In the last few posts, hopefully I’ve been able to plant a seed in your head about training – learning new technologies and skills – as a hobby rather than trying to do it through work (unless you can, of course, which would make it that much more efficient!). I talked about training through real experiences and how building and publishing apps is a means by which you can gain those real experiences but also how published apps act as your ongoing resume to show people what you can do. I promised you that I would do my best to make all of that as easy and as efficient (fast) as possible to do. Here’s one towards that promise. Enjoy.

Now that you have a gist of developing for Windows 8, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure (check out App Building Made Easier: Step 1 to get the gist that I’m referring to), it’s time to dive a bit deeper!

Choose Your Own Adventure

What I’m about to share with you is several hours of learning goodness; however, there’s no need to go through them all. I’m not saying don’t go through them all, but, but if time is limited, choose your own adventure – watch the sessions that are most relevant to the app idea you have in mind. This way, you’ll get what you need to get started right away, and eventually, when it’s time to develop your other app ideas, you can come back and view the ones that you didn’t go through the first time.

So to start:

  • If you’re looking to build a Windows Store app, go here.
  • If you’re looking to build a Windows Store game, go here.
  • If you’re looking to build a Windows Phone app, go here.

 

You’re looking to build a Windows Store app

Great! So if you’ve decided to go the Windows Store app route. First step to building a great Windows Store app is to understand how to design one. Windows Store apps are different than the typical battleship-grey forms that you’re accustomed to seeing. They follow a specific set of design principles that, when implemented correctly, create a great user experience.

1 Consider these principles as you plan your app, and always ensure your design and development choices live up to these principles.  Watch Introduction to Microsoft Design Principles >>
2  Hands-on Windows 8 App Design with Paper Prototyping Now that you understand the principles, it’s time to actually implement them. Grab a piece of paper, napkin, or whatever surface (as opposed to Surface Winking smile) you prefer to doodle on, and a pencil. Let’s sketch. Sketching is a way to iterate through design ideas without committing resources inefficiently and will hopefully remove roadblocks early in the process rather than later when those roadblocks are more expensive. Watch Hands-on Windows 8 App Design with Paper Prototyping >>

With design out of the way, let’s think about implementation. Choose your adventure once more:

  • If you’re more comfortable with web technologies (HTML5, JavaScript, CSS, etc.), go here.
  • If you’re more comfortable with .NET technologies (XAML, C#, etc.), go here.

You’re looking to build a Windows Store app with HTML5 and JavaScript

1 Building Windows 8 Apps with HTML & JavaScript Does that surprise you… that you can build Windows Store apps using HTML5 and JavaScript? Well be surprised no more. See exactly how HTML5 and JavaScript work in Windows Store apps. Watch Building Windows Store Apps with HTML & JavaScript >>
2 A Lap Around Windows 8 Development for HTML developers Cover the basics of creating a Windows Store app experience using HTML and JavaScript, including the Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS). Topics  include how to leverage your existing HTML and JavaScript skills, how to integrate Windows 8 personality and contracts into your app, and how Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 provides tools to make this easy and fast.. Watch A Lap Around HTML Development for Windows 8 >>
3 Looks Over Logic: Turning Developers into Designers with CSS Frameworks and Compilers Making your app work well is something that you will naturally do well (you are a developer after all!), but making HTML5 Windows Store apps look good is another story. In this session you’ll learn about CSS compilers and frameworks that will extend your HTML app development skills into the world of design. Watch Looks Over Logic: Turning Developers Into Designers with CSS Compilers and Frameworks >>

You’ll now continue your adventure here.

You’re looking to build a Windows Store app with XAML and C#

1 XAML: What you need to know for Windows 8 At first glance XAML looks pretty straight forward, it's kind of like HTML and you can lay things out on a canvas or a grid. But there's so much more to it than that. Learn the ins and outs of XAML for Windows 8 including layout and various UI controls, visual states, data binding, orientation, scaling and more. Watch XAML: What You Need to Know for Windows 8 >>

