Windows 8 app developer blog

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

  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Testing Metro style apps in Windows 8

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    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

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

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    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...
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    Make your HTML/JavaScript app accessible

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    One of the hallmarks of a Windows 8 app is that accessibility is built into the platform. You can use accessibility features to widen the reach of your app with very little effort. We have received positive feedback on this approach from both developers and users and have refined the platform. Now we walk you through how to think about accessibility in your HTML and JavaScript apps during the design phase, show how to implement and test accessibility for some of the common UI patterns, provide some...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Add cloud to your app with Windows Azure Mobile Services

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    Great Windows Store apps are connected . They use live tiles, authenticate users with single sign-on and share data between devices and users. To get all these great benefits of being connected, your app needs to use services in the cloud. Building cloud services is hard. Most cloud platforms offer general purpose capabilities to store data and execute code, but you have to author reams of infrastructure code to glue these capabilities together. I’m sure you are up for the challenge, but I bet backend...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Develop a cutting edge app with NFC

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    Near Field Communication (NFC) is an emerging, short range wireless technology. With a precise range of 2 cm, people can physically tap devices together to send/receive content. Tapping lets you select something (or someone) quickly. Not only is it quick, it’s also easy to understand. Once you see it, you get it; there’s no manual needed. For example, imagine you are looking at some photos with a friend and she wants your pictures; with NFC, you can simply tap your device against her PC to send the...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Credential Locker: Your solution for handling usernames and passwords in your Windows Store app

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    If you haven’t yet heard about the Credential Locker that's available for Windows Store apps, it’s time you did. Why? Because it not only simplifies the task of storing and retrieving user credentials , it stores them securely, and credentials roam with users “for free” along with their Microsoft account. Say you have an app that connects to a service to access protected resources such as media files, social networking, etc. Your service requires login information for each user. So, you’ve built...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Alive with Activity, Part 3: Push notifications and Windows Azure Mobile Services

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    In Part 1 of this series we explored what “aliveness” means to a user and how apps participate in creating that experience. In Part 2 we looked at how to write and debug web services to support periodic updates for live tiles. Here in Part 3 we’ll complete the story by understanding how to deliver tile updates, toasts, and raw notifications to specific client devices on demand through the Windows Push Notification Service (WNS), and how Windows Azure Mobile Services simplifies the whole process....
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    Optimizing ListView item rendering

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    For many Windows Store apps written in JavaScript that work with collections, cooperating well with the WinJS ListView control is essential for great app performance. This isn’t surprising: when you’re dealing with management and display of potentially thousands of items, every bit of optimization you make with those items really counts. Most important is how each of the items gets rendered, which is to say, how—and when—each item in the ListView control gets built up in the DOM and becomes a visible...
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    Creating connected Windows Store apps

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    People are continually surrounded by devices that are connected to a network. Even the latest refrigerators and washing machines can connect to the internet and home networks. So it’s no surprise that end-users expect their apps to be connected as well. These “connected apps” consume the latest content from the web—social media, digital media, blogs, and other types of content. Developing connected apps has become the norm, but it can still be a challenge to handle common issues like loss of network...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Preparing your Windows Store app for a world market

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    Do you want to make your new app accessible for a worldwide market and potentially increase the number of customers for it? Windows 8 makes it easier than ever to write an app that can be tailored for different languages and cultures. Here, I’ll show you how to design a new world-ready app with little to no code modification. Sara Thomas described the market opportunities available to you in her post about the Multilingual App Toolkit . I hope her mention of “a potential reach of over 4.5 billion...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Alive with activity, Part 1: Working with tiles, badges, and toasts

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    Live tiles and the related capabilities of badges, toast notifications, and push notifications are one of the most distinguishing features of Windows 8 and Windows Store apps. They combine to create a system that is “alive with activity”: apps have a constant flow of info coming in from their services that’s visible on both the Start screen and the lock screen, even when those apps aren’t running. Previous posts on this blog have covered a number of the essentials where live tiles and notifications...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Creating beautiful views for local files

