Microsoft continues to try to persuade developers to port their apps to Windows Phone 7 and now has set its App Guy to crawl the web.
It may well be that the whole future of Microsoft rests on the future of Windows Phone 7. As Windows as a desktop operating system becomes less and less important, Microsoft's only chance of keeping a hold on the market is to have a successful mobile device - hence Windows Phone 7 and the huge amount of effort that the company is putting into creating it. However as an end user you aren't gong to buy a Windows Phone unless it has the apps that make it useful - and at the moment it doesn't. So what does Microsoft do? It produces some guides to converting iOS and now Android apps to Windows Phone 7.
The new conversion package for Android consists of:
The API mapping tool simply allows you to select an Android class, method and property and see what it corresponds to in the Silverlight/.NET framework. Mostly the help that you get is at the level of identifying roughly the same sort of functionality rather than a one -to-one replacement.
Microsoft clearly hopes that we developers will do the work for them because there is now a comments section that invites your hints and tips on how to make the conversion.
Another very odd development is "The App Guy" who
"crawls developer forums aggregating discussions from different locations to answer questions related to porting iOS and Android applications to Windows Phone, but hey, that’s just one guy for now, anybody can help out."
Well is the App Guy real or is "he" a clever aggregation program?
The problem is that porting from Android to Windows Phone 7 isn't easy because the architecture are so very different. However Silverlight programming is fairly easy and in many cases the simplest thing to do is start from scratch using the Android, or iOS app as a model for what you are trying to create.
It is good that Microsoft has gone to the trouble to help with porting and it is is good that it plans to do more to encourage programmers to port their apps to Windows Phone 7. However until Windows Phone 7 settles down and reaches a market share that looks worth writing for, developers are going to be attracted to either iOS, for its revenue generation, or to Android, for its openness.
Windows Phone 7 is still a gamble and by adding fear and doubt to the status of Silverlight and .NET in general Microsoft are making it look less stable rather than more so.
Microsoft has magic iOS to WP7 conversion tool?