Windows 8 – make awesome apps

Steve Ballmer announced at CES 2012 that there are 500 million users of Windows 7 and that we're licensing about seven new copies a second. He also confirmed that every Windows 7 PC will be ready for Windows 8 on day one and that the developer preview version of Windows 8 has been downloaded more than three million times since it was first released at the //build/ conference in September 2011.

Last week it was confirmed that New Zealand developers will be able to register for the Windows Store and get paid for their Metro style apps at the general availability of Windows 8.

Antoine Leblon (Corporate Vice President, Windows Web Services) confirmed that “We're going to open the store to customers when we release the beta of Windows 8, and that's going to be in late Feb of 2012.”

With all this information now is definitely the time to start thinking about building for Windows 8.

How to get started:

  1. Watch Jensen Harris’ brilliant presentation on the 8 traits of great Metro style apps
  2. Download the Windows 8 Developer Preview
  3. Try a Hands On Lab

If you come from a web or iOS background I recommend that your next step is to try out, check out the developer candy behind the scenes and tune into the great discussion on HTML5 Audio at Nerd+Art.

This part of the developer candy made me smile:

At BUILD in September, Microsoft showed a developer preview of Windows 8. With this announcement, the HTML5 story got more interesting because Metro style applications can be created using a variety of developer toolsets, including HTML5. This means that web developers can take code that was written for the web and easily and seamlessly port it to Windows 8. The investment in immersive experiences online now can pay off in real profits later with the Windows Store.

In fact, with very little extra work, we were able to port this HTML5 experience to a Windows 8 Metro style app. Read about Cut the Rope and its integration with the Windows Store in this blog post.

For existing Windows Phone 7, .NET and C++ developers the story for creating Metro style apps is great as well. ESRI (who responded quickly to the recent earthquakes in Christchurch) has built a XAML and C# Metro style enterprise app that was demonstrated during the recent Windows Store preview event in San Francisco.

The key for Metro style apps is a great user experience. This can be achieved by following the User Experience Guidelines for Metro style app development. Even if you are not a designer yourself you can learn a lot from understanding the metro design language.

In addition to the UX guidelines the Windows 8 Developer Preview Guide is also a valuable resource.

I know that a number of New Zealand developers have already started building for Windows 8 and I was encouraged to see that 12 NZ developers flew to LA last September to attend the //build/ conference in person. Ben Gracewood (a Solution Architect in Intergen's Auckland office) was one of the kiwi developers that travelled to //build/. He has written an article about the event and his unequivocally positive opinion of Windows 8.

Please let us know in the comments of this blog or via twitter what you’re working on in regards to Metro style apps.

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