During a Windows 8 workshop in Amsterdam at the TechEd EMEA 2012, Microsoft provided a series of details on the new opportunities that the next-gen platform has to offer to developers.
Apps built based on the Metro style principles can take advantage of the same features and capabilities that Microsoft's own applications included in Windows 8 Release Preview have to offer.
The main idea behind this, Microsoft says, is for developers to benefit from a great experience while designing applications for the platform, while also being capable of delivering delightful apps for users.
Metro apps need not only look good, but they also have to deliver full functionality to users, and the Metro UI
allows them to do that, Microsoft says.
Additionally, devs can tap into unprecedented revenue opportunities by having their applications distributed through the Windows Store.
But this is only one aspect that designing apps for Windows 8 involves. The other is related specifically to the tools that devs can take advantage of when building apps, which include easy access to necessary code, as well as powerful analytics features for them to review their applications.
Visual Studio is the one tool that can enable app builders to easily come up with software for their users, while also being able to migrate their apps from other platforms to the new OS. Windows 8
comes with built-in animations, as well as with a sandbox for applications to run, which means that developers will have less work to do when designing applications.
There are also native runtime APIs that they can tap into, for access to graphics and media, communication and data, or devices and printing (in fact, all devices that work with Windows 7 today will work with Windows 8 tomorrow, Microsoft says).
Moreover, they can access more resources on building for Windows 8 online, through Microsoft's own portal, which includes downloadable content, such as tools, the Release Preview of the platform, and samples on how to code using these languages.
Over 500 samples are available there, in an attempt to make app development a breeze. Furthermore, adding features and capabilities to an application has been significantly simplified, so that one can come up with an application for the OS without having to write too much code.
The code is already there for developers to use, says Microsoft. A simulator to facilitate the testing of such apps was included as well, with support for different screen size views, and with support for rotation.
Visual Studio also enables builders to create app packages to have them submitted to the Windows Store, while the simulator allows them to take the screenshots needed for approval.
To submit apps, developers need to sign in to their accounts on Microsoft's portal, where they can also run their software through the certification process, to see whether it meets all the requirements.
If it doesn't, the portal will offer info on the issue, and it will also provide links to resources to help builders sort things out. Changing aspects of the app can be done in real time, while the software is running.
Through enabling support for modifications on the fly, Microsoft is ensuring that developers save time and money.
The company also made it easier for developers to bring graphical changes to their applications
through editing them in Expression Blend. They can perform these modifications visually, without having to write code for them.
Apps can also be designed for easy interaction with other apps or with the OS, through setting contracts such as Share and Search, all with only a few lines of code, which are already available in Visual Studio.
The manner in which Windows 8 handles applications was also changed, so that one application would not interfere with other software that was already installed on the computer.