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Windows Cellphones Handhelds Microsoft Programming News

Windows Phone 8 SDK — By Appointment Only 153

mikejuk writes "Developers worried about the changes that might be waiting for them in the new Windows Phone 8 API are going to have to wait even longer to find out. Microsoft has just announced that the SDK will be available soon, but only to the developers it approves. If you already have a published app, then you can apply to be part of the program. The announcement says, 'But I do want to set your expectations that program access will be limited.' The public SDK will be made available 'later this year,' which is behind the timetable that developers were led to expect. As you can imagine, the developer community, judging by the comment stream, is less than happy. What makes this whole development even stranger is that the announcement was made on the day Nokia previewed a range of WP8 devices. The Nokia launch got most of the publicity, so perhaps the idea was that a little negative news wouldn't be noticed. The real question is: why the limited availability?"
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Windows Phone 8 SDK — By Appointment Only

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Show of hands !!

    I said, Show of hands !!

  • by eldavojohn ( 898314 ) * <eldavojohn AT gmail DOT com> on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:41AM (#41260735) Journal
    *Setting: Microsoft executive officers meeting*
    Steve Ballmer: Alright you dumbshits, I've been up all night reading about this new "walled garden" thing that Apple has and I want one for Microsoft!
    Executive #1: Are you serious? Why play their game? We've been gaining developers by opening up to the community and ...
    Steve Ballmer: Shut up and get out, you're fired. Anyone else want to call me a copycat?
    Executive #2: We could ... we could cancel our "free" express version of Visual Studio?
    Steve Ballmer: That's a good idea but we need something better, something that sends a message to developers developers developers developers that we don't even need them. It used to be about the developers developers developers developers but maybe -- just maybe -- they're like women and you gotta hit 'em a little bit so they appreciate when you're nice to them. I don't just want a measly walled garden, I want a fortressed garden with turrets that shoot anything that moves and has a Guantanamo Bay garden where no one has any rights and developers developers developers developers are tortured while we urinate on copies of the GPL and ...
    Executive #3: Well, my division's about to release the Windows Phone 8 SDK, we could, say, charge $100 for people just to see the API?
    Steve Ballmer: That's good but it's not quite there yet. That sounds like those Member's Only jackets that weren't really "members only" and anyone with a bennie could pick one up. I mean when I was an up and coming star in this company I bought one and thought that it was a mark of success and then there I was in McDonald's ordering my daily seven quarter pounders with cheese and this fucking teenager has a Members Only jacket on. And so I ask him what club he's a member of that he thinks he can wear this piece of clothing around and he laughs and says 'Dude, it's 2005, every thrift store in the world sells these for $5, it's like, ironic, you know, hipster' and so then I just reach over the counter to strangle the last breath out of his ...
    Executive #3: *AHEM* Wellllll, we could actually make this "members only" and send out invitations to participate in the release of the Windows 8 SDK.
    Steve Ballmer: YES! That's what I'm talkin' about. That's the kind of innovation and vision this company needs! You just won the income of this dumbass over here ...
    Executive #1: What?! You can't do that!
    Steve Ballmer: Oh I can. In fact, fuck it, it's retroactive for this fiscal year. You'll get a bill in the mail. Cheer up, your taxes just got a whole lot easier.
    *huffing and puffing, Ballmer drags a stack of chairs up to the conference table next to the shocked first executive*
    Steve Ballmer: ... or do we have a problem?
    • in the light of that saga, shouldn't all straightjackets come with a monogramed MS logo on it? Or should they give out a free straightjacket to all members of the Exclusive Club they are now forming?

      Hopefully MS was never trained how to correctly secure a real straightjacket, the true excape artists just hate when that happens. Note to self, never volunteer to help in a magic act again.

    • If there's ever a ./ hall of fame, I'd like to nominate this post.
    • by Saija ( 1114681 )
      Here i am, a saturday working and reading slashdot and you sir make this excellent narrative to make happy this rest of the day: kudos sir, may $DEITY bless you.
  • by queazocotal ( 915608 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:44AM (#41260775)

    'Too many apps'.

  • Probably too late, but be aware that the "developers are less than happy" link in the summary autoplays an ad for some marginally NSFW topics (not really NSFW but enough to make some uncomfortable- frank discussions of teen sex, etc.)
    • a) Why don't you use adblock!?
      b) Why would you have flash installed AT WORK? With no adblock?

      • Because work forces IE8 on everyone and forces Flash install. I'd love to have AdBlock, it's so weird here compared to home.

        If I could, I'd use something safer, but it's not my department.

