On top of Windows 8, Microsoft is betting a lot on the success of Windows Phone 8. It's their chance to break into the consumer market in a big way. Tablets are nice, but everybody has a phone. That's why Microsoft has been doing everything they can to make Windows Phone development as simple as possible. That simplicity just got better.
Microsoft launched their new Windows Phone Dev Center recently and it has all sorts of goodies for the amateur and veteran Windows Phone developer. The first obvious change is that the Web site has moved to a fresh URL. Besides the fresh URL, the Web site design itself has changed to be more welcoming and easy on the eyes.
As for the other changes, everything has been streamlined to make submitting apps as easy as possible. That's why there's a new "Submit App" button right there on the front page. Microsoft wants developers to know that they're open for business all the time.
There's also been a few major overhauls to the Microsoft Developer Network. The entire new Web site has been integrated into MSDN which allows developers access to all the latest SDK, forums and code samples. There's even a "Get SDK" right on the home page.
The facelift also facilitates the addition of more developer registration markets. The number of countries that now support registration numbers to 178 in total. They also now allow developers to publish paid apps in 115 of those markets while you can publish apps in over 191 markets.
To make the business of making money easier on you, developers can now submit digital tax forms for paid apps right from the developer Web site. You can also create a pubCenter account and start placing ads in your app right away. PayPal is also supported for those who wish to be paid through such methods.
When it comes to app submission, Microsoft has made it ridiculously simple to submit apps and in-app changes if the need arises. Here's what you can expect now:
Manage and submit your in-app products from Dev Center.
Submit apps using smart defaults, which allow you to publish apps in all countries/regions except the ones that have additional content requirements.
View ratings and reviews for all locales.
See quick stats for your apps and in-app products.
Submit multiple XAPs if needed and target multiple resolutions.
Customize pricing on a per-country/region basis.
Support thousands of users for beta testing your app.
Provide descriptions of your app in all supported languages.
After you've made plenty of money off of your successful app, Microsoft has also improved their reporting. Developers can now view reports on app downloads by purchase type - "free, paid, trial and beta." There are also reports for in-app product purchasing.
With all these changes, it's obvious that Microsoft wants to heavily cater to developers. Windows Phone has been in a perpetual last place while Android and iOS take all the marketshare. Microsoft hopes to reverse that trend with Windows Phone 8, but they need the developers to do that. Making their development resources easier is a step in the right direction. Now if only they can get people to buy Windows Phones so that developers will view the platform as a priority.