Windows 8 app developer blog

Insights on building Windows Store apps by the Windows 8 engineering team

  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Multilingual App Toolkit for developing Windows Store apps using Visual Studio 2012

    • 20 Comments
    Windows 8 was designed to work better in more locales all over the world. Working with developers like you, we can complete these globalized experiences by releasing apps that are relevant in more locations around the world. By translating using machine translation or localizing using a human translator, you can make your Windows Store app available in more languages and reach more markets and larger audiences. While making apps available on a global scale has always been a priority, with Windows...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Windows 8 RTM is available for developers

    • 49 Comments
    Two weeks ago we announced that Windows 8 released to manufacturing (RTM). Since then we’ve been preparing builds for distribution as described in the Windows 8 has reached the RTM milestone post on Windows Team blog. I’m happy to let you know that we are now ready with early access builds for developers. In this post I’ll give you some pointers on the best way to get and install the RTM build and I’ll also point you to resources you can use to get your apps up and running...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Creating a great tile experience (part 1)

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    A live tile is one of the best ways to entice users back to your app. This post shows you how to update your app’s live tile using polling and local APIs so that you can show off what is great about your app directly on the Windows 8 Start screen. Your tile can put front and center the best of what’s going on inside of your app. The app tile is a core part of your app, and quite possibly its most frequently seen part – take advantage of the tile to get users back into your app! In this post I walk...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Fast and fluid animations in your Metro style app

    • 10 Comments
    Fast and fluid animations bring apps to life. In Windows 8 Consumer Preview, you will notice that animations are an integral part of the user experience. When you log in to your PC, the items in the Start menu animate in. When you launch an immersive app or zoom into the Start menu, the experience is enriched with a smooth animation. Animations can tell the user what happened as a result of a specific action. This visual feedback instills user confidence in the app’s responsiveness. Even a simple...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Combining XAML and DirectX

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    Since early on in the development of Windows 8, we’ve been thinking about ways to combine UI, such as the rich set of controls and interactivity provided by XAML, and graphics, like the low-level, high-performance rendering of DirectX. The feedback you gave for the Developer Preview through the Dev Center forums and other channels helped us focus on the set of related scenarios that developers really wanted to build. We saw some common themes: many of you wanted to either add DirectX graphics to...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Building a custom control using XAML and C#

    • 12 Comments
    You may already know that one of the most powerful features of the Windows 8 XAML platform is the flexibility the platform provides to create custom controls. XAML provides features like Dependency Properties and Control Templates that make it easy to create feature-rich and customizable controls. In the last post, “ Building a custom control using the Windows Library for JavaScript ,” Jordan Matthiesen walked you through creating a custom HelloWorld control. In this post I walk you through creating...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Best practices when adding single sign-on to your app with the Live SDK

    • 32 Comments
    A few months ago I wrote about how to bring single sign-on and SkyDrive to your Windows 8 apps with the Live SDK . Since then we made the Windows 8 Release Preview publicly available and we’ve begun to see some inconsistency in the design patterns forming in how apps expose entry points for users to sign in, connect accounts or sign-out of their experience. To help you with these design patterns, we put together some guidelines for apps that want to use a user’s Microsoft account. In this post I...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Enabling great Play To experiences from your Windows 8 apps (and websites!)

    • 18 Comments
    Play To Overview The Play To feature allows you to stream music, photos and videos from apps to Xbox and other supported devices on your home network. Imagine being able to easily flick photos and videos from your app to the big screen TV. Or music from your app to your living room speakers. Using the Play To contract, you can easily enable those scenarios for your users from your apps. It’s a great way for you to make your apps more engaging in users’ living rooms. To deliver a great end-to-end...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Diving deep with WinRT and await

    • 8 Comments
    The recent blog post Keeping apps fast and fluid with asynchrony in the Windows Runtime includes examples of how the await keyword in C# and Visual Basic enables developers to use WinRT asynchronous operations while still maintaining and reasoning about good control flow. In this follow-on post, I dive much deeper into exactly how await works with WinRT. This knowledge will make it easier for you to reason about code that uses await , and as a result, will enable you to write better Metro style apps...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Managing app lifecycle so your apps feel "always alive"

    • 10 Comments
    The app lifecycle model in Windows 8 means that users no longer need to manage which apps are running. It also makes it easy for developers to craft a great user experience that doesn’t affect the device’s battery or performance when the app is in the background. Using the new lifecycle events, your app will always feel alive, even though it never runs when it is off-screen. Today, batteries often run low on laptops, tablets, and phones, because all of us tend to leave apps running even when we’re...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Creating Metro style apps that stand out from the crowd

    • 21 Comments
    When you submit your app into the Store, there will no doubt be other apps in your category that will compete for people’s attention. Being able to crisply showcase the differentiation points in your offerings and staying focused on delivering the core scenarios that you are best at are crucial to a successful Metro style app that will stand out from the crowd. Windows 8 provides a set of design patterns , common controls , and built-in platform functionalities such as contracts that can help you...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Being productive in the background – background tasks

    • 16 Comments
    In my previous post ( Being productive in the background ), I explained the Windows 8 background model and how your app can be productive even when it’s not on screen in a power efficient manner. In today’s post, I will talk about background tasks and how your app can run code in the background even when it is suspended. I will describe two common scenarios with example code that show you how to run your own app code in the background; downloading POP email every 15 minutes with a lock screen capable...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Using HTML controls to create great Metro style apps

