Developers Take Issue With Windows Phone 8 SDK Releases
Unhappiness with "limited" release of preview SDK, and withholding of final SDK until the phone ships.
A nearly complete version of the Windows Phone 8 SDK should be coming in the near future; but several aspects of the release, along with the timing of the SDK's final release, has a number of developers angst-ridden or worse.
Todd Brix, Senior Director for Windows Marketplace, said on the Windows Phone Developers Blog that an announcement on the SDK would be coming on Sept. 12 -- next Wednesday. But he didn't say the preview SDK would be available that day, just that he'd give more information:
"I'll share detailed instructions on how current Windows Phone developers with published apps can apply. But I do want to set your expectations that program access will be limited."
He further stated that the final Windows Phone 8 SDK will be available when the phone's unveiled. Both statements -- that program access to the preview SDK will be limited, and the final SDK will be released concurrent with the phone itself -- has developers responding to the blog posting with questions and unhappiness.
In the comments section, Morton Neilsen had this to say: "Limited access? What's up with that? You're already way behind on the "later this summer" announcement. Get the preview out there for everyone to enjoy, build on, promote and push."
That thought was echoed throughout the thread. "fr0gg" believes the preview SDK shouldn't be limited to published app developers: "This is UNACCEPTABLE to paying developers."
Bobby Cannon was even more direct: "You have to have published an app to get the SDK... EVEN if you've paid for a developer account? This is not acceptable even for fan-boys like me. This is a slap in the face."
Many posters also took issue with the fact that the final SDK won't be out until Windows Phone 8 is. The main charge is that waiting so long gives developers no time to have an app ready when the phone launches. Benjamin Rockwell shared his thoughts:
"I have been working on a Windows Phone app for 6 months and have held off publishing it to make it an early, full Windows Phone 8 app as I need some of the new functionality. Now you are going to tell me that even though I [am] a registered developer, I will have to wait until the OS is released to have access to the SDK!? I feel like you really don't care about your developers."
One poster, who claims to be from OnTheGoSolutions, a company that develops wireless distribution products, said the business will be damaged if it can't get the final SDK ahead of time. They require access "ASAP", as their customers are waiting on Windows Phone 8 devices. "Once WP8 devices are out, our software must be ready," he wrote.
Windows Phone 8, although built on a different code base than Windows Phone 7, will still run Windows Phone 7 and 7.5 (Mango) applications without any updating. But to take advantage of Windows Phone 8-specific functionality, like 3D programs using XNA, part of those programs will need to be rewritten.
One of the major changes between Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 is that the newer device supports development using both C++ and C, native languages that will improve performance for certain apps.
As of the time of this posting, Brix had not yet responded to the comments.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.