Microsoft Updates Windows Phone App Studio With New Graphics, SkyDrive Integration

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Microsoft’s bid to help anyone to build applications for its Windows Phone platform continued this week, with an update to Windows Phone App Studio that improves the graphical diversity of apps and improved SkyDrive integration.

TechCrunch felt that Windows Phone App Studio was an interesting idea at launch and actually took the software for a spin, building our very own app for fun on the day it was released. It remains a beginners’ tool, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have potential, especially for students and niche small businesses.

It was something of a hit for Microsoft, seeing nearly 50,000 projects started in its first two days. Microsoft, not expecting such demand, had to rate-limit the inflow of new users for a period.

So, what’s new? You can now access photos that you have on SkyDrive in your application, navigation has been improved, new “icons, backgrounds, and stock images” that are available to developers, and, according to Paul Thurrott, bug fixes and performance bumps are part of the total package.

A final improvement is cleaner code samples. Microsoft claims to have made “a ton of progress” improving generated code, with the goal for “clean and lean code.” Better code is simpler to grok by beginners, the key audience for the platform.

As a platform, the Studio won’t change the short-term fortune of the Windows Phone platform, but it could help the next generation of developers become interested in Microsoft technologies. That’s no small prize.

Top Image Credit: Vernon Chan