Windows Dev Center: New for Windows 8.1

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:

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.
  • Asynchronous programming: The Windows Library for JavaScript 2.0 Preview introduces the Scheduler, an object/namespace that consolidates all work queues into a single, universal queue. You can easily schedule tasks and assign priorities.
  • Controls: Try out the new controls for XAML with C# or C++, or for HTML with JavaScript. You can now add a date picker to your XAML, or built-navigation like a back button to your HTML.
  • 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.

Remember, these are only highlights. If you’re interested in multimedia, or networking, or you want to see what’s new for packaging your app, drop by the Windows Dev Center and read on.

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