Microsoft has initiated an early launch of the Visual Basic programming language for Windows Phone 7 developers.
The aim is to help developers get to grips with the development environment ahead of the Windows Phone 7 launch later in the year.
Windows Phone 7 is thought to be Microsoft’s biggest bid to thrive in the smartphone OS market – fiercly fought between Apple, Google and RIM.
“Ever since we first announced the application platform for WP7, there was a loud chorus of Visual Basic developers asking if and when they would be able to build apps for Windows Phone,” said Windows Phone director Brandon Watson.
“That wait is over. You can now download the Visual Basic CTP for Windows Phone Developer Tools. Provided in this download are all the templates, designer support, emulator (and phone!) support and IntelliSense for Visual Basic.
“We’re giving VB developers early access to the Windows Phone 7 platform so that they can start thinking about what amazing apps they want to build.”
There are a few caveats to using the user-friendly language for Windows Phone. Developers will, for example, need to be a Visual Studio 2010 Professional customer, or higher.
And the language won’t allow developers to build XNA games – one aspect of Microsoft’s new mobile that is drawing much attention from the games industry.
The Visual Basic announcement comes a week since Microsoft finalised its Windows Phone Developer Tools.
“The uptake has been incredibly strong, and we have been so excited to hear how happy developers were with the additions of the Panorama, Pivot and Bing Maps controls,” Watson said.
“We’re not formally announcing the schedule for when Visual Basic will be fully supported,” he added.