Silverlight/XNA confirmed as developer frameworks for Windows Phone 7

Documents leaked to the XDA-Developers forum reveal that Windows Visual Studio 2010 and Expression Blend are the primary tools for developing applications for Windows Phones.

Developer frameworks

The documents show that there are two frameworks available for developers to create applications. The first is the Silverlight UI framework for "event-driven, XAML based development." The platform provides developers with the full features of Silverlight to develop mark-up based user experiences. The second is Microsoft's XNA UI framework. This is primarily for loop-based games and allows developers to use the full power of the XNA gaming environment. XNA is a set of tools provided by Microsoft that allows game development. Announced in March 2004, the runtime is available for XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Xbox 360. XNA games can run on any platform that supports the XNA framework with little to no modification required.

Multitasking confirmed

In another document leaked to XDA-developers, Microsoft confirms that multitasking will be operational in Windows Phone 7:

"As a preemptive multitasking operating system (OS), Windows Phone OS 7.0 supports multiple processes running simultaneoulsy on the system. There is no limit to the number of processes that can run on the phone. The only limit is the amount of available system resources."

Microsoft demonstrated the Windows Phone 7 UI earlier this week at Mobile World Congress. Company officials will speak more widely about features and development at the MIX 2010 conference in March next month.

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I've been thinking if you look at top grossing apps in the apps store, it is usualy games that make the most money. So while it is true microsoft is pretty late in delivering a new phone os, I think they are in pretty good position. Android is not as locked down but will be hard to make games that are really good because there is to much variation between phones. Palm pre is going nowhere in terms of games. Xbox live and the Tegra, xna, give microsoft very good platform to deliver these apps. In fact so much so that I expect the portable game machine market to diminish (nintendo ds, psp).

Hopefully they do more to open up all of the capabilities of a device via XNA. While I've seen some promising things done with XNA, it really doesn't allow much access to the processing power of the Tegra on the Zune HD.

"The only limit is the amount of available system resources"

I can see this being a selling point, 'run this phone with 3 applications in the background,' or 'this bigger version with 4 apps in the background'...

ccoltmanm said,
"The only limit is the amount of available system resources"

I can see this being a selling point, 'run this phone with 3 applications in the background,' or 'this bigger version with 4 apps in the background'...

Well, that applies to anything though, heh.

It will be interesting to see how they integrate the Tiles, and pivot UI elements in Silverlight. Will it be a new project type for Blend and Visual Studio, which comes with the necessary controls and UI conventions. Or perhaps it will have to be done with styled controls?

I think it will probably be a new project type, with the "screen" replacing the window/form. And there will be multiple screens per hub, and you will drop in text lists, which scroll up and down. As for porting of existing silverlight apps, or cross platform (out of browser, web page and Phone 7) I believe the programing logic can be reused, but the UI will need to be designed separately for Phone 7.

martinDTanderson said,
It will be interesting to see how they integrate the Tiles, and pivot UI elements in Silverlight. Will it be a new project type for Blend and Visual Studio, which comes with the necessary controls and UI conventions. Or perhaps it will have to be done with styled controls?

I think it will probably be a new project type, with the "screen" replacing the window/form. And there will be multiple screens per hub, and you will drop in text lists, which scroll up and down. As for porting of existing silverlight apps, or cross platform (out of browser, web page and Phone 7) I believe the programing logic can be reused, but the UI will need to be designed separately for Phone 7.

Ofc, the WP7 version of the same silverlight app will need it's own UI, but the PC version can share all the same code under the different UI's.

GP007 said,

Ofc, the WP7 version of the same silverlight app will need it's own UI, but the PC version can share all the same code under the different UI's.

MVC, MVC, MVC ! One model, different views depending on the device. Would be awesome !

Edited by DrunkenBeard, Feb 18 2010, 2:00pm :

I'm kinda interested in what this will do for the Silverlight platform on the web. There will be more developers versed in Silverlight due to the new mobile OS so maybe that could result in more use on the web as well? Somewhat unlikely but stranger things have happened.

LaXu said,
I'm kinda interested in what this will do for the Silverlight platform on the web. There will be more developers versed in Silverlight due to the new mobile OS so maybe that could result in more use on the web as well? Somewhat unlikely but stranger things have happened.

Maybe? lots of people just view silverlight like it's for video streaming when MS is/has made it into way more than that. I like the idea of having cross-platform apps with silverlight that work on the PC, and then can also work on my WP7 phone if I want! That'd be great.

