Getting started with developing for Windows Phone 8

July 21, 2014

Start developing Windows Phone apps with this step-by-step guide. Get the tools you need, build your first app, and test it on your own phone. Find out how to make the most of the platform and the tools. Download samples. Get suggestions for your next steps.

If you've previously developed .NET or XAML apps, you can transfer these skills to develop Windows Phone apps that use XAML for the UI and C# or Visual Basic for the code. If you know C++, you can develop a Direct3D app for Windows Phone 8 in that language to take full advantage of the phone's graphics hardware.

This topic contains the following sections.

 

Start here to learn about Windows Phone apps and get the tools you need to create them.

Download the free developer tools

Download the Windows Phone SDK 8.0, which includes all the tools you need to create Windows Phone apps: Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone, project templates for creating new Windows Phone apps, the Windows Phone emulator for testing, and more.

Get the SDK

Windows Phone SDK 8.0 installs everything you need to build and test apps for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone OS 7.1. You don’t have to install Windows Phone SDK 7.1 to build apps for Windows Phone OS 7.1. However, if you already have Windows Phone SDK 7.1 installed, you don’t have to uninstall it before you install Windows Phone SDK 8.0.

If you already have Visual Studio 2012 Professional or higher, the SDK templates and tools are integrated into your existing installation of Visual Studio.

Windows Phone SDK 8.0 requires 64-bit Windows 8 Pro or higher. You can't develop Windows Phone 8 apps on Windows 7, on Windows Server 2008, or on Windows Server 2012. The Windows Phone 8 Emulator has special hardware, software, and configuration requirements. For more info, see System requirements for the emulator for Windows Phone 8.

Register your phone for development

Sign up for a developer account and register your Windows Phone so you can test your apps on a phone. If you don’t have a Windows Phone, you can still test your apps in the emulator.

How to register your phone for development for Windows Phone 8

Learn about the platform

What can you do in a Windows Phone app? Read about the new and improved features built into the Windows Phone 8 platform.

What's new in Windows Phone SDK 8.0

After you download and install the tools, you're ready to write apps.

Write your first app

Walk through the steps to create a simple web browser as your first Windows Phone app.

How to create your first app for Windows Phone 8

Upgrade an existing app from Windows Phone OS 7.1 

Upgrade your existing Windows Phone OS 7.1 app to target Windows Phone 8 with a single click in Visual Studio.

How to upgrade an app project to Windows Phone 8

Port an existing app from another platform

Find resources to help you port existing iOS or Android apps to the Windows Phone platform.

Porting your app to Windows Phone 8

Learn how the developer tools help you to design, create, and test great apps.

Review the list of installed tools

Understand the purpose of the tools installed with the SDK and their place in the app development cycle.

Windows Phone 8 SDK tools

Develop apps with Visual Studio 

Get comfortable in Visual Studio, a complete and extensible development environment for Windows Phone apps. Visual Studio includes a visual designer with many built-in controls and a powerful code editor.

Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone 8

Start projects quickly with project templates

Use project templates in Visual Studio as a starting point for creating various types of Windows Phone apps.

How to create a new app project from a template for Windows Phone 8

Build apps that meet the certification requirements and satisfy users.

Design a high-quality app

Find guidance about best practices for designing the user experience of your Windows Phone app.

Implementing Windows Phone app design

Test your app

Discover all the testing tools included with the SDK to help you create a stable and responsive app.

Testing apps for Windows Phone 8

Pass the app certification tests

Review the requirements that your app has to meet before it can be published in the Windows Phone Store.

App certification requirements for Windows Phone

Pick from a large number of samples to learn how specific controls, features, and types of apps work.

Samples gallery on Windows Phone Dev Center

Learn about Windows Phone 8 development from start to finish or pick only the topics that interest you from these online courses of video instruction and demos.

Get answers to your programming questions from other Windows Phone developers and from other Microsoft resources.

Find answers about writing Windows Phone apps

Find answers and solve problems as you develop Windows Phone apps.

Developing for Windows Phone forum

Find answers about the development tools

Find answers and solve problems as you work with the tools in Windows Phone SDK 8.0.

Tools for Windows Phone Development forum

Explore other support options

Review other support options from Microsoft.

MSDN Troubleshooting and Support

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