Microsoft has a new weapon in its battle to get more apps for Windows Phone: a tool that will analyse an iPhone app and offer shortcuts for developers to port it to Windows Phone.Microsoft focused first on a few high-profile consumer apps, talking to companies like Rovio (Angry Birds), Netflix, and Pandora to try and convince them to build on Windows Phone. It also did a lot of outreach at its MIX developer conferences for the last two years.
That approach has gotten Windows Phone up to 15,000 apps — not bad for a platform that’s less than six months old, but still far behind the 350,000 apps in Apple’s App Store.
So now, Microsoft is offering iPhone developers a little more help. The iPhone-Windows Phone API Mapping Tool looks at an iPhone app and figures out which iOS APIs it’s calling. (An API, or application program interface, is how an application communicates with the underlying operating system and/or hardware.) Then, it maps each of those APIs to an equivalent Windows Phone 7 technique. The tool also offers code samples for developers who aren’t familiar with the Microsoft platform.
Right now, the tool only works for three areas: network and Internet, user interface, and data management. But Microsoft eventually plans to add support for areas like audio and video, graphics and animation, security, and performance.