Yesterday in Bangalore at the GIDS conferences I did a session on working with Windows 8 and Notification Services. In it we talked about the live tiles that make up the new start screen in Windows 8 and how as a developer you have new ways to interact with your users thru the use of Toast, Tile, Badge and Raw notifications. We explored the 2 pieces of the puzzle that as developers we need to build, and showed how to make it all work.
The client app and the Cloud service make up the 2 parts of the equation, and the process is fairly simple. The client application developer registers their application with Windows Push Notification Service (WNS), then requests a channel to be notified on. It sends that channel to it’s Cloud partner who persists the channel and then uses that to send notifications thru WNS to the client. The result is a very rich interactive experience. There are many templates and formats for the notification to take, and as a developer all you need to do is select the one you want and send thru the appropriate values.
The tools and technologies you need include 2 versions of Visual Studio, including Visual Studio 2010 with the Windows Azure SDK 1.6 installed, and Dev11 to build the Metro style client application on Windows 8. This Starting from scratch there are NuGet packages you could use, but a MUCH easier path is to use the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows 8 hosted on http://watwindows8.codeplex.com. Nick Harris has a great blog post that talks thru the contents of the kit and details for installing, but the basic premise is that on a 32 GB developer tablet (small disk) I was able to install all the parts I needed to be able to make it work and still had 10 GB left over after installing everything.