Many of us on xda-developers, including those here way back in the days of the original XDA device, the HTC Wallaby, started our smartphone journeys on a Microsoft OS. And though the mobile landscape is very different now, Microsoft does a lot right when it comes to building tools and providing services for mobile developers. Microsoft has been sponsoring XDA this month, and we thought it would be interesting to show some ways in which the company supports development across platforms, including Android. We hope this doesn’t read too much like an ad, but there are honestly some very cool programs the company offers—programs that most developers probably don’t know about.
First, if you’re a startup developing software that is less than five years old and making less than $1 million annually, you can join Microsoft’s BizSpark program. This gives completely free access to most of Microsoft’s software. This is 900 programs, the equivalent of an MSDN Ultimate subscription that costs over $13,000 on Microsoft’s website.
We enrolled the team at MyColorScreen, which is developing an Android-only app called Themer for theming your mobile device. The process is fairly simple: Sign up for a Microsoft account, fill out a form, and wait (up to five days) for your application to be reviewed. Once the account is approved, you get immediate access to lots and lots of stuff—everything from Office Professional Plus 2013, Windows 8.1, Windows Server, Visual Studio Ultimate, Robotics Developer Studio, and much, much more. You can even download Windows 3.1, which made me a bit nostalgic.
If you call yourself a startup and use any Microsoft product, there’s really no reason not to apply.
Windows Azure Mobile Services is an easy way to connect a scalable cloud backend to a mobile application. It stores structured data and integrates with user authentication and push notifications. In March, Microsoft added support to Azure for native Android applications.
Microsoft posted some beginner tutorials detailing how to add an Azure backend to an Android app. This tutorial will show you how to create a simple to-do list app and mobile service for storing data.
Azure is a pay service, but you can currently get $200 of free credit to explore.
Of course, Microsoft also offers tools and tutorials for porting Android apps to Windows Phone. Here is a tutorial, detailing how to both port and reimagine app design for Windows Phone. There is also an Android to Windows Phone API Mapping tool.
Check out our new Microsoft hub for more articles on mobile development with Microsoft tools._________