Just think if a dev makes some app, and you can run it on both, and it can sync between the two versions and so on. You don't get that sorta stuff on a mobile that I know of.

dave164 said,
Awesome stuff, even more reason to dump my iPhone. It's really starting to bug me now...

Now that multitasking is out of the way, everyone seems to have moved on to the "looks" catagory. Some say the tiles are too big on the start screen, and limited in how many you can show.

It'd be nice if in the settings you could set how many you wanted side by side, so the default is 2, but if you set it to 3 or 4 it'd scale them.

Hubs and the like that show detailed info would have to stay relativly big though, so you can read the text.

It's to do with how they're programmed, in a loop-based game there is always a loop running processing AI/Physics/Sounds/Graphics, etc. Event based games wait for something to happen (e.g. button drag) and then respond accordingly.

carmatic said,
how are 'loop-based' games different from... uhh, normal games?

It's the difference between a game like say, tetris, and a normal console game with lots of different levels. YOu're not playing the same thing from start to finish basically.

ZakO said,
It's to do with how they're programmed, in a loop-based game there is always a loop running processing AI/Physics/Sounds/Graphics, etc. Event based games wait for something to happen (e.g. button drag) and then respond accordingly.

Oh, I read it wrong then, haha, ignore my post above, I didn't notice it was the more technical "loop" being talked about.

ZakO said,
It's to do with how they're programmed, in a loop-based game there is always a loop running processing AI/Physics/Sounds/Graphics, etc. Event based games wait for something to happen (e.g. button drag) and then respond accordingly.

so as an analogy... an event based game is like chess, while a loop based game is like football?

carmatic said,

so as an analogy... an event based game is like chess, while a loop based game is like football?

Yeah, pretty much - they don't have to be, but often things like card games or board games are event based.

Edited by ZakO, Feb 18 2010, 7:23pm :

Awesome news to have multitasking. Now to get flash. Hopefully they were just saying it won't be in the first phones because it's just not ready yet and want to cover their asses from everyone being ****ed at release. Then they finish it and surprise us with it being ready at launch

dogmai said,
Awesome news to have multitasking. Now to get flash. Hopefully they were just saying it won't be in the first phones because it's just not ready yet and want to cover their asses from everyone being ****ed at release. Then they finish it and surprise us with it being ready at launch

At the keynote Ballmer said something along the lines of, "we're not saying we don't want flash, we do, it's just not ready." I could be off, and probably am to the exact phrase he used, but the point is there.

This is up to Adobe now, and not MS.

dogmai said,
Awesome news to have multitasking. Now to get flash. Hopefully they were just saying it won't be in the first phones because it's just not ready yet and want to cover their asses from everyone being ****ed at release. Then they finish it and surprise us with it being ready at launch

I read it as it's likely to come in a future post-1.0 release.

GP007 said,

At the keynote Ballmer said something along the lines of, "we're not saying we don't want flash, we do, it's just not ready." I could be off, and probably am to the exact phrase he used, but the point is there.

This is up to Adobe now, and not MS.

I wish that Microsoft would ban it and the Apple allow Silverlight on the iPhone and iPod Touch if Microsoft makes Silverlight development tools for Mac. What a wonderful day that would be if it occurred.

Finally, it's official now. This should put all the "lolz it doesn't multitask!" haters to rest.

Silverlight as the main UI and XNA for games fits with what I expected. Good stuff.

GP007 said,
Finally, it's official now. This should put all the "lolz it doesn't multitask!" haters to rest.

What gets me is that from the demo vidoes it's been quite obvious that Windows Phone 7 series supports multitasking, it was right there infront of many of the people being shown demos.

Case in point, gizmodo's hands on. Whenever the buy presses the back button in stead of the the Windows button, it would go back to the previously running app, instantly, exactly where you left it before starting the next. And he done it quite a few times. ANd it's in a lot of other demo videos. If that didn't scream "multitasking" then I don't know what does o.O

~Johnny said,

What gets me is that from the demo vidoes it's been quite obvious that Windows Phone 7 series supports multitasking, it was right there infront of many of the people being shown demos.

Case in point, gizmodo's hands on. Whenever the buy presses the back button in stead of the the Windows button, it would go back to the previously running app, instantly, exactly where you left it before starting the next. And he done it quite a few times. ANd it's in a lot of other demo videos. If that didn't scream "multitasking" then I don't know what does o.O

I think what everyone wants to see is a fancy task switcher, like how other shells on WM do it. And I think MS will have something to show you all the running apps and let you go back and forth, but it's not fully in the UI yet.

I expect something to be in at MiX though.