Microsoft Research has released a beta of TouchStudio, an innovative scripting app that lets you write code for your phone, on... your phone!
You may love your mobile but use it to write code? No way! for that you need a big machine and most of all a keyboard - a real keyboard.
A team from Microsoft Research is working on a new programming environment and language that could change all this and specifically the way we code for mobile devices.
TouchStudioApp attempts to take account of changes that are affecting the way we interact with devices: instead of keyboards touchscreens become more common; mobile devices are often equipped with more sensors, such as location information and acceleration, and are always connected to the internet.
The result is a typed, structured programming language built around the idea of only using a touchscreen as the input device to author code. It has built-in primitives which make it easy to access the sensor data available on a mobile device. You basically put together a program by selecting standard blocks of code using the touch screen and only resorting to a keyboard for fine tuning.
It envisages that the state of the program will be automatically distributed between mobile clients and the cloud, with automatic synchronization of data and execution between clients and cloud, freeing the programmer from worrying (or even having to know) about the details. This is the bit that is clever and it will be interesting to see if it can be achieved.
The initial beta is available from the Windows Phone 7 marketplace. Obviously being the product of Microsoft Research it is likely to stay a Windows Phone 7 only app but there is no reason why something similar could not be created for other mobiles.