Microsoft today announced several updates to its free Windows App Studio Beta web service for building Windows apps. Now there are new templates you can use to get started, tools for dropping ads into apps, and new ways to display content in apps.

Microsoft first launched the tool in 2013, under the name Windows Phone App Studio Beta. In April 2014 Microsoft relaunched the tool and changed the name to Windows App Studio Beta. Since then Microsoft has rolled out updates here and there, including TouchDevelop programming language support and support for the Windows 10 Insider Preview. Today there are several changes for users to check out.

Of course, people can use other services if they want to build apps, but Windows App Studio is a point-and-click experience, which opens it up for non-technical users. Last year the service boasted 2.3 million users.

A few users have asked for the ability to place ads inside apps they create with Windows App Studio, according to the service’s UserVoice page, and now it’s possible.

“It’s great to have people using and enjoying your app, but it’s even better when those eyeballs translate into revenue!” as the Windows App Studio team put it in a blog post today on the latest updates.

You can now connect a WordPress blog to Windows App Studio, and one of the three new templates Microsoft is introducing is specifically dedicated to WordPress blogs. Here’s an example of an app built with the template:

An example of the WordPress template in Microsoft's Windows App Studio.

Above: An example of the WordPress template in Microsoft’s Windows App Studio.

Image Credit: Microsoft

The other two templates are My Shop, for implementing an ecommerce experience or just showing many visual designs, and Events, for providing information to people attending events, with room for speaker biographies.

If you’d like, you can throw in content from other pages with the new Related Content feature. New templates for this component are on the way, the Windows App Studio team wrote.

And there are also new ways to display images. You can turn on the new Carousel, which switch out multiple hero images like a slideshow. Plus, “you can change the background and adjust the hero image for each section individually and choose how each section appears on the default/home section of your app,” the Windows App Studio team wrote.

You can access Windows App Studio here.

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