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Microsoft wants to know what APIs are needed to build better apps

Microsoft is calling on developers to submit what APIs they need or want to be able to build apps. "As we continue to evolve and grow Windows, we want your feedback on the APIs you need to be successful," the company said in an open forum message asking developers to voice their needs.

"The most useful feedback will be in the form of requests for specific APIs or specific 3rd-party libraries, along with a general description of the scenario they help solve," the company continued. Additionally, it also wants to know if developers need to break free of the app sandbox to properly implement and use the API.

So, what APIs do you need access to for Windows apps? Be sure to sound off in the comments and let Microsoft know.

Source: Microsoft

Chuong Nguyen
Senior Editor

Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails. For news tips or to connect, please message him on the Signal messaging app at +1 (424) 666-7438. 

343 Comments
  • This is what is needed.. Salute to Microsoft..
  • We need an api for displaying incoming caller id for truecaller. Much needed!
  • +1 for truecaller
  • Hopefully they'll release enough APIs so we won't hear about, "this is WP OS limitation" anymore.
  • animations on livetiles! :D (not just flipping or showing single images) :D
  • Nice idea ... I just hope it won't drain the battery life  also ... I would like an airdrop equivalent for win8 and wp8. Wouldn't it be great? Vote it if you like  http://wpdev.uservoice.com/forums/253374-missing-platform-apis/suggestions/6091990-airdrop-equivalent
  • Yeah, I kinda miss the animated tiles for Xbox music and games hub with my avatar peeking through.
  • Personally I wouldnt like any third party app to allow access to my call details... Just my thought may b others may want this...
  • Android allows it but you have to agree to share that info when you install the app. So if you're very attentive you can make sure you don't have apps that can do that. Android's not a good app store for people who don't want to pay attention to permissions but who want privacy. MS's way favors the lazy user (like me) but that does prevent some apps from working if you actually want to let an app access that data.
  • it will be your choice...don't install the app if you don't want it to access your call details..simple
  • Bro most of the time ppl don't read the permissions and Microsoft as much I know currenlt only shows a warning while installing Only for location services acess to app... So either there should be permission denying fir each kind of permission or no such API. Because for me privacy is more important than knowing who called me :P and again I would say thats just me...others may have differnt taste and opinions...
  • Its not microsoft's mistake if you don't read the permissions. You don't like it but some people do. Thats why it will be an option, they are not forcing it on you.
  • They said the same on Android, but now I have about 10 updates per month, each with permissions to read and approve. it sucks! I would not want it on WP.
  • +1020
  • So that means you like to read privacy policies too....I want that this shouldn't become like privacy policies which 99% ppl dont read. It'll be a mess as Android... And I even told that its everyones own taste... Also FB app says they need location services to let you download app so you dont download if u dont want to give permissions?? There should b proper backend b4 implementing such APIs.
  • A facebook style permission control of installed apps. You know, so that I can uncheck certain stuff.
  • +920  I don't want this either... WP shouldn't become Android insecure.
  • +10000000
  • They should have done this a year ago.
  • Instead.. Of cribbing ... Of they shud have done in a yr before..., u shud appreciate that they have done it... Rome wasn't built in a day.. Neither ios and android were perfect at the launch...and still they aren't perfect.. Microsoft is hearing developers and users and that's great..
  • But Rome did do a hell of a good job conquering while building, and not one at a time. :D
  • Fair point. I think alot of the grief Microsoft gets (whether fair or not) comes from the fact that iOS and Android are matured and that there should be a sense of urgency on Microsoft's part.
  • +920
  • Seriously non productive.
  • Whatever API that Snapchat needs (IIRC something that lets them know of a screenshot being taken). Although 6snap does a decent job, I would love an official client with real-time push notifications. Also, the ability/hooks to add browsers NOT based on IE(Trident engine) - something like Firefox.   At this point, Snapchat is the messaging app of choice for most teenagers and people under 35 (they are the demographic that seems to influence what is considered a hot/in phone/mobile technology for the most part).  
  • This new and more direct communication Microsoft is taking up with developers and consumers alike is incredible! Keep it up, Microsoft! Loving the turnaround!
  • Developing for Microsoft platforms >
  • Hopefully they will give Rudy huyn API for video upload to 6tag
  • I thought 8.1 already solved this?
