Windows 8 app developer blog

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

  • 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

    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

    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

    Being productive when your app is offscreen

    • 7 Comments
    In the Managing app lifecycle post, Adam Barrus described the new app lifecycle introduced in Windows 8. The most common question we hear is “what if my app has to do something important when it is not on screen, for example, download a file or email or play music”? In this two part series, I’ll tell you about the different types of activities that an app can do when it’s in the background and show some code examples to that support these scenarios. Windows 8 background model Efficient battery usage...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Trending forum topics: Answering your questions

    • 4 Comments
    When learning a new development platform I always find some hurdles getting my app working just the way I want it to. Like me, many of you have used our forums to get answers to the issues you run into. For this post we selected some of the most popular forum topics to highlight and provide more resources to help keep you coding. App settings and data, applying consistent colors and styles, designing for multiple languages and cultures, and Animating Metro style controls were all highly posted, viewed...
  • 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

    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

    Getting the most out of your pixels - adapting to view state changes

    • 3 Comments
    In Windows 8, your apps run on a variety of screen sizes and under various view states. A user might have your app snapped to the side of a 25-inch desktop monitor, or fill the whole screen of a 10-inch widescreen tablet. In each case, you want your app to take full advantage of the available space. In this post, I show you how you can track the current size and view state of your app in code, and give you tips on how to write your app in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview to handle screen size and view...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Creating a great tile experience (part 2)

    • 6 Comments
    In part 1 of this post , we learned how to design tile updates and choose the templates to match the content you want to show on your live tile. We got the app set up with a wide default tile and now we’re ready to start updating our tiles. Now, we dive straight into the code. First, we’ll see how to set up polling on our Contoso Food Trucks app tile, including what our web service code looks like. Then we add a secondary tile to the app and update it using the NotificationsExtension library provided...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Creating a great tile experience (part 1)

    • 9 Comments
    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

    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

    Tackling performance killers: Common performance problems with Metro style apps

    • 1 Comments
    Now that you had time to read my previous post, How to improve performance in your Metro style app , on the methodology and tools available to help you create fast and fluid apps, I want to dig into the common performance killers I have seen in apps. In this post, I go over the top guidance points which I have observed to result in measureable and noticeable improvements for Metro style apps, both written in JavaScript and in XAML. Plus, I tell you about 5 specific practices that I know will make...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    How to improve performance in your Metro style app

    • 7 Comments
    Nobody likes slow or unresponsive apps. Users expect that apps respond immediately to touch, taps, clicks, gestures and key-presses. Users expect that animations are smooth, that they can play, pause and restart their music and videos quickly, and that they never have to wait for the app to catch up with them. This is the first in a series of posts on how to make your apps "fast and fluid." We invested a lot of time in the engineering teams thinking about how we can ensure the performance...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Build apps with the experts at Windows 8 Dev Camps

    • 10 Comments
    We’ve been reading your comments and questions here on the blog and in the forums, and we know a lot of you are interested in building new Metro style apps, but you also have a lot of questions. One great place that you can go to get answers is a Windows 8 Dev Camp . Dev Camps complement the Dev Center resources and are a hands-on learning opportunity that will help you become an even better developer of Metro style apps. So, what exactly is a Windows 8 Dev Camp? It’s a free event that pulls together...
  • 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

    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

    Combining XAML and DirectX

    • 35 Comments
    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

    Bring single sign-on and SkyDrive to your Windows 8 apps with the Live SDK

    • 8 Comments
    Thanks to the cloud, Windows 8 customers can work and play seamlessly across devices. By signing in to your PC or device with a Microsoft account and taking advantage of free personal storage in SkyDrive (see Connecting your apps, files, PCs and devices to the cloud with SkyDrive and Windows 8 for more info), your apps, settings and personal files are always with you. As an app developer, you can take advantage of these cloud capabilities by integrating with the Live SDK in their Metro style apps...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Migrating your apps from Developer Preview to Consumer Preview

    • 6 Comments
    Hi, I’m John Sheehan, Partner Architect on the Windows Development team. We really appreciate you building apps for the preview releases. Your feedback helps us make Windows 8 great. Of course, building on a preview means that you need to make updates to your apps for each preview release – that’s what this post is all about, migrating your projects from the Developer Preview to the Consumer Preview. I’m going to highlight some of the changes here, but for a detailed guide to the changes, you can...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    What’s changed for app developers since //build/ (part 2)

    • 7 Comments
    As promised, I’m back to tell you about more of the important work that we’ve done since //build/. In part 1 of this post, I covered DirectX and XAML integration, improvements to the Blend designers, CSS independent animations, and more. But I’m sure you’re eager to dig into more of what’s new, so let’s jump right in. Tile and toast notifications Tiles and toasts are key parts of our Metro style design principles. They allow you to see important info at a glance, even when your app isn’t running...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    What’s changed for app developers since //build/ (part 1)

    • 14 Comments
    The Consumer Preview is now available and hopefully, you’ve had a chance to see what we’ve been up to. Our engineering team has been working hard since //build/. We’ve been listening to your feedback and using it to improve our development platform. At the same time, we’ve been putting the finishing touches on lots of platform features that you haven’t seen before. Along with the work we did directly on Windows, we’ve also improved our Visual Studio tools substantially since //build/. There have...
  • 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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