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Unofficial WP7 Homebrew Marketplace gets a start

While we await Microsoft's solution to the Hombrew community, something that will take a bit of a hit with NoDo (since ChevronWP7 won't work with it), developers are still going forward, regardless.

Over at XDA, developer kuerbis2 has laid the groundwork for a Homebrew Marketplace by releasing a new XAP installer and even more importantly, a protocol handler (like the “zune:”-URLs) called "wphome". That last bit sort of huge as it allows people to "register" their homebrew XAP files, thereby creating hyperlinks to allow easy distribution/installation of said files. The features so far are summarized as follows:

  • In-place update on the phone: In-place update on the phone, e.g. if you already have Version 1.0.0.0 of an app installed on the phone and install 1.0.2.0 an in-place update will performed. No more full "uninstall-new install" cycle required. Your settings, custom files etc. won't be removed (same as marketplace update)
  • Deploy from file or URL: You can either specify a file or an URL. If you enter an URL the installer will automatically download the xap.
  • Own protocol "wphome": Zune's one-click download for homebrew apps. Automatically install homebrew XAPs with a click on a hyperlink. If you want, you can register the application for the wphome protocol. The application will then be allowed to handle urls like wphome:www.test.com/test.xap and will automatically start as soon as you click on such a link

Like we said, this is pretty big news as no one has gone this far in creating a framework for a homebrew marketplace. If enough devs adopt this protocol (and we see little reason why they should not), then we'll have a standard for distribution, as opposed to just attachments in a forum. Of course, people still need a way to side-load applications i.e. developer unlocked without paying $99 a year--for that we'll have to wait for Microsoft to provide a solution, otherwise the homebrew community will be forever niche. Stay tuned for more...

Source: XDA; Thanks, Tobias, for the tip!

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

6 Comments
  • Sweet! I'm glad to see this is progressing nicely.Great job, kuerbis2.
  • If anybody used Chevron WP7 on 7.0.7004.0 and used XDA's hack to prevent device relock, homebrew apps can still be installed to a Chevron unlocked phone. I am currently running NoDo on a phone that was unlocked with Chevron WP7 and am still able to deploy homebrew XAPs without a developer license.
  • Hmmm, a hack to allow the hack to work.Really looking forward to a full blown working homebrew solution near-term to complement MS's efforts thus far. Since it appears updates are few and far between homebrew should be able to fill in the gaps while we wait impatiently.
  • I too can confirm this. My Focus is on the forced NoDo update and I previously had the option to not relock the phone so I'm still using all of the homebrew apps I had and can still deploy apps too. I'm pretty sure if you roll back your phone to pre NoDo you can jailbreak it, set it to not relock, and then do the forced update again. I haven't tried it but it SHOULD work.
  • They should add a Homebrew Marketplace link to the XDA app.
  • All i want to do is be able to download .xap files on my Focus that is DEV unlocked. which i think should be able to be done anyway like from say XDA app