Business apps wouldn't port quite as quickly, and the process wouldn't have been so swift, without the cross-platform Xamarin tools, Peppers notes, but JamPot CEO James Scott says that the easy transition to the Windows 8 SDK enabled his company to get its Windows 8 app support up and running in half the time it took to get its Android or iOS service off the ground.
Where Are The Native iOS and Android Ports?
So developing Windows 8 apps shouldn't be difficult for developers with a Windows, web or cross-platform background. But is the transition just as seamless for developers who cut their teeth diving into the native languages of competing platforms, such as iOS's Objective-C or Android's Java?
That's a bit more difficult to answer.
Tracking down a dedicated Android or iOS developer that's making the jump to Windows 8 is like trying to find a diehard fan of EA's Origin gaming service: They just aren't out there, and the hesitance has little to do with technical hurdles. If you spend any amount of time in Android and iOS developer forums, it quickly becomes obvious that the majority of developers who are dedicated to competing mobile platforms plan to stay dedicated to competing mobile platforms until Microsoft proves that there's money to be found in creating Windows 8 apps. Fortunately, a few of the Windows 8 developers we spoke to offered some insights about the hurdles faced by developers only steeped in iOS and Android work.
"If you're starting from scratch or coming from another environment like iOS or Android, you should find everything very straightforward," says Halfbrick CTO Richard McKinney, though he admits that porting native iOS and Android apps to Windows 8 would take a while. "If your gameplay code is written directly in Objective-C or Java, you'll need to port all of that over in addition to the platform code." Hitcent's Peppers agrees that porting non-cross-platform iOS and Android apps to Windows 8 could "take some time."
Even still, the small bumps presented by the Windows 8 SDK pale compared to the hoops developers originally had to jump through to work on mobile applications. "You hear some people complaining about [development] hurdles, but it's nothing compared to the original hurdles face when Apple's Xcode [integrated development environment software] came out," says JamPot CTO James Barr. "That was a big challenge to get people started on iOS."
The Windows 8 developers we spoke to don't agree with the wait-and-see approach of the hesitant Android and iOS developers. "Windows 8 isn't a new device that we're unsure is going to succeed. It's the next generation of the most popular operating system in the world," says McKinney. "There is a guaranteed huge audience there."
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