I spend a great deal of time with devs and Windows Store App development. Strangely, not all devs at my sessions (who are learning about Win8 dev) are able to go to Windows 8 at this time. Yet the devs still want to build apps for Windows Store (aka Windows 8.1) for publishinging.
At TechEd 2014 we announced a possible solution for devs who cannot install Windows 8.1 for Windows Store application development.... <....drumroll..../>.
Introducing Client Virtual Machines in Windows Azure. You can now provision up Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 clients in Azure. Note these VMs are for development of software applications only, are available only to MSDN subscribers ( or DreamSpark, or Bizspark ).
Microsoft Technical Evangelist Yung Chou offers up an excellent document to help us get started setting up Windows Client OS in Azure VMs. In the document at [ blogs.technet.com/b/yungchou ] Yung breaks dow the step by step requirements to setup and get a basic VM up and going.
Start your VM via the Azure Portal and login. Visual Studio is pre-installed on the VM. Click on the Visual Studio icons and we are good to go.
WPF Dev Wanting an initial check of the Win81 developer environment in the cloud I uploaded some source code for a simple WPF client to the Virtual Machine. I then opened the WPF project in Visual Studio, and hit "f5" to launch it. The WPF application ran like a champ, albeit a bit slow. Easily remedied.
Note that my first run on the VMs I was running an "A0 ( shared core, 768 MB memory)" instance. Honestly, with Visual Studio up, and running my WPF stub app, the VM was running a bit rough. Upping the memory to an "A1 (1 core, 1.75 GB memory)" or great speeds up performance a great deal.
Note these are developer virtual machines. Don't leave the VMs up and running without a good reason. Otherwise you may incur some 'surprise' charges.
Next up we explore Windows 8.1 dev on the Azure VMs and the nasty 'The app can't be activated by the Built-In Administrator' error I countered. Link will be posted here once the article is up.
DEV EYE FOR AZURE CLIENT VM SERIES
Unable to activate Windows Store app - followup post at blogs.msdn.com/.../unable-to-activate-windows-store-app-dev-eye-for-azure-client-vms.aspx
Azure Client VMs are an awesomely cool way to have a Windows 8.1 client in the cloud for development
Azure Client VMs for Win81 dev. Try it, you might like it. Let's talk about how to login to your Microsoft
Addding a Microsoft Account to your VM - blogs.msdn.com/.../adding-a-microsoft-account-dev-eye-for-azure-client-vms.aspx .... Signing into your vm with your Microsoft account - blogs.msdn.com/.../signing-in-with-your-microsoft-account-dev-eye-for-azure-client-vms.aspx ...