Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

Summary: Microsoft released a developer tool on April 29 that is aimed at helping iPhone developers port their applications more easily to Windows Phones.

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Microsoft released a developer tool on April 29 that is aimed at helping iPhone developers port their applications more easily to Windows Phones.

Microsoft officials described the new API (application programming interface) mapping tool as similar to a translation dictionary. From a new post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog:

"With this tool, iPhone developers can grab their apps, pick out the iOS API calls, and quickly look up the equivalent classes, methods and notification events in WP7. A developer can search a given iOS API call and find the equivalent WP7 along with C# sample codes and API documentations for both platforms."

The first iteration of the tool focuses on network/Internet, user interface and management APIs. Microsoft officials said not to expect a mapping for all of the APIs, as the two phone platforms are built on different architectures and user interface.

"For this first round we focused on identifying the one-to-one mapping when it exists. In the following versions we’ll expand the scope and anytime the concepts are similar enough, we’ll do our best to provide the appropriate guidance," according to the post.

Microsoft is looking for developers to suggest other APIs they'd like to see mapped, and is asking them to submit them to the http://wp7mapping.uservoice.com site. Microsoft also is providing interested developers with a 90-plus page “Windows Phone 7 Guide for iPhone Application Developers” white paper.

There are approximately 15,000 applications available now for Windows Phone 7.

In other Windows Phone news, it seems Microsoft has temporarily halted distribution of the cut-and-paste "NoDo" update for  Samsung Omnia 7 handsets due to a "technical issue." As noted on WinRumors.com, Microsoft officials have said the fix for this is nearly done. I've asked Microsoft for more specifics as to what caused the latest problems and when the fix should be available, but haven't heard back so far. Samsung Windows Phone users had problems with the first Windows Phone update in February 2011, when there were reports that the Microsoft updates were bricking some handsets.

Topics: Microsoft, iPhone, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software, Software Development, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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53 comments
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  • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

    Mary Jo,
    Thank you very much for finding this site. It is really helpful.
    Thanks again
    Ram U
    • Smart move; this may help to make the transition semi-automatic

      Though the use of this tool will still require significant efforts, so it will not be deal-maker for these who do not have a WP programmer yet.

      That is because Microsoft ecosystem is complicated and at times very confusing (I regularly use MS' knowledge database for that matter so I know what I am talking about).
      DDERSSS
      • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

        @denisrs

        ... but of course the opposite could never be true ... That those familiar with the MS ecosytem may find the iOS ecosystem "complicated and at times very confusing".
        noagenda
      • I guess Microsoft is targeting Apple...

        ...when they should target Android.<br><br>iOS apps are native based and will run terrible in a JIT environment (e.g. Word Lens).<br><br>They should target managed code developers who are accustomed to the delay.<br><br>Else, you get fast ports that don't do a favor to the platform.
        cosuna
      • Actually developers applaud Apple for consistent, polished approach

        @noagenda: of course, Apple's SDK is not perfect at all, but it is nothing as complicated as Microsoft offers. But, as I said, Microsoft moves to more consistent approach with WP, so lets see.
        DDERSSS
      • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

        @cosuna

        <i>iOS apps are native based and will run terrible in a JIT environment (e.g. Word Lens).</i>

        At a user experience level the differences between C# JIT and native code are totally irrelevant at this point.

        The biggest issue likely to be encountered is that real-time systems like games have to learn how to tame the garbage collection beast.
        SlithyTove
      • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

        @denisrs Anything in particular about the SDK and development environment that you had problems with. I have developed PHP, Perl, Ruby, Apple IOS (mostly playing around), Java, and of course .NET. Other than PHP and Perl, they all seemed to be decent with their documentation and API.
        BoydFerris
      • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

        @BoydFerris: I can not name anything particular, but Microsoft development ecosystem is so overblown with all kinds of parallel APIs, older and newer technologies, programming objects, variants of programming and automation/console languages, that this is clearly nothing like what Apple offers. And yes, sometimes documentation lacks. Microsoft is just too big, it simultaneously develops lots of things for programming, and it has hard time with killing older projects and cleaning up the mess.

        But, as I said, with WP7 development, Microsoft clearly moves in the right direction -- with more clear, less messy, less legacy-buried programming environment. And this transition tool is a smart move. I am only saying that even purely ".Net" is overblown through years and just this tool is not a deal maker. ".Net" was never initially meant to work on mobile platform, so the legacy and fat is there.
        DDERSSS
      • @noagenda

        not to mention outdated...
        d20dad
      • They want to attract the good developers

        @ cosuna

        .NET can be Jitted at run-time or at install-time. If it's Jitted at install-time, there's no Jit overhead at run-time.

        iPhone apps tend to be much higher quality on average than Android apps, barring Android apps ported from iPhone. It makes sense to target the good developers who are writing iPhone apps, which have to meet Apple's quality bar, not the mediocre to poor developers (including malware authors) who write only for Android.
        WilErz
      • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

        @cosuna
        If you read their document, even though it is target for iOS currently, they spoke about multiple platforms. And I think it is a living document and will evolve over the time to support Android developers too. Even though Java and .NET are different platforms, the codes can be easily migrated from one platform to the other and there are plenty of tools doing that already. Now they have to bring a tool that could easily be interfaced with Expression and generate XAML for WP7, NIB for iOS and XML file for Android. That would be awesome.
        Ram U
    • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

      @Rama.NET yes you are right i get a great information to this blog. <a href="http://www.paperprofs.com/writing-types/essay/">essay</a> | <a href="http://www.paperprofs.com/writing-types/term-paper/">term paper</a> | <a href="http://www.paperprofs.com/writing-types/research-papers/">research paper</a>
      andrewroy
  • Good start

    This is a good start, but what Microsoft should do next is allow Visual Studio developers to target iPhone, using a source translation layer. If they get the developers to write first for Windows Phone, they'll have a much better chance of winning in the longer run.
    WilErz
    • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

      @WilErz
      Doesn't apple ban any "source translation" ?
      I thought they only accepted apps written directly in Objective C.
      xnederlandx
      • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

        @xnederlandx
        Nope, look at MonoTouch.
        Ram U
      • Not quite the same..

        @xnederlandx
        There's a difference between source translation and building apps on top of runtime libraries such as Silverlight or Flash.
        PolymorphicNinja
    • Message has been deleted.

      symbolset
      • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

        @symbolset
        Your spreadsheet doesn't prove anything other than you are one of the Google fanboi. And I think we discussed about this on this forum good number of times.
        Ram U
      • Awkward monday meetings about this

        @Rama.NET
        We had this same argument about the KIN: http://www.zdnet.com/tb/1-84976

        You aren't any more right now than you were then. If this "New Media" effort is worthwhile, how did it fail twice in a row in the same way?

        There will be awkward meetings Monday about this for sure. Certain to be discussed will be how to make the data "go away". Since that's clearly impossible: http://j.mp/gl6Fom+ discussion will move on to how to limit the damage, to spin the data. But there is no good way to spin this data, which leads inevitably to some larger strategic turn of events. Next week will be interesting indeed in the land of Windows Mobile.

        Oh, and if I were you I'd stop now. You're not helping.
        symbolset
      • RE: Microsoft tool aims to help developers migrate iPhone applications to Windows Phone

        @symbolset
        very disturbing data, I wonder how much money those developers are doing on a platform that almost nobody is buying. Maybe Johnny "smartboy" Vegas can give us a clue!
        theo_durcan