I Built A Windows Phone App And It Freaking Sucks

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INTRO TALK ABOUT DARRELL’S PIECE LOOK NOW ANYONE CAN BUILD A WINDOWS PHONE APP!

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LET’S SEE WHAT THE OPTIONS ARE

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AN OPTION FROM ABOVE:

Menu: Do you own a restaurant, or maybe just have that favorite place that you go to every week? Use this template to show your customers or your friends t…

I DO NOT OWN A RESTAURANT SO I WILL SELECT ‘CREATE AN EMPTY APP’

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THE LOGO UPLOAD FAILED. SORRY TECHCRUNCH NO FREE LOVE FOR YOU. LET’S SEE WHAT IS NEXT:

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TRYING TO ADD STUFF TO THE SOMETHING, I’M KINDA CONFUSED. OH IT WORKED, LOOK EVERYONE:

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MY APP NOW HAS A BUTTON THING. OK, HIT ME WITH THE NEW SHIT, MICROSOFT:

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WE’VE GONE FULL PINK. THERE IS A JOKE THERE SOMEHOW. BUT LET’S MOVE ON:

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OK ERIC, WE’RE ALMOST DONE. THE LONG AWAITED, TECHRUNCH APP FOR WINDOWS PHONE!

THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU WIN THE GAME:

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Alex, you are certainly thinking, that’s unfair. Mostly, but not entirely.

Microsoft has created a tool that makes it possible for anyone to create a simple Windows Phone application. You can download the source code as well, if you want to take things to the next level. It’s a somewhat appealing opportunity: Instead of making a complete fool of yourself trying to make the code compile, skip that and work with objects and relationships to get your first app off the ground.

Apple and Google don’t offer similar tools, despite the fact that their platforms – iOS and Android respectively – are older than Windows Phone.

What Windows Phone lacks is not a quantity of applications – it has 160,000. Instead what it lacks is a strong cadre of amazing applications. Any serious developer, the sort that could build one of the aforementioned amazing applications, will not be impressed with the above tool.

For students, and others that might want to dabble in development, what Microsoft has put together is cool. In fact, if this was marketed to middle and high schools, it could go a long way to getting folks into development for the first time. The app creator tool lacks sufficient firepower to create applications whole-cloth that are ready for the Windows Phone Store.

Is the builder tilted at students, or talented developers? The latter. Here’s Microsoft:

We know you – the savvy developer filled with great ideas but not enough time. If only you had a way to quickly build and test your latest innovations. With the Windows Phone App Studio, you do!

The Windows Phone App Sudio lets you swiftly build apps for immediate publishing, testing, and sharing with clients, co-workers, and focus groups. Need to make changes or try variations? With the App Studio it’s a snap!

I take them at their word.

I remain bullish on Windows Phone – sorry Dieter - and its developer outreach work. Hell, I’ve met with that team and run through their entire strategy. Smart folks. But the above is at best a rough canvas for app idea generation.

What irks me about this is that Microsoft, in its positioning of the Windows Phone App Studio as something more serious than it is, self-dinged their media cycle. The press is taking it as a sign of desperation at the company, looking to juice developer activity. That was avoidable.

Still, as soon as Lyft picks up Windows Phone, I’m probably going back.

As an aside, this is not the first time that an ‘app generator’ has churned out applications that are less than beautiful. A tool called AppyPie (oh dear) helps the non-technical person bang out an iOS application. It usually doesn’t end well.

Top Image Credit: Karin Dalziel