Hi. John Osborne here. I work on content for the Windows Dev Center.
Windows 8.1 Preview is here! And it’s got lots of new tools and features for developers that I’d like to share with you. I’ll only touch on some of the highlights – for the full picture, you can visit our Feature Guide at the Windows Dev Center. There you’ll find a complete list of the new APIs, with links to new guidelines and technologies.
First, you’ll want to try the free downloads:
- Download Windows 8.1: get the Preview version of Windows 8.1
- Download the Windows 8.1 samples pack: new code samples help you get familiar with the Windows 8.1 APIs
- Download Visual Studio Express 2013 Preview for Windows: debug your asynchronous code, and try out the new features for XAML design and web apps
- Get the standalone Windows 8.1 SDK: get headers, libraries, and tools, including the Windows App Certification Kit
- For more downloads, check out our Windows 8.1 Preview page
Then, explore the new features. Here are some highlights:
- UX/UI: You’ll find some customer-facing features that have a big impact: resizable app windows, with an option to have multiple windows open at once. There’s also a new API for speech synthesis, and updates to search, share, and app access to people and events.
- DirectX: DirectX 11.2 improves performance in your games and graphics apps. You can render DirectX graphics content in an app that uses XAML, with better performance and lower latency than in Windows 8. The HLSL compiler is now inbox on Windows 8.1 Preview and later – precompile your HLSL functions, package them into libraries, and link them into full shaders at run-time.
- Security: Authenticate and manage users with fingerprints or smart cards. Use signatures, certificates, and stored credentials in new ways. Manage accounts through the Settings charm. For enterprises, use selective wipe to delete files by command from a server.
And, to go beyond app development with Windows 8.1:
- Internet Explorer 11: IE 11 is optimized for touch, and has new tools for devs.
- Hardware: If you develop drivers, you’ll want to revisit UMDF – you can now use C++ without COM. And you’ll find it easier to load a driver into user mode, which improves system stability without hurting performance.
- Windows Store: When it’s time to publish, you’ll find many changes at the Windows Store. You now get automatic app updates to ensure that a large majority of your user base get the latest version and best experience for their app. There’s also support for large in-app purchase catalogs.