Microsoft today updated the Windows Phone App Studio, its free Web-based tool designed to help anyone create an app without coding. This release, which is still in beta, improves development workflow, adds various new features, and integrates the Windows Phone Ad SDK.

Microsoft says app development workflow has been improved by enhancing the code and projects that you create: external data sources have received a new cache implementation, letting you access dynamic data or RSS feeds even if the user’s phone is not connected. The Visual Studio projects have also been optimized to remove external references when they are not being used, significantly reducing project size and complexity.

The new “Fast Resume” option lets you set a default language for easy publication in the Windows Phone Store. The “FlipView” feature, meanwhile, makes navigating between items in your data source easier. Furthermore, Near Field Communication (NFC) lets you share your app with other App Studio Beta users.

Next up, Microsoft has made it easier for you to integrate native phone functions into your app using dynamic and static “actions.” To do so, create a menu and your users can choose to open Nokia Maps, play music, make phone calls, and use other native apps without leaving your app.

Last but not least, Microsoft has added calls to the Windows Phone Ad SDK. Those with a pubCenter account can now open the Visual Studio project, add their pubCenter ID, add an ad control, publish the app to the Windows Phone Store, and start making money.

Microsoft today also shared some figures for Windows Phone App Studio: 160,000 users have created more than 150,000 projects and built 65,000 apps in just two months. For a tool that’s still very much in beta, those figures are quite decent.

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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