    • 6 Comments
    With Windows 8, you can use HTML to build Metro style apps. What you might not realize is that by using HTML controls directly, you automatically get the new Windows 8 experience. We have done work in HTML so that you can build industrial strength apps that have touch capability while still maintaining the great flexibility of using HTML. We want you to quickly and efficiently build apps that shine. In particular, we want you to continue to take advantage of common HTML controls like <button>...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Automating the testing of Windows 8 apps

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    In the blog post for testing Windows Store apps , we’ve primarily covered what to test your apps for. While you can manually execute the verification areas we’ve discussed in the previous post, it is more efficient to automate some of these verification areas. Automating the verification of your app has many benefits. Automated testing saves time and money that you’d otherwise spend doing manual testing. Once created, automated tests can be run over and over again at minimal cost and are much faster...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Activating Windows 8 contracts in your app

    • 18 Comments
    When you start writing Metro style apps you’ll quickly come across contracts, a new and powerful concept in Windows 8. Metro style apps use contracts to declare interactions they support with other apps and with Windows. You’ve probably already heard about some of them: search, share, etc. Using contracts, apps become better by working with the system or with each other when users install more apps that implement contracts. In this post I’ll walk you through activation, one of the main concepts to...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    The Windows 8 Dev Center: Everything you need to design, build, and sell a Metro style app

    • 4 Comments
    For Windows 8, we completely reimagined not just the platform, but also how we share app development info with you. Launched 9 months ago, the Windows Dev Center is the one place where you can find all the info and resources you need to get going. Whether you’re new to development, seeking inspiration for the next great app, or you’re simply stuck and need help, you can find it here. We talked to many developers, and heard a lot about how difficult it could be to find the right info in the MSDN Library...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Testing Windows 8 apps using Visual Studio 2012

    • 25 Comments
    As we continue to innovate on the operating system platform with Windows 8, we also enhanced the toolset available in Visual Studio to increase your productivity in testing your Windows 8 apps. Ensuring a top notch quality of your app in this new modern OS environment through thoughtful design and testing will help increase the success of your app. In a previous blog post on Testing Metro style apps in Windows 8 , we highlighted some of the key areas you need to take into account for building a high...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Keeping apps fast and fluid with asynchrony in the Windows Runtime

    • 11 Comments
    Human beings are asynchronous by nature, which directly affects how we expect apps to respond to us. The Windows Runtime (WinRT) has embraced this asynchrony as a first-class citizen in the building of fast and fluid Metro style apps. If you are building a Metro style app, you will need to write some asynchronous code at some point. In this blog post, we talk about why asynchronous programming is so prevalent in WinRT, and we’ll give you the basics on how to use it in your apps and some background...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Media Playback: What you need to know about playing media to make your app shine in Windows 8

    • 5 Comments
    For Windows 8, we made some changes in our audio system designed to improve the app experience. In this blog, I discuss these changes, and how you can take advantage of them in your media apps. Hopefully this info helps you better understand how audio works in Windows Store apps, especially when it comes to audio playback in the background. Let me begin by describing a common user scenario. You’re listening to your favorite band in a Windows music app, and a friend sends you an mp3 of a sweet live...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Roaming your app data

    • 5 Comments
    Windows 8 keeps users always connected. They can be connected to the internet, cloud services, and their other Windows 8 PCs. Your app can participate in this always connected ecosystem by taking advantage of roaming app data. In this post I tell you more about roaming app data, what it is, why it’s important, and best of all how easy it is to implement in your app. Why roam data Roaming personalization settings is key to feeling connected to Windows, and Windows 8 does that for many Windows settings...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Testing Metro style apps in Windows 8

    • 3 Comments
    In the world of Metro style apps, your apps are the focus of the whole experience. For this experience to be delightful to your users, you want to ensure that your apps are well tested and represent a high level of quality. Producing a Metro style app involves four main stages: design, development, testing and finally distribution. A number of previous blog posts focus on the design and development aspects of Metro style apps. In this post, we cover a few high level verification areas related to...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Building the Bing apps for Windows 8

    • 19 Comments
    Overview For Windows 8, the Bing team built News, Weather, Finance, Sports, Travel and Maps apps. This technical overview provides insight on the architecture of these apps, key Windows 8 features and the contracts they use, common controls they employ, and world readiness more generally. Several members of the Bing team formed an apps team approximately one year ago to deliver a set of apps powered by Bing for Windows 8. The focus of these apps is to keep users informed by delivering fast and fluid...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Creating a fast and fluid app launch experience

    • 5 Comments
    App launch is a principal part of the fast and fluid Windows 8 experience, so it’s important that you prioritize your app’s launch UX. A highly-polished launch flow is sure to improve the initial reception of any app. In this post, I’ll discuss how to craft a well-designed, responsive app launch experience and explain why app launch is a critical time to make a positive impression on users. I’ll introduce four app launch design patterns that can be applied to your apps and point out some key things...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    What’s changed for app developers since the Consumer Preview

    • 25 Comments
    It’s that time again: With the new Release Preview and the new developer tools , Windows 8 is one step closer to final release. And just like in the Consumer Preview, our engineering team has been hard at work polishing the development platform to provide you with the best possible development experience on Windows 8. In this post I highlight a few of the new features that we’ve been working on and I also help get you started on migrating your existing Consumer Preview apps to the Release Preview...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Welcome to the Windows 8 app developer blog

    • 43 Comments
    Hello, and welcome to the Windows 8 app developer blog! I’m Aleš Holeček, Distinguished Engineer on the Windows Development team. With the release today of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview , we are launching this blog dedicated to those of you who are designing and developing great apps for Windows 8. As you’ve heard us say many times, Windows 8 is a reimagining of Windows, where apps take center stage. To make this possible, we’ve also reimagined what it means to build apps for Windows. Throughout...
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