aimed at making it easier for developers to get paid and reach more markets.
The centre is a repository for tools aimed at developers making apps for the Windows Phone 7.5 (or earlier) platform.
"The site, an evolution of our retired App Hub developer portal, is designed to provide everything you need to build, publish, and manage apps for Windows Phones around the world," Ash Wahi wrote on the Windows Team Blog on Tuesday. "The result of months of careful planning and attention to your feedback, it has new features to help make Windows Phone app development faster and more profitable."
Microsoft said the centre had been designed with future growth and movement into new geographical markets in mind.
As well as making the site less cluttered than the App Hub, the overhaul has brought back-end modifications to improve reliability and performance of the portal.
In addition, for the first time developers can now use PayPal to pay for their developer account or get paid. The Dev Center also introduces the ability to set specific pricing for each country.
Devs can also now see how their apps have been rated and reviewed for each market at a glance, rather than needing to select individual markets to see the summary.
Microsoft said the Dev Centre will also support in-app purchasing when Windows Phone 8 is introduced, and will allow developers to add new in-app merchandise and track sales.
The Dev Center will also mean developers that want to give their apps a run-through with beta testers are now no longer limited to 100 users, and can instead use thousands.
Wahi also said the repository will provide developers with better analytics information for their apps — for example, providing detailed information about downloads, such as whether they were free, paid, or trial users. Paid-for downloads can also be broken down by region as well as "without trial" or "after trial".
Given Microsoft's desire to attract developers to the Windows Phone platform, the company has also made it easier to submit apps to multiple markets but omit specific ones that have additional content requirements. Previously, developers had been limited to a single worldwide submission option.
Rounding off the list of improvements is better integration of the Dev Center with MSDN resources and documentation to help developers, meaning that there is now no need to leave the portal to browse Windows Phone forums or find SDK info.