Getting started with developing for Windows Phone 8

[ This article is for Windows Phone 8 developers. If you’re developing for Windows 10, see the latest documentation. ]

Start developing Windows Phone apps with this step-by-step guide. Get the tools you need, build your first app, and test it on your own phone. Find out how to make the most of the platform and the tools. Download samples. Get suggestions for your next steps.

If you've previously developed .NET or XAML apps, you can transfer these skills to develop Windows Phone apps that use XAML for the UI and C# or Visual Basic for the code. If you know C++, you can develop a Direct3D app for Windows Phone 8 in that language to take full advantage of the phone's graphics hardware.

This topic contains the following sections.

Get set up

Start here to learn about Windows Phone apps and get the tools you need to create them.

  • Download the free developer tools
    Download the Windows Phone SDK 8.0, which includes all the tools you need to create Windows Phone apps: Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone, project templates for creating new Windows Phone apps, the Windows Phone emulator for testing, and more.

    Get the SDK

    Windows Phone SDK 8.0 installs everything you need to build and test apps for both Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone OS 7.1. You don’t have to install Windows Phone SDK 7.1 to build apps for Windows Phone OS 7.1. However, if you already have Windows Phone SDK 7.1 installed, you don’t have to uninstall it before you install Windows Phone SDK 8.0.

    If you already have Visual Studio 2012 Professional or higher, the SDK templates and tools are integrated into your existing installation of Visual Studio.

    Windows Phone SDK 8.0 requires 64-bit Windows 8 Pro or higher. You can't develop Windows Phone 8 apps on Windows 7, on Windows Server 2008, or on Windows Server 2012. The Windows Phone 8 Emulator has special hardware, software, and configuration requirements. For more info, see System requirements for the emulator for Windows Phone 8.

  • Register your phone for development
    Sign up for a developer account and register your Windows Phone so you can test your apps on a phone. If you don’t have a Windows Phone, you can still test your apps in the emulator.

    How to register your phone for development for Windows Phone 8

  • Learn about the platform
    What can you do in a Windows Phone app? Read about the new and improved features built into the Windows Phone 8 platform.

    What's new in Windows Phone SDK 8.0

Create your first app

After you download and install the tools, you're ready to write apps.

Learn the tools and templates

Learn how the developer tools help you to design, create, and test great apps.

Make great apps

Build apps that meet the certification requirements and satisfy users.

Download samples

Pick from a large number of samples to learn how specific controls, features, and types of apps work.

Samples gallery on Windows Phone Dev Center

Learn the platform

Learn about Windows Phone 8 development from start to finish or pick only the topics that interest you from these online courses of video instruction and demos.

Ask questions and solve problems

Get answers to your programming questions from other Windows Phone developers and from other Microsoft resources.