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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.

At the Dev Center you can also download the Windows 8 RP and useful tools in which to code your app. There is a Support tab, as well as Community, and the Windows Runtime Component allows multiple languages to work together in the same app.

Without writing a single line of code, you can preview a basic app with no content, and then tweak from there. As you code you can see a live preview - hovering over code in Visual Studio let's you see how your app appears while it is still running, or you can simulate the app in a small window, running the app as you code it, adjusting the screen size to see how it looks on different screen sizes, and in different aspect ratios. Here you can also take multiple screenshots of apps in development in order to aid the design process.

Baked in functions require only a single line of code - you simple add in the code for 'Share' to add social and email options, for instance. To improve the design you can visually change application in VisualBasic Blend - a tool that has an interface like a DTP program. HTML taken from a website renders in the app - so If your syndicated HTML includes video tags, you don't need to 'add' video capability to your app, Windows 8 will work it out. And video automatically streams out to Xbox - controlled from Windows device - with zero code required (like 'Share').

Apps run on Windows RT devices, as well as X86 Windows 8.

Once you have a working app, you head back to the Dev Center to create an app package and submit it to the Windows Store. Microsoft will run content checks, and technical checks before deciding whether to list your app, but LeGrow said this was a 'transparent process that gives users confidence that apps are going to be great'. To help this process you can run the Windows App Certification Kit, which LeGrow claimed is the same tool run by Microsoft for pre-Store technical checks. If your app passes your own test, it is going to pass the code check, he said. And if it fails before you submit, you get immediate feedback.

Once you have an app that has passed you add an age rating, name, cryptography, and notes to testers, and then wait for your app to appear in the Store.


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