Additional Considerations

Regardless of how you’re developing your Windows Store apps, there are a couple more things that you should consider:
1 Building Connected Windows Store Apps the Easy Way Moving your crud to the cloud, dealing with schema and managing service endpoints just does not sound like fun. We hear you, and we agree! Learn just how easy it is to build connected apps including automatic schema, identity and authentication, notifications, scripted server logic and more! Watch Building Connected Windows Store Apps The Easy Way >>
2 Websites in the Cloud Your Windows Store app will need somewhere to host additional resources, your privacy policy, help files, etc. Windows Azure Web Sites is a great place to start. Find out where and how you would use Windows Azure Web Sites. Watch Windows Azure Websites >>
3 Cloud Services, .NET & You Maybe you need more than just a web site or web APIs. Maybe your requirements are a bit more complex. Luckily, Windows Azure can do that too. Watch Cloud Services, .NET & You >>

Remember…

If you’re an MSDN subscriber, you get Windows Azure benefits as part of your MSDN subscription, so make sure you activate that to explore the above and if you’re looking to add a Cloud backend to your apps.

4 Sharing “Awesome” Across Multiple Screens With a little bit of thinking ahead and learning how to organize your code with reusability in mind, you can bring your Windows Store app to Windows Phone. Watch Sharing Awesome Across Multiple Screens >>

Well done! You’ve made it through everything you need for a Windows Store app! Continue here.

You’re looking to build a Windows Store game 

Great! So if you’ve decided to go the Windows Store game route. First step to building a great Windows Store game is to understand how to design one. They follow a specific set of design principles that, when implemented correctly, create a great user experience.

1 Designing Great Games for the Windows Store Windows 8 provides unparalleled reach across a range of devices, from touch and pen-centered tablets with modern sensors to high-resolution laptops and desktop PCs. This reach offers a unique opportunity for game publishers to develop experiences for a variety of scenarios. In this session, you'll see how your game can embrace Windows principles and UX guidelines, while simultaneously improving your users' experience. Watch Designing Great Games for the Windows Store >>
2 Creating an HTML5 Game: Overview Learn about some of the great HTML5 games that are out there and how you can create your own by getting the fundamentals of how to build a game featuring a loveable, but angry Yeti using HTML 5 technologies that work across all modern browsers. Watch Creating an HTML5 Game: Overview >>
3 Creating an HTML5 Game: Components Learn how you can create a game about a loveable, but angry Yeti using HTML5 that works across all modern browsers. We will discuss game mechanics such as input, entities, sprites, animation, collision, sound and best practices for performance. Watch Creating an HTML5 Game: Components >>
4 Migrating an HTML5 Game to Windows 8: Game Object & System Details With the game now built to work in a browser, bring it over to Windows 8 to take advantage of all the greatness that the platform gives you. This session will show you how you can take your HTML5 game and migrate it to a Windows Store game. Watch Migrating an HTML5 Game to Windows 8: Game Object & System Details >>
5 Migrating an HTML5 Game to Windows 8: Extending the Game with Windows Store Features Now to actually take advantage of features such as accelerometers, user profile data, Ads and Live Tiles to make your game stand out. Watch Migrating an HTML5 Game to Windows 8: Extending the Game with Windows Store Features >>

That’s all you need to get your Windows Store game done. If you have some time, you can also watch the Q&A from the Developer Movement Game Camp. Continue here.

You’re looking to build a Windows Phone App

Great! So if you’ve decided to go the Windows Phone app route. First step to building a great Windows Phone app is to understand the modern app’s design principles. Windows Phone apps follow a specific set of design principles that, when implemented correctly, create a great user experience.

1 Consider these principles as you plan your app, and always ensure your design and development choices live up to these principles which this session will help provide context. Watch Introduction to Microsoft Design Principles >>
2  Developer Movement Phone Camp With the design work out of the way, you need the next your next steps. Start off by ning me LIVE on Thursday, March 28 for the Developer Movement Phone Camp. Register >>

And one last thing…

Developer Mentors

Now that you’re digging deeper into getting those app ideas into actual apps, its a perfect time to get someone to help you along the way. Your Developer Mentor would be a perfect person to ask any questions you might have as you’re going through all of the above. To get yourself a developer mentor (and no, there is no cost for the mentors. They are experts in the Canadian developer community that just want to help you build awesome apps), check out the details here.

Go!

Now you have everything you need to get going. No more playing around. Go build! I know there’s a lot of stuff to go through here. If there’s something that you’d like to learn more about, is of particular intrigue, or something that you’re stuck on, let us know. Start a new discussion in the Canadian Developer Connection group on LinkedIn and let myself, the Developer Mentors, and others in the Canadian developer community help you. If you have questions from a specific session, post them right on the session page, and we’ll make sure to answer them for you.