From my earlier announcement piece:
Coding for Windows Phone doesn't have to have a PC-based SDK learning curve. You can have your own development learning curve right on the phone with Microsoft Research's TouchDevelop! There's still plenty of jargon and a hierarchy of modules to get to grips with, but in theory you can conceive of an application, code it, test it and submit it to the Windows Phone Store - all on the device itself.
Here's a summary of the changelog since the version originally featured:
- Unified editing and execution environment with a special Web App - you can edit and run your scripts on other devices in a browser, i.e. other operating systems can use your apps, after a fashion
- 'Pages and boxes' added to the UI options for your apps
- Support for OAuth v2.0, so your app can log into web services (e.g. Twitter)
- Support for NFC
- Support for the built-in speech engine of Windows Phone
- Direct exporting of your scripts as apps - submit them to Windows Store and Windows Phone Store
- Upload your own pictures and sounds to use them in your scripts
- Support for device accelerometer
- Support for device location
- Support for built-in maps
- Support for Windows Phone translation services
- Take screenshots, write comments, reply to comments, and 'compete' on leaderboards with other developers
- Synthesis: When you search for available commands, just say what you want to do, and TouchDevelop will try to write the script code for you
- Fast game and physics engine now included
- Support for Windows Phone live tiles
- Define custom structured data types, objects, tables
- Create your own code libraries.
So massive improvements then. You may get a sense from the list above (especially the first item) that TouchDevelop is expanding as much in the tablet and cross-platform space as much as it is in the Windows Phone world. Just to back this up, here's Microsoft's own new TouchDevelop demo video - blink and you'll miss something, it goes very fast!
It's true that applications created using TouchDevelop are never going to rival big commercial applications created in professional SDKs and coded in C++, but there's always room on any platform for 'casual' apps. Created purely because a user had an idea and wanted to make something.
You can get started by downloading and installing TouchDevelop from the Windows Phone Store. And don't forget to make use of the resources on TouchDevelop.com
Here are a few of the thousands of examples of TouchDevelop-created apps that are currently in the Windows Phone Store: