A recent case study posted in Microsoft's developer site tells how one programmer ported his iPhone app over to Windows Mobile. It's the logical next step in the campaign to woo the hearts and minds of mobile developers away from Apple's iPhone platform. Or more likely, it's hoped to be the way of getting Windows developers now writing for iPhone to give Windows Mobile another try. "Dude, we're over here! Remember us?" Perhaps Redmond can hire sign wavers to stand on the corner with signs shaped like giant hands, the ones that you see pointing to condo developments that aren't sellin. Microsoft could set up offices in vacant strip malls, so the sign wavers could direct developers to attend seminars on the benefits of Windows Mobile 6.5 and the forthcoming Windows Marketplace, which no doubt will be everything that Apple's App Store ain't. Go for it! The case study at Windows Mobile Developer Center tells how engineer Luke Thompson at Gripwire.com ported Amplitude to Windows Mobile. According to the report, he was able to get his app to run on a HTC Touch Pro phone with a build of Windows Mobile 6.5. For the Macphiles and their Windows counterparts [do the latter love Windows or just hate the Mac, I wonder?], the discussion is all about "only" apps, or programs that only run on either iPhone OS or Windows Mobile. This is a very unrealistic and unbusinesslike attitude. Of course, developers will seek new customers for their products on different platforms. While they will look at the market picture for earch OS and its hardware platforms as well as the business case for the respective stores, developers will have another important question to answer: How many IDEs will they and can they take on to produce small, low cost applications? This will be a concern especially for small developers. Certainly, they will want Xcode for the iPhone — after all, this case study is about porting to Windows Mobile from the Apple platform. Apple is currently the mindshare leader. But what will be the next target? Windows Mobile? If you're into Eclipse, Google Chrome? Or Maven 2 for Cydia packages. A Mac developer in the mobile space who declined attribution predicted that "iPhone and Android will pretty much kill Windows Mobile in the next couple of years." Check Out: Visioning Apple's netbook futures Microsoft will be throwing plenty of dough around to prevent that. Speaking of which, I got a laugh at the hand Microsoft's legal dept. Here was a note in the case study:
Luke ran into an issue with hardware variations in the end device. The expectation was that the application would run on both devices; however, the latter Windows Mobile release on the HTC Touch Pro was a significant improvement over the HTC Touch Diamond 2. Most other issues with similar devices centered on the display and required that all layout and alignment code be changed to be device independent and take into consideration the screen resolution. Once this was set, the device displayed the layout accordingly. The expectation is that this should translate quite nicely between different devices.My guess here is that this is called an "expectation" because there are so many Windows Mobile devices and makers that one or more might not be compatible. Could it be? At the Windows Team Blog, Community Product Manager Constanze Roman makes some even wilder statements:
In his conclusion, Thompson credits the Windows Mobile Developer Community for helping him resolve the issues he encountered along the road, stating that: “The large development community, both within Microsoft and outside, and the various whitepapers, blogs, virtual labs, websites, and other online documentation, offered a wealth of information that provided direction and greatly facilitated problem resolution. The only real challenge was assuring total portability between screens, and that was assured by utilizing the concept of aspect ratios.”I have no doubt saying that Luke Thompson never "said" that statement. These were the words of the corporate flak or hired writer who crafted the case study. No human being outside of a PR or Marketing department ever uses the word "utilizing." Or "wealth of information." Or "greatly facilitated." I found two actual quotes from Thompson in the case study. The first was about developing in C# over Objective C.
“What I’m finding is that it’s harder to mess up with C# than in Objective-C, which is used for iPhone application development. This makes any extra effort needed to customize the classes I want worthwhile,” commented Luke Thompson, Gripwire software engineer porting the Amplitude application.Of course, he's more familiar with C#. The second was about the IDE interface. He likes Visual Studio and said its integration with the interface tools was better than the Apple Xcode setup.
Luke commented, “The ease and speed of development was illustrated by putting together four different interface screens simultaneously. With Apple, this activity is really jumbled and you need to jump between numerous applications.”Each to their own IDE, I guess.