Despite Microsoft asking the ChevronWP7 team to remove its “unlock” for Windows Phone 7, eager developers are still working on homebrew applications for Windows Phone 7.
Windows Phone 7 developer, Tom Hounsell, has confirmed he is currently coding a homebrew IRC application for Windows Phone 7. Speaking to WinRumors today, Hounsell, an 18 year old unemployed developer from the UK, confirmed he is currently loading the application using the ChevronWP7 sideloading process. “IRC is one of the few things I find I really miss on WP7. I’ve taken the homebrew route simply because it’s by far the easiest way,” said Hounsell.
The IRC application uses a private Networking library that another developer coded. “The problem with the public SDK is that it only supports HTTP network traffic meaning that to get something like IRC working, I’d need to write a HTTP to IRC bridge, and find somewhere to host it,” said Hounsell. The Networking Library, developed by Jeremiah Morrill, is a COM library that essentially allows access to the native Sockets API in Windows CE. The API is native and Microsoft would not approve an application using it. “Shame Microsoft has blocked off the standard .NET Implementation of Sockets” says Hounsell. The application is currently under development and Hounsell plans to release the source code and pre-compiled XAP through a forthcoming blog post on his site.
WinRumors asked Hounsell whether he would be interested in a jailbroken Marketplace, similar to Cydia on iOS. “I would be attracted to such an idea, so long as it was a single, centralised marketplace. I think if there were to be a number of jailbreak marketplaces, then it would just get messy, and that’d put me off,” he said. Hounsell also confirmed he has an official student developer account but that it’s “awaiting ID verification”.
Homebrew applications can be sideloaded onto Windows Phone 7 devices using the ChevronWP7 tool or Microsoft’s official developer process. Microsoft recently asked the ChevronWP7 team to remove their tool and the developers complied. Team ChevronWP7 now plan to work with Microsoft in discussions around officially facilitating homebrew development on Windows Phone 7.