  • How about save my video too.
  • I thought 8.1 solved this too, but SDI many updates to 6snap, 6tin etc and still no video upload gives me doubts.
  • They did solve it, see MovieJax and Movie Studio for what can be done with the new APIs. Rudy just hasn't integrated them yet. He needs to split out his app first if he wants to use them, because he needs to be able to output an 8.0 app without the new functionality and an 8.1 app with it.
  • He said it has to be re-written for 8.1 to have uploading feature. I guess he is waiting for official 8.1 release.
  • No need to wait, he can release it whenever he wants and it will only be available to 8.1 users. Then he can get some good testing feedback before everyone has it. But he may not be finished yet.
  • More apps are coming.....
  • Where do I begin....
    .....................
    Music production❕❕❕ We need api's so that developers can leverage the audio in WP devices..
    ...........
    Like I've said before,, just like lenses for the camera developers should be able to make apps that can take total control over audio settings.. These apps could be accessed from the XBM app, just as lenses let's us open photo apps from our cameras... Here's a few examples of what these apps could look like... Im really sick of Apple getting all the attention from music, and audio, production software companies.. MS needs to tap into this huge market❗
    ..............
    http://tinypic.com/a/36ctf/1
  • I totally agree. It's not only the features- it's also cause of Apple's lit-up logo on the back of it. It looks "cool" to presenters. Plus, they think their PC will "crash." Bullcrap. Mine never did! Anyways, you don't need Apple for beatuful hardware. I have an HP Pavilion DV7 and it looks way better than a Mac. It has the light, as well as a steel exterior. But in those pictures... that's way too small. It would be hard to press things. You could mess up. This should be aimed more for Surface.
  • It's more of an example of the types of controls that would be possible... This certainly isn't possible with WP the way it is now.
  • Wow, those concepts look really good!
  • I really just took some sequencing, and audio processing programs from the internet, and fashioned them onto a WP device using the device shot app... We WP fans really need to start using Device Shot more often to explain what we're talking about... The reason I use tiny pic is because its just easier, faster, and more strait forward to use on the fly than OneDrive...
  • Right now MS is scratching their heads.."Music APIs? They can buy music from our store. What more can possibly be done with music?"
  • Seriously!! They need to start thinking in terms of control, and production... They did good by allowing control over video in WP8.1, and we really haven't seen anything yet, but as far as music the only options we have are native equalization, presets, and Dolby processing... Developers can finally make music apps, but those can't even integrate with XBM passes.... My Qcore 1520 is perfectly capable of running sequencing, and audio enhancing, software, so MS needs to add the many API's that'll let developers take advantage of high end WP hardware..
  • If this were reddit, you'd be getting gold for that brilliant comment.
  • LOL!
  • Wow.. What a leap forward.. !!!
  • no.
  • Lmao
  • :D
  • Can someone explain exactly what an API is? Im a developer and know a lot about Windows platforms, etc...but one thing I don't quite understand is an API. From what I understand its an extension to the dev tools to implement certain things into the app, SM I correct?
  • Basically. API means Application Programming Interface. An API for Cortana would allow apps to implement commands into her. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • An API defines an interface between code libaries.  It is the public and unchanging bit. If you are a developer, when you write code you are effectively creating mini APIs in classes between objects, but often these are in flux as you don't need to fix them as changes do not impact anyone. The APIs in .NET typically often expose core OS features that you otherwise cannot access.  How to talk to hardware - cameras, Bluetooth etc.  Other times they provide access to libraries of commonly required code.  E.g. list handling etc. This is a nice opportunity, if you've ever tried to do X from WinRT and couldn't, to give some feedback.  E.g. I used to be frustrated by the limitations of background running tasks until 8.1.  And BTLE didn't exist until 8.1.  That actually made me think of something to request.  This post was worth it after all!
  • To tell the truth about it, post, and subjects like this, are the most important news about WP, as far as the platform growing in functionality, and market share.. Sure the average consumer doesn't care to think about this stuff, but it's things like this that are the reason they choose one platform over another... MS should not have waited so long to make this user voice page...
    ..........
    Nevertheless, we can see what MS's goal for future versions of the OS is... And, for years I've been saying that WP is lacking the fun stuff, the cool head turning stuff, but I seriously believe that we're going to finally get it with WP8.5, 9, or whatever the next major version is..... Although, I'm hoping that MS plans on giving developers more access in smaller GDR updates before then.... I'm sure they are.
