This post can also be reached via http://bit.ly/win8nextsteps.
This post assumes you’re brand new to the Windows world. I’ll tell you what to install and what to learn.
First off, visit the Windows Dev Center to download Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I use the ISO version myself, and either burn a DVD or follow my colleague Daniel Egan’s instructions for making a bootable USB thumb drive. You can install Windows directly on a PC, in a bootable VHD, or in a virtual machine. The choice is yours.
Once you have Windows 8 running, go back to the Windows Dev Center to download the tools and SDK. You’ll end up with Visual Studio 11 Express Edition, which is free. Other editions of Visual Studio 11 can run on Windows 7, but the Express Edition only runs on Windows 8.
Next install the sample app pack, also from the Windows Dev Center. This gives you several hundred megabytes of sample code. While there, also consider downloading the design assets if you’ll be working with a designer who uses Photoshop.
Now that you have Windows 8 and the developer tools installed, take a look at some online videos from the Build conference, which happened in September 2011 and was where Windows 8 Developer Preview was unveiled. This was an early version of Windows 8 suitable for developers. Keep in mind that if you see content about Windows 8 development from before 29-Feb-2012, the author is most likely using the Developer Preview and not the Consumer Preview. You may encounter differences between these two builds.
Start with these “Big Picture” videos. You can pick and choose among other videos I list later, but I wouldn’t skip these four:
- Day 1 Keynote with Steven Sinofsky, Julie Larson-Green, Antoine Leblonde, Mike Angiulo, and Chris Jones.
- 8 Traits of Great Metro Style Apps with Jensen Harris
- Platform for Metro Style Apps with Aleš Holeček and John Sheehan
- Tools for Building Metro Style Apps with Chris Sells and Kieran Mockford
- Lap Around the Windows Runtime with Martyn Lovell
- Async Everywhere: Creating Responsive APIs and Apps with Ben Kuhn
- Share: Your App Powers the Windows 8 Share Experience with Billie Sue Chafins and Steve Seixeiro
- Search: Integrating into the Windows 8 Search Experience with Priya Vaidyanathan
- Integrating with the Windows Device Experience with Marc Pottier
- Using Tiles and Notifications with Kip Olson
- Designing Metro Style: Principles and Personality with Samuel Moreau
- Designing Metro Style Apps That Are Touch-Optimized with Jan-Kristian Markiewicz and Kay Hofmeester
- Create Metro Style Apps Quickly with Built-In Controls with Paul Gusmorino
- Windows Runtime Internals: Understanding “Hello World” with Matt Merry
- Metro Style Apps Using HTML5 From Start to Finish with Scott Dickens
- A Deep Dive into Expression Blend for Designing Metro Style Apps with HTML with Christian Schormann
- Build Polished Collection and List Apps in HTML5 with Ryan Demopoulos
- Build Data-Driven Collection and List Apps using ListView in HTML5 with James Clarke and Sam Spencer
- Bring Apps to Life with Metro Style Animations in HTML5 with Dale Rogerson and Jason Beaumont
- Building Beautiful and Interactive Apps with HTML5 and CSS3 with Ted Johnson
- The Web-to-Windows Journey: Turning your Web Assets into a Windows App with Rey Bango, Edgar Banguero, and Jerome Holman
- Code with Confidence: Dynamic Web Content in Metro Style Apps using HTML5 with John Hazen
- Make Great Metro Style Apps That Are Touch-Optimized Using HTML5 with Nick Waggoner and Reed Townsend
- Best Practices for Writing Safe and Secure Metro Style Apps using HTML5 with David Weston and Kamen Moutafov
- Building Windows Runtime Sockets Apps with Peter Smith and Dave Thaler
- Building Real-time Web Apps with HTML5 WebSockets with Ravi Rao
- Designing Metro Style Apps Using CSS3 with Christian Stockwell
- Debugging Your Metro Style Apps Using HTML with Erik Saltwell and Jeff Fisher
- Reaching More Customers with Accessible Metro Style Apps in HTML5 with Guy Barker
- Stand Out with Styling in Your HTML App with Chris Jones and Phil Cupp
- Building Great Networked Media Devices for "Play To" Apps with Edwin Heredia and Zane Salim
- Building High Performance Metro Style Apps Using HTML5 with Mathias Jourdain
- Building Offline Access in Metro Style Apps and Websites using HTML5 with Israel Hilerio
- Create Reusable Custom Metro Style Controls with Jeff Fisher
- Manual Testing of Windows Metro Style Apps Built Using HTML with Mathew Aniyan
- 50 Performance Tricks to Make Your Metro Style Apps and Sites Using HTML5 Faster with Jason Weber
- Reach a Worldwide Audience by Building a World-Ready App with Kipling Knox
- Building a Sample Metro Style Canvas Paint App Using HTML with David Owens
- Building Responsive Apps and Sites with HTML5 Web Workers with Travis Leithead
- Anatomy of HTML5 Sites and Metro Style Apps Using HTML5 with Tony Ross
- Programming SVG and Canvas Graphics in a Metro Style App Based on HTML5 with Patrick Dengler
- Reach Your Customers’ Devices with One Beautiful HTML5 User Interface with Markus Mielke and David Washington
- Progressively Enable the Mobile Web with ASP.NET MVC4, HTML5, and jQuery Mobile with Phil Haack
- Building Data-Driven HTML5 Apps with WCF RIA Services with Asad Khan and Dinesh Kulkarni
There are even more videos from Build, and it’s worth taking a look at other titles available. Just head over to http://www.buildwindows.com. Also, training companies such as Pluralsight have created Windows 8 content.
Lastly, and most importantly, add the Building Windows 8 blog to your feed reader. Steven Sinofsky and the Windows team post there. Consider it the final word on all things Windows 8.
If you have any questions, the best place to turn is http://forums.dev.windows.com. Microsoft employees make sure that all questions are answered there.