Microsoft is promoting the new software developer kit (SDK) available for the IE10 browser as containing an emulator that allows testing of sites on the Windows Phone 8 platform. Microsoft says this functionality will help IE10 sites provide the same experience on mobile devices running Windows Phone 8 as they do on PCs and other devices.
‘Beautiful, Intuitive’ Sites for Windows Phone 8
IE10 developers will have the ability to create “beautiful” and “intuitive” site experiences for Windows Phone 8 users, according to Microsoft. The vendor says expanded CSS3 support enables features such as 3-D effects, faster animations and transitions, and aesthetic touches including CSS gradients and custom fonts. In addition, Microsoft says the IE10 SDK allows developers who lack “CSS and HTML ninja skills” to still create site features such as multiple columns, positioned floats and device adaptations.
Other features include an HTML5 application cache that makes website files available offline and indexed object storage. Microsoft cautions that IE10 for Windows Phone 8 is not quite as feature-rich as IE10 for Windows 8. Features not included in the Windows Phone 8 version include inline video, ActiveX and VBScript and drag-and-drop APIs, among others.
Microsoft Applies Responsive Design Principles to Windows Phone 8
While Microsoft’s IE10 development approach to Windows Phone 8 may not fully constitute a responsive design strategy, it does include many responsive design principles. As detailed in CMSWire's May 11 webinar, "Optimizing Mobile Customer Experience with Responsive Design," responsive design involves designing a site at different “break points,” or standard screen sizes, that allow designers to accommodate many different devices at once.
Instead of designing for a specific device, responsive design best practices dictate that you should plan to scale your digital experiences for a range of screen sizes, focusing on the smallest screen first and drawing from a single codebase. Responsive design relies on functionality of HTML5 and CSS3 to allow seamless adaptation of websites to mobile formats, and this aspect of responsive design is clearly evident in Microsoft’s IE10/Windows Phone 8 strategy.
Windows Phone 8 Leaps Ahead
While the Webmonkey developer news site does not give the new IE10/Windows Phone 8 development strategy unqualified praise, it does credit Microsoft for bringing IE 10 on mobile “leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessors and support(ing) web app essentials like the Application Cache API for creating offline apps and IndexedDB for storing data.” Although Webmonkey concludes the Windows Phone 8 release of IE10 is “very close to feature parity with the desktop/tablet release,” it does find the lack of support for the File Access API and other missing features “disappointing.”