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Tips for building Windows 8 apps

Matt Egan | July 3, 2012
Microsoft today outlined how easy it is for anyone to develop apps for Windows 8. Here's how to be a Windows 8 developer.

Microsoft today outlined how easy it is for anyone to develop apps for Windows 8. Here's how to be a Windows 8 developer.

At an event in The Netherlands today Microsoft's Partner Group Program Manager for the Windows 8 Developer Platform Ian LeGrow explained that the Windows 8 app development program was designed for non developers. He outlined the process of creating and submitting an app.

According to LeGrow there are important consistent elements to all Metro style apps: Metro style tiled design, fast and navigation, support for multiple states and devices, and support for the right Charms, or navigational elements. The good news however - according to LeGrow at least - is that Microsoft will do three quarters of this work for you. He sais that an app that is mere stable fast, and easy to use is merely a three-star application, and one that is beautifully designed,and functionally complete just four stars. But he stressed that using Microsoft's Dev Center this work would be largely done for would-be developers. The tricky part, he said, is to 'delight and capture imagination'. And on that devs are on their own.

But it would be worth making the effort, LeGrow said, because the Windows Store offers world-wide reach, and rich back-end analytics. He said that Microsoft offers powerful tools, code and design tools, and that anyone can use a variety of skills to code in multiple languages including HTML, DX, Javascript, C/C++, XAML and C#, using VisualBasic. The tools required to create Windows 8 apps are all free, and Windows RunTime APIs offer the ability to create apps that take advantage of local and cloud services. That's one platform for multiple devices, written in a language you know. See also: Windows 8 Tablet review. For more on the changes in Windows 8 and how to use them visit Windows 8 Advisor. For detailed advice on installing Windows 8 Release Preview, read our article: How to install Windows 8.

Developing Windows 8 apps: where to start

That's the easiest bit: head over to the Dev Center, at Here you'll find the Metro Style Apps Dashboard, which is the key entry point for developers. You can create an app as a project, reserving its name. You'll also find tutorials telling you how to code Windows 8 apps, and code samples. LeGrow demonstrated this by searching for the term 'Geo-location' - he found code samples in multiple languages, commented with advice. So you can use the language you already have to adapt the code. There are more than 500 such samples in multiple languages, LeGrow said.


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