Brandon Watson explains how he fostered the WP7 development community

Brandon Watson explains how he fostered the WP7 development community

Windows Phone has been in the market for a year now, and during that time the platform has enjoyed a grip of both positive and negative moments. But through the botched NoDo rollout, during the smooth Mango rollout, and through the Venue Pro saga and later Nokia partnership, one thing in the world of Windows Phone has remained steady: growing developer support.

When Windows Phone launched it was more than an underdog; Microsoft had divorced itself from its entire former pool of mobile applications, annoying more than a few developers in the process. And then it had to get those developers it had just bumped off the wagon, and a whole host more, to write apps for its new, and unproven smartphone line. That’s a challenge you would wish on your enemy.

Happily for Microsoft fans, Brandon Watson was selected for the job, and has managed to do what I would call a more than solid job at the task. Now a year in, there are nearly 40,000 Windows Phone applications. That means that around 110 apps have been approved daily since launch. And, according to the data, momentum remains strong.

To celebrate the one year Windows Phone mark, and implicitly his success, Watson took to his personal blog today to outline several ‘lessons’ that he learned through the last year. They are interesting enough to share. In the following bullet points, the bolded text is his, and the normal ours:

  • Inspire developers: This is obvious, but critical. If developers can’t be shown that there is a future for a new platform, and potential riches in the distance, they will not show up. But sell them a story, and then deliver on all or most of it, and the developers will stick around.
  • Make Developers Rich & Famous: This idea is two distinct parts to Watson. He claims that developers want both money and attention, but that the non-financial side of things is not to be ignored. He notes that his team funnels web traffic to developers to make sure that their total compensation stays high and therefore the developers, of course, remain inspired.
  • Search & Discoverability: This is a bit of a fine point, but when it comes to disseminating information to developers, Watson claims that we are now in a “publish and connect” world that does not revolve around books. Don’t tell that to the guys over at Microsoft Press.

After that discussion, Watson summarized what he thinks is the number one principle for the Windows Phone team for the coming year: “[to] be highly available.” That means that Microsoft’s mobile squad is going to be, in the best possible way, all up in the WP7 development community’s business.

We cover Windows Phone here on TNW very carefully, because there is a chance that it will break out of its current path of slow, and somewhat steady growth, and into a first-tier platform in terms of market adoption. To get there, it needs an even better pool of active third party developers. It appears that the company is determined to get just that. And given the attitude of the man in charge of doing so, they might even pull it off.

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