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Windows Phone 8.1

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Hey up, long time no blog...

At the Build conference this week we announced what I've been working on for the last while: Windows Phone 8.1. It's full of cool new stuff, but my contribution was deep in the entrails of the operating system, converging the graphics stack between Phone and desktop Windows and making sure this shared code runs well in limited memory on mobile GPU hardware. I haven't been blogging much because, while I found this kind of work to be important and a lot of fun, there just isn't much that's interesting to discuss in public along the lines of "yay, one more place where Phone used to differ from Windows is now the same" or "huzzah, one more driver bug fixed!" :-)

You can pretty much sum up the end result as graphics on Phone 8.1 now being the same as Windows. For instance:

  • Phone now supports D2D
  • Phone now supports DWrite
  • Phone now supports WIC (Windows Imaging Codec)
  • Phone now includes the HLSL shader compiler
  • Corner cases where Phone D3D did not support all the same features as Windows (for instance not all of the same swapchain options were available) are now much more similar
  • The Visual Studio Graphics Diagnostics feature (aka PIX) now works on Phone
  • You can now have a single Visual Studio project that targets both Windows and Phone

    The Phone 8.1 SDK and emulator is available for download, and see Dan's Build talk for more details and demos.

    We also updated DirectXTK to include Phone 8.1 projects, which makes WICTextureLoader and SaveWICTextureToFile available on Phone.
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