Future of Software Engineering on Mobile Devices


May 24, 2012


Nikolai Tillmann


Microsoft Research


The world is experiencing a technology shift. In 2012, touchscreen-based mobile devices, namely smartphones and tablets, will outsell desktops, laptops, and netbooks combined. Powerful, easy-to-use smartphones are likely to be the first and, especially in developing countries, possibly the only computing devices that virtually everyone will own and carry at all times. Is it possible to develop new software directly on these mobile devices, without using a PC? What would a user interface for such a new development model look like?

In this presentation, we present a new tool from Microsoft Research, TouchDevelop, that tries to address these questions. TouchDevelop is an application-creation environment that runs on the smartphone itself-no separate PC required. Its programming language and code editor have been built from scratch around the idea that all code is entered via a touchscreen, without a keyboard. We report on how TouchDevelop is being used today by thousands of people.


Nikolai Tillmann

Nikolai Tillmann. Principal Research Software Design Engineer, Microsoft Research. Nikolai Tillmann works at Microsoft Research on combining dynamic and static program analysis techniques. He currently leads the Pex project, a framework for runtime verification and automatic test-case generation for .NET applications based on parameterized unit testing and dynamic symbolic execution. He also works on the Spur project, a tracing Just-In-Time compiler for .NET and JavaScript code. Previously he worked on AsmL, an executable modeling language, and the Spec Explorer 2004 model-based testing tool. He co-developed XRT, a concrete/symbolic state exploration engine and software model-checker for .NET.


  • Portrait of Nikolai Tillmann

    Nikolai Tillmann

    Principal Software Engineer Manager