More Under the Hood, but Hidden or Locked: Questioning Development for WP7

More Under the Hood, but Hidden or Locked: Questioning Development for WP7

Most devs who have jumped ship and started working on apps for WP7 are probably a bit baffled at the lack of some very essential permissions and capabilities in WP7. A few of these have been discovered to be actually available thanks to XDA member athompson. As it turns out, the WMAppManifest.xml, which contains all capabilities for a program to run on this OS is missing quite a few things that were recently discovered by the dev. Upon examining the IMFGS dump for a WP7 rom, the dev discovered that the OS actually has built in capabilities to do certain things that were deemed as not possible before. According to the dev, these include:

  • ID_CAP_RINGTONE_ADD:Allows ringtone-marketplace applications to read/write into the Ringtones directory
  • ID_CAP_MEDIALIB:Access to the media library – read, play-back, etc.
  • ID_CAP_INTEROPSERVICES:Temporary Interop Service Capability.. To be removed by feature team
  • ID_CAP_SIM:Provides access to SIM manager API
  • ID_CAP_SMS:Provides access to SMS API
  • ID_CAP_WAP:Provides access to WAP API
  • ID_CAP_IDENTITY_USER:Allow an application to use a phone.info.dll to retrieve user properties
  • ID_CAP_TESTPUBLIC1:Small public test capability
  • ID_CAP_LOADUNSIGNEDMANAGEDDLL:Capability to load unsigned managed dll into chamber’s process space
  • ID_CAP_LOADUNSIGNEDNATIVEDLL:Capability to load unsigned native dll into chamber’s process space
  • ID_CAP_DEBUG:Allow an application to run in debugging enviorment.

This being the case, it brings a rather important point regarding Microsoft’s history and behavior. Why lock down the OS so much? We all understand the concepts of IP (intellectual property) and how they like to be the only ones handling their products, but we can’t help but wonder if the software giant hasn’t learned anything over the past 4-5 years when it comes to mobile platforms. People like the ability to customize, hack, and develop on their very expensive devices in any way they please. To the risk of sounding like a fan boy, it seems that Google understood this and decided to give people a chance to actually do more with their devices by making Android open source. Microsoft is going in the exact opposite direction. We can understand most of their motivations for doing these things, but the truth of the matter is that they will end up driving developers away and shoot themselves in their own foot. Are you coding apps for WP7? If so, are you finding this to be simple or are you tied down due to the restrictive nature of this OS. Let us know your comments.

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