        Hell, I was using IE6 up until last year. But then, I can actually look at Slashdot at work, so there's that.

        (First world problems.)

        • IE has what amounts to a built-in Flashblock.

          Tools (gear icon) -> Manage Add-ons -> select Shockwave Flash Object -> More Information (hyperlink text in the lower panel) -> Remove all sites. (These instructions are from IE9 but I believe it's the same on IE8; I just don't have a handy install of the latter).

          This prevents Flashplayer from loading without you first granting it permission to do so. The grant is domain-wide, so it's less fine-grained than true Flashblock, but it does consider the so

    • My local newspaper's website used to automatically play audible ads, which was extremely annoying when I would be reading the news in the morning while my wife was still sleeping. Especially because I tend to have the computer's volume turned up loud enough for listening to music while I'm doing other stuff.

      I've been told that they stopped this practice some time back. I wouldn't know as they lost me as a customer permanently for doing this.
  • by Missing.Matter ( 1845576 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:49AM (#41260853)
    It's obvious: WP8 isn't really ready yet. They gave a sneak preview a while back that only contained a few features, they've been coy about when the damn thing will be released, they only showed off a couple additional features at the Lumia event, and they still won't tell us when they'll be showing off the rest of the features (BUILD 2012? who knows?), when phones are being released, which carriers will be getting them etc. Look, I like WP, and I like developing for WP, and WP8 will be my next OS, but this is getting beyond stupid.
    • Releasing things that aren't quite ready? Microsoft? Never!!! Sounds like that Vanity Fair piece was more right than nought. MS is behind when it comes to smartphones/tablets. They blew a huge lead. To catch up you would think that they would get on track when it comes to execution, but no.

      You would think that they would work on execution.

    • by SpzToid ( 869795 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:49PM (#41262937)

      It's obvious: WP8 isn't really ready yet.

      Not only that, but the rapid path to market that Microsoft promised Nokia, was the excuse Nokia's CEO Stephen Elop wrote as the reasoning behind the 'Burning Platform' memo in February 2011. Since then Elop has gone out of his way to fire any in-house developer that is not assigned to work on Windows phones. Elop burned all that Linux expertise, because of the Microsoft Fast-track promised. Nokia also burned all those QT developers, Intel, etc. after Elop went gangbusters for Microsoft. In fact at the time Elop said the amount of bugs to ship a Linux platform was greater than the Windows Phone fast-track, (nevermind the Nokia N9 team totally proved him wrong by delivering a most-excellent phone, before they were all fired by Elop).

      FWIW, Elop has also demonstrated zero Plan B, because no doubt he doesn't expect to be there for Plan B should the Plan B option even exist once he's finished.

      • by knarf ( 34928 )

        FWIW, Elop has also demonstrated zero Plan B, because no doubt he doesn't expect to be there for Plan B should the Plan B option even exist once he's finished.

        The mere fact that Elop has not publicly presented a plan B does not mean once does not exist. I'm fairly sure it does... Plan B is most likely for Microsoft to buy Nokia for pennies to the dollar once plan A has run its course. They will keep the patents and shed the rest. Those patents will be used to shake down the rest of the industry. Isn't paten

        • Plan B is most likely for Microsoft to buy Nokia for pennies to the dollar

          I'm pretty sure we're still talking about Plan A here.

    • by SQLGuru ( 980662 )

      I'd be more inclined to think that it's because too many announcements have been leaked because people picked apart the SDK. (i.e. the 9-pin Apple connector)

      Limiting the SDK release would likely minimize these types of leaks.

  • In other words.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by romanval ( 556418 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:50AM (#41260861)
    we're rushing as fast as we can to put out the OS even if it's not entirely finished, but we'll gladly sell the phone anyways cause that's what software updates are made for.

    It's probably not a huge deal since Apple didn't release a iPhone OS SDK until a year and a half after the iPhone was introduced.... except MS will needs every advantage they can get to make WP8 have a dent in the phone market...
    • For Apple it wasn't a big deal as iOS and Android were not established. For MS releasing things halfway doesn't win them any converts as if their adoption rate wasn't already bad comparatively.
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @11:56AM (#41260969) Homepage Journal

    Q: Who are you going to shit on next?

    • One of the reasons that Windows was so successful was that there was such a low buy-in cost to become a developer.

      One of the reasons that OS/2 was such a failure what that there was such a HIGH buy-in cost to become a developer. Well, that and some backstabbing from Microsoft.

      The only reason Windows 8 has a shot at becoming the #3 portable device OS platform after iOS and Android is that the other competitors are downright puny in comparison. Things like WebOS, Symbian, and so forth were already failing.