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    Part of Metro style design is building clean views that allow content to shine and help users accomplish their tasks. We explore in particular how you can create beautiful galleries with content from user’s files and folders on the local file system. Being able to display local content is a key requirement for many gallery apps that let users browse and consume their content – photos, videos, music, or documents. Windows 8 provides tools to do this in a simple, efficient, and customizable way. To...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    App building events for Windows 8 app developers

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    With the announcement that Windows 8 has been released to manufacturing (RTM) and will be available for customers to buy on October 26, now is the time to build apps. On August 15 th , all developers can visit the Windows Dev Center to get access to all the tools and resources they need including the RTM release of Visual Studio 2012. In the meantime, check out a selection of free events to help jumpstart your app development. Bringing Windows 8 to developers across the world Since we introduced...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Tackling performance killers: Common performance problems with Metro style apps

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    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

    Create location aware apps using geolocation and Bing Maps

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    By tying together a user’s location to the business logic of your app, you can easily provide app users with weather, coupons, sporting events, or concert listings for their current location. You can use the geolocation capabilities of Windows 8, along with the Bing Maps SDK, to create great location aware Windows Store apps . Let’s take a look at how your app can use the location service to provide users location-specific info with either an IP address, WiFi network, or GPS data. Once you have the...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Integrating your cloud service with the file picker contracts

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    In the past, users organized, shared, and maintained their documents, photos, videos, and music on the local PC. But the cloud is quickly providing users with much richer ways to access, experience, and manage the files they care about. Windows 8 embraces these new scenarios by allowing you to deeply integrate cloud services directly into your apps to create completely new experiences that were not possible before. You can see many of these scenarios highlighted in the SkyDrive app which uses the...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Introducing the Windows App Builder blog!

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    Hey everyone, I wanted to let you know that we’re bringing the Windows 8 app developer and Windows Store blogs together into the new Windows App Builder blog . With the upcoming release of Windows 8.1 Preview we have a lot to tell you about what’s new for Windows app builders, and we’re excited to do so in the new blog. With the new blog, you’ll be able to get what you need to build, design, and market your apps. For those of you currently subscribed to our RSS feed, don’t worry. We’ll automatically...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    All about promises (for Windows Store apps written in JavaScript)

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    When writing Windows Store apps in JavaScript, you encounter these constructs called promises as soon as you do anything that involves an asynchronous API. It also doesn’t take very long before writing promise chains for sequential asynchronous operations becomes second nature. In the course of your development work, however, you’ll probably encounter other uses of promises where it’s not entirely clear to see what’s going on. A good example of this is optimizing item rendering functions for a ListView...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Join the Game On Virtual Event

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    Games are a key class of apps in the Windows Store. If you’re looking to build a Windows Store game, we’d like to help you with this virtual game building event. The event is free and open to both new game developers and professionals. We’ll be using GameMaker: Studio from YoYo Games, to show you how to create and publish high-quality games in less time. GameMaker:Studio has a lot of great built-in design options and drag-and-drop tools that make it easy to get started even if you don’t have a game...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Building a custom control using the Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS)

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    If you have developed Windows Store apps using JavaScript, you most likely have encountered the Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS). This library provides you with a set of CSS styles, JavaScript controls and utilities to help you quickly build apps that meet the UX guidelines for the Windows Store. Among the utilities provided by WinJS are a set of functions you can use to create custom controls in your app. You can write JavaScript controls using any patterns or libraries you like; the library...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Sharing to your target app

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    In Sharing from your app , we introduced the idea of sharing content from the example app Food with Friends to several target apps that let the user accomplish rich end-to-end scenarios. Apps in Windows 8 offer interesting content that your customers will want to share with friends or other apps. With a compelling and well-designed share target, your app can be at the heart of a social and connected experience for your customers. In this post we look at how you can use the Share target contract for...
  • Windows 8 app developer blog

    Alive with activity, part 2: Writing and debugging services for live tiles

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    In Part 1 of this series we explored the nature of tile updates, badge updates, and toast notifications that bring a sense of “aliveness” to the overall user experience of Windows 8. In particular, we saw how these notifications are composed with XML payloads that are then issued locally, from a running app or a background task, or can be supplied upon request by an online service. Generating an XML payload and issuing it from a running app is something you can easily develop and debug within an...
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