Quickly create Windows Phone 7 HTML 5 apps with HTML App Host

We wrote last week about how Microsoft are embracing HTML 5 and JavaScript-based apps in the new Windows 8 interface, much to the annoyance of Silverlight developers who had not been told about the integration they were likely to face.

Now HTML 5 is encroaching on Silverlight’s most prominent platform – Windows Phone 7 – with an open-source project that is aiming to make a “browser shell” application one of the simplest things to build for the platform.

For a long time now, iOS has supported adding home-screen shortcuts to webpages, making web apps almost equal citizens with iOS apps on the home screen. Android has similar tools to make simple applications based on web sites, and now developers can do the same thing with Windows Phone 7.

The HTML App Host Framework is an extremely simple concept – the code allows you to create a Silverlight project, simply drop in your HTML 5-based application, provide a quick configuration file (which could easily be automated or given a GUI in the future) and then your application is ready to run. Not only does it support simple rendering, but APIs permit scripts to be called by the phone OS for certain events, and in some cases the JavaScript can call out to the OS through another set of APIs.

Have a go with the HTML App Host framework on CodePlex.

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