Windows Phone 7 is only six months old and it already has over 12,000 apps. But that still pales in comparison to the iPhone and other iOS devices, which have over 300,000 apps available for them. When developers are looking at a new platform to develop for, there are several questions that must be answered. One of them is "is it worth the hassle to learn a new language and set of APIs?" Microsoft is trying to make that hassle a bit less of an issue.
As I noted last week, 46% of developers in an Appcellerator survey said their hands were full already with iOS and Android platform development. While there is far more to application development than just APIs, they tend to cause the most consternation as programmers try to figure out how to do the same thing on platform Y that they did on platform X.
Microsoft has launched a new service, according to the Windows Team Blog, that will map the iOS API to the Windows Phone API. You won't be able to just run your code through it and have it spit out an app designed for Windows Phone of course, but you will be able to look up many of the API calls you make on iOS and find out what the equivalent is for Windows Phone. When you drill down to methods to use on those APIs, the tool provides sample code. Everything is linked to the Microsoft Developer Network site, which will give you complete details on the item you are studying.
This won't cause a massive wave of iOS developers to release Windows Phone apps, but it should help push those over the edge that are considering it and make life much easier for those that have already made the decision and are just getting started.
If you are developing for Android and would like a similar tool, be patient. Microsoft has already committed to creating a similar tool that will perform the same task for Android developers.