      • by sjames ( 1099 )

        Exactly. As for the 1 and 2 spots (in no particular order), MS does not have the hip buy-in of Apple and you can become an Android developer for free, so they haven't a chance given their current policies.

  • Possibly,... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @12:02PM (#41261051)
    They want there store filled with there own apps and selected others first? The power of the default optipn is strong.
    • Except that, if my RTM build of Windows 8 courtesy of the MS VLSC is any's not filled with much of anything. No Netflix. No Pandora (though there is Slacker). No FTP clients. No IRC clients. None of the Angry Birds games (though there is Cut the Rope, and it's free). No other applications that seem to take advantage of a desktop being more powerful than a last-gen Lumia. Really, it's a pretty experience that has little of actual value. If they want to be first in...basically any category, th

      • I've looked into writing an IRC client for Win8, but it's damn tricky to make one that would work as it should in the background. WinRT has app lifecycle model that's somewhat similar to iOS. You can maintain an open socket and listen for TCP packets on it - your app will be resumed to handle it, then suspended again - but it is only allowed for those apps which the user explicitly puts on the lock screen, and even then there are very tight quotas on CPU time and bandwidth. I understand that it's all about

        • You need to find your version of the secret undocumented _fsprintf function that is included in every version of Windows since version 2.0 in 1987. These functions aren't officially documented, however they are required by Microsoft for the software it develops. In the case of the _fsprintf function, it was used in Microsoft Excel and widely used by third party developers. As such, it was kept for compatibility for 25 years.

          Finding out about these secret functions is tough. Waiting for the book to come o

  • Crazy. I thought Microsoft, although very late to the game, had a legitimate chance to break into the tablet and phone market.

    But isn't having apps the key to their potential success?

      There must be big problems at Microsoft

  • by sl4shd0rk ( 755837 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @12:05PM (#41261081)

    If developers would stop developing on the asshat platforms, they wouldn't have to put up with it. The only reason this kind of crap goes on is because people allow it.

  • Windows SDK makes appointment with you!
  • They forgot to include the start button. It will be available for $4.95, or its free if you buy a new XBOX 360.
  • Quit trolling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DJ Jones ( 997846 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @12:15PM (#41261215) Homepage
    The summary is misleading. There's no "by appointment only" system. If you RTFA it says microsoft is releasing the API to all developers who have previously released apps. I don't think this is such a big "FU" to developers as you're making it out to be. If anything, they probably did it to reward early adopters which should be applauded. It's like saying "Hey, we're sorry we've gone and modified the entire API after you built an app so we're giving you a little extra time to upgrade your apps so that some other hot shot company can't come in and steal your product before you get a chance to upgrade". I see nothing wrong with this.
  • WM9 is on schedule.

  • Maybe they are (probably in vain) trying to keep the API out of the hands of malefactors so that there aren't a raft of zero day exploits waiting when Dub-8 hits the streets.
  • by Sarusa ( 104047 ) on Friday September 07, 2012 @01:06PM (#41262119)

    I've seen this so many times before, from both sides. When the SDK is usable but not 'done' (locked down, polished up, fully documented) you restrict it to eager early devs with caveats like 'API calls subject to change!' The early devs also act as free beta/QA testers, which is the single biggest reason to do the pre-release at all. Then when it's Finished finished you release it to the wilds.

    This doesn't tell you whether just the SDK isn't done or whether the OS APIs aren't locked down yet either. The latter would be bad if they're intending to get the SDK out this year.

    • The SDK not being ready doesn't really rationalize charging money for access. If I'm beta-testing their SDK, they should pay me.

      But of course, the answer to "why charge money?" is, invariably, "because they can". Everyone wants to start coding ASAP so they can get their app into the marketplace before their competitors do. So they'll pony up the dough.

  • The last time around, they just bought off the developers and closed the hole off.

    This time around, they're making sure nobody exists that has to be bought off.

    The "It's not ready" calls sound like they're apologizing for such actions.

  • When I pointed out in another article that the death of Windows Phone 8 would be because it had no apps, I was told that there would be plenty of apps, because all the Windows 8 apps would *be* Windows Phone 8 apps. But if that's true, why is there even a Windows Phone 8 SDK? Won't they all just be using the Windows 8 SDK? Or could it be that developing for a smartphone *is* different from developing for the desktop, after all?

  • Microsoft just wants to make sure there are more users of the phone than developers. Would be mighty embarrassing to distribute 10,000 SDKs only to sell 1,000 phones...

God helps them that themselves. -- Benjamin Franklin, "Poor Richard's Almanac"