VisualStudio How do you get the Windows 8 SDK and Visual Studio? What if you have Visual Studio already?

This blog is part of a series, you can find the entire series here.

In Step 2 we learned where to find and different options for installing Windows 8 which is required before you download and install the SDK. Now you need the Windows 8 SDK and a version of Visual Studio 2012. In this blog we’ll look at what you need to install so you can start building a Windows 8 app. This blog post covers the following:

  • Getting a copy of Visual Studio
  • Downloading and installing the SDK
  • How do I know it installed correctly and I can start coding?

Getting a copy of Visual Studio and Expression Blend

  • Visual Studio is the development environment used to build Windows 8 apps, so you will need to install it before you can start building your app.
  • Expression Blend is a component of Microsoft Expression Studio that allows you to design the look and feel of your application. It is not required to build a Windows 8 app, but you will probably prefer it to Visual Studio when you edit the look and feel of your app.

Are you a student in a technical program?

If you are in a technical program like Computer Science you may have access to DreamSpark Premium which is usually accessed through your school IT department or through a special portal maintained by your school like this one from Carleton where you can download Visual Studio and Expression Studio.

Are you a high school, college or university student?

If you are a student in a non technical program such as business administration or you are in a technical program that does not have a DreamSpark Premium subscription, you can still get a copy of Visual Studio through DreamSpark Standard. DreamSpark Standard subscriptions are given to universities, colleges, and even school boards so that high school students can access Microsoft developer software. They are usually tied to a school email address. For example a student with an email address that ends in @Ryerson.ca is recognized as a student from Ryerson who can access the Ryerson University subscription. If your school does not have a subscription, you can request a verification code by contacting your local Microsoft representative. (In Canada that’s us!). Now you can

Note: when you download Visual Studio and Expression Studio, you will get an .iso file. You will need to either burn a copy of the .iso onto a DVD or use a tool such as Virtual Clone Drive to read the .iso and allow you to install it.

Do you have MSDN?

If you are a Microsoft Student Partner, or work at a company with an MSDN subscription you can download a copy of Visual Studio from the Microsoft Download Center.

What if I am not a student and I don’t have MSDN!

That’s okay you don’t need a full version of Visual Studio to develop an app, when you install the Windows 8 SDK it will install a copy of Visual Studio 2012 Express with Blend you can use to develop your app.

Downloading and Installing the SDK

Do you already have a copy of Visual Studio 2012?

If you do have access to a full version of Visual Studio 2012 and Expression Blend, install it before you install the Windows 8 SDK. When you install the Windows 8 SDK it will detect your copy of Visual Studio 2012 and install the Windows 8 templates into your existing copy of Visual Studio. Visit the the windows dev center (dev.windows.com) to download the tools and SDK.

If you don’t already have a copy of Visual Studio 2012

If you do not have a copy of Visual Studio 2012 already, then all you need to do is download the tools and SDK and it will install a copy of Visual Studio 2012 Express and Blend for Visual Studio on your system so you can start developing.

How do I know it worked and I can start coding?

If you can launch Visual Studio 2012 or Visual Studio 2012 and choose File | New Project then choose either Visual C#, Visual Basic, Visual C++, or JavaScript and you can see a set of templates called Windows Store similar to the screen shot below. You are ready to start coding! If you are a Canadian don’t forget to register for Developer Movement to make sure you get rewards for your app

Visual Studio new Windows 8 project