  • Zack as you work more with windows-based development you'll find that a API is a great way for a software engineer to slowly kill the heart muscle of a systems administrator over a period of time. :)
  • lol
  • It's just a class library with specific functions. MSFT lock this down for security and stability reason.
  • ZakTheNever, you are a developer and you know a lot about Windows platform? Then how come you don't know what API means or is? Did you google it (or bing it)? Don't get me wrong dude, I am not bitching, I'm just confused :-)) P.S. Have you developed some WP8 app? Would love to check it, honestly :-)
  • He could be 15 or very young.. Cut him some slack.. Either that or just being facetious..
  • It needs WebKit. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Webkit isn't an APi...
  • Yes it is. WebKit.org
    WebKit could allow Kik to finally add its sticker store. I need it bad. As far as I know, it doesn't have it. I never updated it. Edit: I see what you mean. Apparently it's some project of theirs. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Webkit is a rendering engine for web browsers, with an API for software integration. Windows Phone runs IE, which uses Trident, a different (and shall we say more strictly W3C compliant) rendering engine.   Kik could update their apps by using approved standards as theyre meant, rather than use webkit specific functions and forks of the W3C standards. The whole webkit excuse is exactly that: an excuse.
  • Or it could also be just good business. 90% of the smartphones out there have Webkit-capable browsers. What is MS' excuse? (and don't say standards compliance, with MSFT's history that'd be hilarious).
  • and don't say standards compliance, with MSFT's history that'd be hilarious The past may affect the present, but doesn't mean it defines it. Microsoft, for better or worse, needs to adhere to the standards. They tried the "popular route" once. In fact, they were the popular route. Or it could also be just good business Yeah... That sure worked out for Microsoft with Internet Explorer. That worked out well for them. /s Honestly, adhering to the standards can ensure moderate compatibility with the web no matter who is popular. Webkit will one day no longer be the popular one, and any browser using it will be the new IE6. 90% of the smartphones out there have Webkit-capable browsers. That's debatable, but even if true, a majority of smartphones are either running iOS or Android. That's just two OSes. It's not really a fair comparison. Throw in desktops and tablets, and then you got Gecko, Trident, Webkit, and Google's fork of Webkit, not to mention a number of smaller ones likely out there. In summary, using Webkit because it's popular isn't good business sense, and is not a viable long term plan. Microsoft has put alot of time, money, and research into IE, and to throw it all away to rebuild IE for Webkit would be senseless and absurd. Microsoft needs a browser that will last. Telling a company it's their fault that the browser doesn't load a page with Webkit code, rather than putting the responsibility on the developers who choose not to adhere to standards set before them, is plain stupid. Microsoft is trying their best to make their browser work, and they've done a damn good job too, but they can only do so much. It's up to the developers to use the standards rather than using browser-selective, experimental, our otherwise non-standard code when building WebPages and software.
  • WebKit is better than Trident, deal with it.
  • This conversation is no longer relevant, but I'll leave with this: Feature List & Exclusivity != Better
  • How irony. A lot's of people says otherwise when IE has such exclusivity. You know what is better? When developers does not need to code their website/webapp for various browsers. Less time to develop, quicker the site/app to be delivered. Less vendor-lock on client side. Higher customer satisfaction.
  • Exactly.
  • WebKit does have API. But WebKit itself is not API. It's a rendering engine which have some non-standard HTML-CSS syntax. Rather than request other people to follow a non-standard language, you should request those who lazy enough to follow standard guidelines (yes .. You should protest to Kik for their laziness).
  • That's what I meant to say. Thanks for the clarification, though. You see, I was just interested why the Android version of Kik does more. And it said it needed an API called WebKit. Then, I went to the website and it said rendering engine. So I thought I could use the word "WebKit" to mean API and Rendering Engine.
  • The "Webkit API" requires Webkit to work, and as Internet Explorer users Trident, it is unavailable on Windows Phone. Your mistake is understandable though. Kik, I feel, purposefully used improper terminology to elicit consumer upset and confusion. Honestly, Kik is using Webkit as an excuse for lazy programming, at best.
