Microsoft announces changes to unify Windows and Windows Phone developer communities

It was only earlier today when we looked at reports hinting that Microsoft was on the edge of announcing some changes to the Windows Phone and Windows developer account management. Redmond has now confirmed these changes in an announcement article on the official developer blog. So, as a recap, what exactly is changing?

Everything will be business as usual, but should you be a registered Windows Phone developer, you'll now be able to submit content to the Windows Store. The same goes for registered Windows developers and the Windows Phone Store. Microsoft has essentially unified both platforms to make it easy for developers to build and deploy apps for both.

"New developers can register and existing developers can renew their account using the same Microsoft account. Developers will enter registration information just once and pay a single lower price of $19 for an Individual and $99 for a Company account, providing access to publish apps for both Windows and Windows Phone users."

While your Microsoft account and developer subscription will cover both stores, you'll still be required to use the separate Windows Store and Windows Phone Dev Center dashboards to submit and manage content. Microsoft's Todd Brix also lightly touches on the DVLUP community and how developers can get involved to complete challenges to earn points that can eventually be redeemed for prizes - including Lumia Windows Phones.

For more information, be sure to check out the full blog post.

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • Nice!!!!!
  • Gangsta!
  • Real muthaphakin g's.....Easy-E
  • Unification is coming soon
  • I thought that app was dead?
  • It is. -_-
  • Unification of the app stores. I'm not talking about the app
  • lol
  • They seem to have combined their purchasing too according the the Bing rewards gift card that is good for both Windows Store and Windows Phone apps.
  • There should be one store. It should contain Phone, Windows, 360 and One apps. Should have been that way since day 1.
  • It's a step forward.   I want to see them make it "easy" for developers to write apps for both platforms and set it up so that consumers buy only one version of an app for both platforms.   If they end up including the Xbox One in that unified ecosystem that would be nice as well.    A unified ecosystem makes for a more tempting market for developers and creates a positive feedback between platforms.   So us on Windows Phone can expect to see the user base for Windows 8/8.1 leveraged as part of a unified ecosystem. MS needs to sucessfully pull off the entirety of the task.
  • Completely agree, at least if you buy the more expensive windows 8 app, you should get phone for free.
  • Agree, if we developers don't have to manage separate code bases. But if we still need to then we would charge separately as well. As simple as that.
  • Right now, Windows and Windows Phone apps can share 99.9% of C# code. However, the XAML (which only dictates design) has to be rewritten. This ensures Windows Phone apps and Windows apps look as they should.
    What I was hoping Microsoft would do with Windows 8 (not applicable in 8.1 because of different split options) is have the narrower split version of the app be the phone app.
  • +1. This is all they need. We should be able to write the win8.1 app, and specify a layout style for if its running on a phone. That simple.
  • Sharing basic code can even be done with Android and iOS, i don't see your point.     Even with MVVM and the same programming languages doesn't make Windows 8 apps and Windows Phone 8 apps the same.       That would make all WPF, Silverlight apps compatible with Windows Phone 8.
  • With slight interface tweaks, they are though. What I'm saying is it should, not that it necessarily is already.
  • MVVM takes care of most for C#, but how about you just give me WinJS on Windows Phone?  That would solve my mobile and web code sharing challenges.
  • About bloody time!
  • What about coding wise, like transferring a wp app to windows, and vice versa?
  • No change. Same cores etc is a myth still. You need to amend apps.
  • Stop spreading FUD. The apps have to be visually redesigned but the logic can be copied and pasted between a WP app and a Win8 app.
  • Maybe if you are writing a hello world app Ticomfreak, portable class libraries let you share code easily between W8 and WP8 but nearly nothing can go in a PCL. No security frameworks so no SHA hashing etc. The differences between WinRT and WinPhoneRT are huge. Copy and paste logic.....yea if your logic is light weight. There is not even a unified SQLlite DB library, there are separate forks for W8 and WP8 so again coding to different libraries.
  • Yep ... and another "minor" difference between WinRT and WinPRT is that in WinPRT you can't write a monolithic XAML/C++/Direct3D program. You can only access XAML from C# and you can only access Direct3D from C++. It's stupid. Not to mention that there is no way in WinPRT to load a PNG or even BMP file into a D3D texture, you have to decode them yourself (WinPRT doesn't have WIC while WinRT does). It's a shame because D3D is close enough to the metal that you get very good performance compared to other platforms. My WP8 app is at least as fast as my iOS competitors and much faster than my Android competitors, mainly because I use as little of the RT API as possible and stick with the Win32-era APIs (CreateFile, ReadFile, FindFirstFile, etc.). FindFirst/FindNext is 250X faster than their RT equivalents (yes, more than two orders of magnitude faster). Other devs on MSDN have reported that Win32 is 1800X faster than RT in other file operations, like reading headers from large numbers of files (e.g. photos). MSFT's only response is to blame everything on the File Broker. Whoever designed and coded the FB should be fired yesterday. They are totally incompetent.  
  • It will be fixed in Windows 9
    RT goes to phone and gains the phone stack. Kind of a merger.
    I see it like RT gets the phone features and gets inserted into phones.
  • According to MJF and Thurrott, MSFT is looking to grow WinPRT into tablets rather than bring WinRT down to phones (which is not a surprise since Myerson came from WinPhone). I have zero confidence in the current team pulling this off successfully (or even coherently). For example, in GDR3 WP8 is getting support for 1080p phones ... but they've already screwed that up: The ScaleFactor should return 225 but instead it's going to return 150. I think that's going to break my app which uses the ScaleFactor to scale the input coord deltas to pixel coords for my Direct3D component. I guess that's because they want to keep the logical width at 480 DIPS. Well, the whole point of XAML and WinRT was to create a scalable UI and API. They screwed that up initially by naming scaling constants and now, because they named constants (which devs will gravitate to and layout to), they're stuck faking resolutions too. It's stupid. Anyway, we'll see what happens when we get emulator images that support 1080p resolutions for testing.  
  • Absolutely, and anything XAML is really slow, you start building huge lists of objects within scrollviews etc and then navigate between pages.... Laaaaaaag. So yea I completely believe that the C++ - D3D option would be significantly faster!
  • That's the critical part and likely the hardest aspect.  They are still working on it.   We should see some progress in 2014 on that.  I am not sure exactly when they think they'll have that achieved, maybe 2015? I expect someone can chime in and give us some details that I have forgotten.  
  • great news!
  • I wonder when will the real unification come. Aka. store unification
  • This is awesome news! No excuse for developers not to join in on this.
  • Mmmmm, this means nothing to me.
  • You have to form a Q if you want food Jeff Vader
  • Sweet, now I can create and submit a Windows Store version of my app without having to pay for another subscription. It always did annoy me that they were two different subscriptions which is one of the reasons I don't have a Windows Store App yet.
  • Cool one fee
  • Wow, I actually didn't know that they were separate. Well, that saves me $20, when I port my app to Windows 8!
  • This is a great development.
  • Ok, so is the official Facebook app appearing on Win8.1 coming to Windows Phone soon? I hate the MS version of the app.
  • Microsoft is going on a right track. Good job Microsoft.
  • Great!