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Microsoft today announced an update to Windows Phone App Studio, a free Web-based tool that the company claims is designed to help anyone create an app without coding. This release, which is still in beta, includes the incorporation of feature requests, improved usability and performance, updated quality of the generated code, and bug fixes.

First and foremost, App Studio now has a new menu bar that Microsoft says makes it easier to navigate. The navigation buttons let you quickly edit collections after an app is created and there are dozens of new graphics elements, including icons, backgrounds, and stock images that you can use to enhance and sharpen the visual identity of your app.

Microsoft has also integrated SkyDrive into this release, making it easy to access your pictures and drop them right into the app. Whether you use the cloud storage for work or play, this should be a quick way to add the resources you need directly into your project.

Last but not least, the Visual Studio project template and the code that it generates have been enhanced. The improvements include more consistent naming conventions, simplified projects and app manifests, as well as pinch to zoom.

Unfortunately, Microsoft wouldn’t reveal any download numbers for Windows Phone App Studio, nor would it say how many projects have been created so far. The company did note, however, that “hundreds” have been successfully published in the Windows Phone Store.

That’s not a crazy figure but it does show that the tool is indeed being used and is worth updating. Whether Microsoft is ensuring quality for the apps that are being published is another story.

See also – Microsoft passes 9 million Windows Phone transactions daily, promises carrier payouts to developers after 30 days and Windows Phone’s big problem isn’t a lack of apps

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