  • Kik being one of the most popular messaging services out there should approach Microsoft for help in building their app with the Trident Engine. But Microsoft should also think of adding WebKit support for the browsers as some websites are pretty badly optimized for Trident. So both Kik and Microsoft are at fault.
  • Microsoft isn't really at fault. The reason some websites don't work well with trident is due to using non-standard code that is specific to Webkit. Furthermore, since some standards are even implemented in a non-standard way ( -webkit- prefixed ), this even further causes sites that omit the original standard to have issue in non-Webkit browsers. Compound this with the popularity of chrome causing some web developers to be oblivious to the fact that not all code they may be using is standard, and you're looking at a heavily fragmented web. It would be like if I built a cross-platform app, but on each platform I used code for a feature that is unrecognizable by anything other than Android. And last I knew, in order for Microsoft to bring Webkit to Windows Phone, they would have to rewrite Internet Explorer to use Webkit, and omit Trident entirely. Developers being lazy (at worst), or oblivious (at best), should not be the fault of Microsoft, but of the Developers.
  • Webkit, noooooo, no.
  • There is no downside of giving developers the ability to use the Webkit standard.
  • There is no such thing as a "Webkit standard". And while there may not be a downside directly to Microsoft, there is a downside to all browers being based on WebKit, and more importantly, on web sites targeting WebKit specifically and exclusively.
  • Never heard anything about "webkit standard". Standard is something that has been approved by standard authority that will be implemented by any product which want to be compatible with said standard. We cannot take an implementation of certain product as standard. Those who despise IE6 because it does not adhere to standards now supporting webkit which does the same. How irony.
  • Breaking free of the sandbox could be a good thing, but, it could also hurt our secure environment and lead to more malicious type of apps that steal data that they do not need. That is how I feel about that. Depends on the API that they want to break free.
  • Microsoft could do it, but would need to only allow it for certain apps. For example, it would be great for K9 Web Protection to monitor IE and block inapp websites. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • & a final nail in the xbl coffin for wp
  • NO NEVER !! PLEASE don't want that! An App should never ever ever hav direct acces to the system oder can break free. Some useful APIs like the File Picker or so are welcome, but please not more. In the and it is like Android, unsave as hell ...
  • Do you realize that no matter what malicious app gets published, we are safe? Even if Microsoft allows breaking free of the sandbox for COMPANIES THAT REQUEST IT AND THEY TRUST, Microsoft still checks each app to see if it's malicious or not. If it's safe, they release it. On Android, though, developers can release whatever app they want, and the the users try it and flag it as malicious or not.
  • At BUILD they showed they were happy for corporate WinRT apps to break the sandbox but store apps to not.  This helped legacy apps access older technology. Personally I don't think it should change as the current security model is great.
  • I was thinking about this the other day and now I can't remember what it was. Edit: I remember. Dynarec is needed.....
  • This...indeed
  • I was thinking the same thing. It would finally allow porting better emulators to WP - but it DOES have its downsides as well: It could REALLY hinder the OS's security, because as you might already know, allowing DRC is opening the gates for some of the nastier viruses and trojans out there... So, is it really worth it? I don't think Microsoft would agree...
  • No no no. We just need API's for Music, Background download and few other stuff, this is totally not needed. WP is a secure platform let it stay that way. If you want Emulator, use a PC :3
  • I want this too... Sadly I give it a slim chance
  • Let us transfer multiple files via Bluetooth natively please..
  • Expansion of Bluetooth as a whole
  • Battery level for Bluetooth devices! Disappointed 8.1 did not add this
  • A smiling Smurf, inverted?
  • Yep, still cant share videos over Bluetooth.
  • You can do this via the FILES app in WP 8.1 just make sure Bluetooth is turned on and then share.
  • Thanks. But still gonna wait for the official release.
  • Ask for a wifi direct API's, Bluetooth is slow in transferring files.
  • +920 wifi direct, also, able to configure or change the ip address.. this may be a feature request that can be addresed in future, but as of now open up that configuration in form of api :)   actually my home router, sometimes hesitate dhcp
  • WP Notification APIs for smart watches.. Better hooks into notification toasts for download progress and running apps like GPS Deeper OS events to support rule based apps like OnX
  • Pull it all together with smartwatch driven events to fire rules!!!!
  • Woow....this.........that's what they needed......they should try this for WP too......
