Microsoft is trying to make it easier for iOS developers to bring their creations to its Windows Phone 7 platform.
A newly announced service called the iOS to Windows Phone 7 API mapping tool, acts as an interchange for developers to take applications they've already written for Apple's platform, and figure out ways to get the code work with Microsoft's standards.
"With this tool, iPhone developers can grab their apps, pick out the iOS API calls, and quickly look up the equivalent classes, methods and notification events in WP7," said Jean-Christophe Cimetiere, Microsoft's senior technical evangelist in a blog post announcing the tool. The database is also able to direct users to a directory of code samples, where they can learn to do some of the same things using Microsoft technologies.
"The code samples allow developers to quickly migrate short blobs of iOS code to the equivalent C# code. All WP7 API documentations are pulled in from the Silverlight, C# and XNA sources on MSDN," Cimetiere said.
Right now, Cimetiere says the translation tool is designed to work with just a handful of iOS APIs (application programming interfaces), with more to be added in the future. Even so, the two platforms will not line up "one to one" because of basic differences in user interface and architecture, the company said.
Along with this new service, Cimetiere mentioned that the company is working on a similar offering for Google's Android, though did not provide a date on its arrival.
Porting games and applications from one platform to another is nothing new, though providing first-party documentation to help get the job done is a tactical gesture on Microsoft's part. It's clearly in Microsoft's interest as the company nears the launch of the first wave of devices it's collaborated on with Nokia as part of the two companies' strategic partnership. A report released by market research firm Distimo earlier this week noted that Microsoft's application marketplace is on track to be larger than Nokia's Ovi store and BlackBerry App World in less than a year since its launch, based on current growth rates.