Microsoft adds TouchDevelop capabilities to Windows App Studio

Microsoft's Windows App Studio, an online tool for quickly building Windows and Windows Phone apps, has been integrated with TouchDevelop, a "touch-friendly" programming language for writing code directly on a device. But the company also is steering users over to its comprehensive Visual Studio 2013 software development platform if they want to change Windows 8.0 apps written with the App Studio tool.

TouchDevelop features a physics engine and a UI framework to compose forms. "With TouchDevelop you can write code directly on any device and use sensors and media via high-level APIs," said Emilio Salvador Prieto, senior director of Windows marketing, in a Windows blog post on a recent update to Windows App Studio.

TouchDevelop scripts can be imported and an AppX package can be side-loaded on a phone, tablet, or PC running Windows 8.1 or published to Windows Phone or Windows Store. "For this first release, not all apps and games from TouchDevelop can be imported into App Studio, including those that include Web requests and access the devices capabilities (e.g. Bluetooth, Calendar)," said Prieto. "You can test functionality by copying your script ID into the TouchDevelop DataSource in App Studio, which will verify whether it can be imported."

Still in beta, Windows App Studio previously was known as Windows Phone App Studio. Microsoft says it has 2.3 million users of the technology, whereas TouchDevelop has more than 250,000 users. In another revision to Windows App Studio, developers wanting to change Windows Phone 8.0 applications built through App Studio will need to do so using Visual Studio 2013. "Moving forward, editing and updating apps within App Studio, as well as the creation of new apps, will be limited to universal Windows apps targeting devices running Windows 8.1," according to Prieto.

Windows App Studio also is gaining the ability to build a universal Web App Template application to run on devices running Windows 8.1. "This is a great option for website owners who want to package a mobile-optimized Web site into a universal application to publish to Windows and Window Phone Store," Prieto said. Generated code improvements in the update, meanwhile, provide more feedback, and apps built in Windows App Studio can be extended via Visual Studio Community Edition 2013.


Paul Krill

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