Today’s a huge day for Microsoft, for the massive number of users of Windows worldwide and for software developers of every flavour as the Consumer Preview of Windows 8 was announced and shown at Barcelona Mobile World Congress and made available for public download.

If you’ve been following along then you’ll know that this is the 2nd preview of Windows 8 to be made available since the Developer Preview was shown at the BUILD conference back in September of last year.

There’s an awful lot of information to digest around Windows 8 so I thought I’d provide a few pointers.

If you haven’t done so already, you might want to set the download going while you’re reading the rest of this post so here’s the link to the bits that you’ll want;

Download page with both Windows 8 Consumer Preview along with the tools and SDK

should you get stuck on the product key, check out the FAQ.

Once you’ve got those bits downloading, I think the best way to get a feel for the Consumer Preview is to read the blog post;

Welcome to Windows 8 – The Consumer Preview

and then have a look at the video on Channel 9;

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Demo

which runs to just 8 minutes but provides a great introduction and I’d also check out the videos on the Consumer Preview site, specifically;

A Touch of Brilliance

Rediscover Your Mouse and Keyboard

Connected with the Cloud

I’d then recommend the Developer Guide;

Windows 8 Consumer Preview Product Guide for Developers

there’s a short one on the web but I’d download the longer version from the PDF link on the page;

Full Guide in PDF Format

this looks like it’s a massive tome at 30+ pages but it’s readable in about 20 minutes and I think one good read of it will pay off over one of those reads where you just read the titles and skip all the words ( yes, I’m guilty of that too ).

The Windows Dev Center provides the right jumping points for all Windows development.

If you’re interested in the amazing opportunity offered by Metro style apps then jump to the very nicely categorised Dev Center which provides all the right links. You’d probably want;

Getting Started

even if you’ve done some work in that area on the Developer Preview but do return back to that Dev Center because it provides links around the whole app development lifecycle from planning and designing UX through to selling apps in the Windows Store.

If you’re building desktop applications then there’s a separate Dev Center where you can grab the SDK and look at certification and compatibility details.

Beyond that, if you want to keep as up-to-date as possible then you can keep up with Windows developer information on;

Facebook

Twitter for Building Windows 8

Twitter for the Windows Dev Center

YouTube

and of course over on Channel 9.

Finally, keep in touch with the blogs. These 2 have been running for a while and we’ve been promoting them here on the UK MSDN blog;

Building Windows 8

Windows Store for Developers

but a new blog sprang up today specifically targeted at building Metro style apps for Windows 8;

Windows 8 App Developer Blog

That’s it for now Smile 

Have fun if exploring Windows 8 - see what you think, let us know about it in the forums and start to think about what opportunities there are for your apps on the platform – we’re very much looking forward to seeing what UK developers build.