  • That's a nice step.
  • Microsoft should provide more core apps, we have got file manager and video editor which are great, we also need more native stuff like voice recorder (current ones stop recording when screen is off)
    Microsoft can actually play with these API and release native apps.
    While maintaining the security wp is known for
  • MS has alot of poc apps just they dont seem to make it out of testing lookup Microsoft in app social search
  • A native voice recorder would be amazing. The only one good enough I found is that in #1toolkit (app)
  • Mini recorder free works with screen off.
  • cortana does voice recording tell her to take a note it records it and translates it to text as well, i wish it worked with bluetooth headsets while the screen was locked tho, it would be nice to take notes while walking arround ect.
  • There are many voice recorders that work under the lock screen. I would love to be able to record voice calls.
  • Recording voice calls is illegal in some places but where it is legal, the recording cannot be shown to anyone else without both parties consent. It's a bit of a grey area really. In the UK, it is compulsary for companies to tell you they are recording the call before they talk to you, this make the recording legal so they can use it in court if they have to.
  • Just call the NSA for a copy, they have them all ;)
  • OneNote has voice recording capabilities
  • A way to embed legacy apps in the windows 8 store for x86 only. It would be sandboxed and available via the store.
  • Not sure if it changed, but I heard RT lacks MIDI. Need more music oriented stuff....
  • Agreed. MIDI is an issue, as is low latency audio
  • I use a novation launchkey 25 on my surface rt running FL Groove and im able to use it fine
  • Embed ASIO! Damn! Geez.
  • And more and more unified apps, that's what is needed.
    Windows phone store has any day more apps than windows 8/RT store
  • I think its the other way around
  • No, he's right
  • What API are you referencing?
  • The alarm API is sorely lacking - the developer should have full control over the popup via a custom control. Alarm apps on WP are either crippled or forced to run in the foreground.
  • Windows metro apps have same restrictions
  • One thing that confuses me about the apps when looking at windows phone and Windows 8/rt. My surface 2 is more powerful than my 920. So why does almost every app on my surface run like crap compared to the apps on my 920? Really becomes obvious when the same app is available for both.
  • Its because they let in NVIDIA aswell as Qualcomm & Texas instruments(though there were never any in production tablets that used them)
  • Huh? I have A DV8PRO and a 920, and I think apps in windows 8 are faster and way better looking. Is this just because I have windows 8?
  • He's talking about an ARM tablet that runs Windows RT.  Whole different beast than an Intel one.
  • I know. And yet the surface 2 is right there in benchmarks with dv8pro. Weird.
  • Need low latency audio (
  • Microsoft wants to know ? I thought microsoft should teach people not know from them
  • My thought too
  • Microsoft does know... This is just a way for them to reach out to developers.
  • Nooo keep the sandbox in place!
  • Google API
  • Microsoft has issues with Google.
  • More like Google has issues with Windows Phone.
  • ^Yep. Carlos, I meant to say. that
  • Yeah they're just scared that if they give us apps and such that people will switch from android to windows phone. So really they see too much potential in windows phone. That's my thought.
  • Yeah and that what proved people about the operating system. Microsoft wants their customers to love their products whatever device they are using. Not like google who are super scared to provide their apps to other platforms
  • Pretty sure Google isn't afraid of Windows Phone. The spat between MS and Google stems purely from Microsoft's Scroogled campaign. Posted via Windows Phone Central App
  • Google denied Microsoft access to their API's long before the Scroogled campaign. They see them selves as a direct competitor --- and Microsoft continues to keep it that way by attempting to counter every move Google makes to overtake another bit of Microsoft. From search, to cloud storage, maps, to phones, to whatever else you can think of.Google supports Apple because even though they also compete with Apple, Apple tends to remain in its own lane.
  • November 2012. That's what I found :D
  • +720
  • I don't know what API's are but I think they are needed to make a fully functional youtube app. So we definetly need it..
  • Have u tried my tube?
  • I haven't..but its free for today so definitely trying :D
  • No they aren't. Windows Phone and Windows RT developer
  • SQL Server Compact Edition and LINQ to SQL. Oh, and please bring the Sync Framework back from the dead, and bake it into Azure Mobile Services. That is all. ;-)
  • Awe-inspiring
  • Music! We need eq