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Developers find a lot to love in Windows Phone 7 Mango

Microsoft Windows Phone 7's 1,500 new APIs add power and ease app development

By , Network World
June 01, 2011 10:24 AM ET

Network World - A trio of Windows Phone software developers say Microsoft's Mango release is ripe and juicy for programmers, and brings new ease and power to mobile enterprise applications.

The Mango version of Microsoft's radically redesigned smartphone OS includes more than 500 new features, and over 1,500 new APIs, creating a dramatically expanded mobile platform. Mango will be released this fall, and it's widely expected that there will be new smartphones from existing and new handset makers to exploit it.

Mango may have played a key role in Nokia's decision to abandon its own mobile OS development efforts and bet its smartphone future on Windows Phone. In late 2010, Microsoft shared details with Nokia about Mango. In February, the companies announced their mobile partnership, and Mango was rushed into the hands of Nokia developers. Microsoft says it already has in its labs Nokia phones running Mango.

Windows Phone developers are now downloading the Mango beta release, running in the simulator that's part of the Mango development tools, also now in beta.

WINDOWS PHONE 7 MANGO: A Visual Tour of the New Features 

BACKGROUND: 6 changes in Windows Phone Mango target business users

Mango is likely to get a second, closer look after next week's expected announcement by Apple of iOS 5.0, the next version of its mobile OS for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, among other news at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference.

Network World interviewed three developers, all experienced in Windows software programming for the enterprise, and in mobile apps, to get their take on the Mango release:

Ginny Caughey, a Windows Phone Development MVP and president of Carolina Software, an independent software vendor specializing in software for the solid waste industry, its flagship product being WasteWorks.

Kevin Hoffman, chief systems architect for Oakleaf Waste Management in East Hartford, Conn., where he focuses on mobile and cloud application development; founding partner of Exclaim Computing; and author or co-author of 15 books related to .Net programming, as well as the about-to-be-released "Windows Phone 7 for iPhone Developers." 

Andy Wigley, co-founder of APPA Mundi Ltd., a Windows development shop in Birmingham, U.K., that specializes in mobile applications.

1. It's big. Or pretty big, at least.

"This is massive! These changes fill in all the missing pieces," says Wigley of APPA Mundi. "This is no 'dot 1' release: there are 1,500 new APIs. This gives developers a really rich platform and opens up so many scenarios that were too hard to do in 7.0."

"I think the Mango update will be HUGE for the platform," says Caughey. "I suspect that many of the APIs were things the product group at Microsoft wanted to put into the 7.0 phone [release] but weren't able to due to scheduling. Others were clearly the result of listening to users and developers."

Hoffman is somewhat more restrained. "Overall I'm excited about the release of Mango but more because it's closing the gap in features between Windows Phone 7 and iOS," he says.

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