Build applications for Windows 8

Yesterday morning Microsoft launched Windows 8 at the BUILD-conference in Anaheim. Windows 8 has a completely new tile- and touch-based UI with the Metro-Style we already know from Windows Phone 7.

For us as Developers the big question was how to develop applications for Windows 8. Microsoft already said something about HTML5 and JavaScript in another preview-video that appeared on youtube before. Yesterday they mentioned more about that topic. First of all:

All applications built for Windows 7 will still run on Windows 8.

Ok, know let’s look at the platform and the tools we’re using today with Windows.


Today we’ve classical Applications running on the Desktop built with .NET, Silverlight or just a Win32-App. There are also Web-Applications built with HTML and Javascript running in Internet Explorer or another browser.

The problem Microsoft mentioned here is that these three things don’t work together very well. Therefore Microsoft reimagined the Windows-8-platform. You can use any language you wan’t to build the metro-style applications like the picture below shows.


As you can see in the picture above, Microsoft has also reimagined the Windows APIs. They know are calling the Windows APIs the Windows Runtime APIs, or short, the WinRT APIs. WinRT provides over 1800 objects for us developers to use. These 1800 objects are in four blocks:

  • Application Model
  • Communication & Data
  • Graphics & Media
  • Devices & Printing

It’s important to mention that all these blocks are natively built into Windows. It’s not a layer on top of windows, it is windows. The APIs are reflected in C/C++, C# and VB and also in Javascript. So you can use any language you want. Use C/C++/C# or VB and built your view in XAML, or use JavaScript and build your view in HTML/CSS

There’s Version 11 of Visual Studio that let’s you create the same Metro-style applications in the different languages.


Expression Blend 5 will beside XAML also support HTML. So there’s a great tooling for all view-languages.

Applications can be published in an App Store called the Windows Store. Same principle as Apple has with their App Store in Mac OS X Lion. Visual Studio 2011 therefore contains a new store-menu where you can upload a package directly from visual studio.

Go and grab a Windows 8 Preview with all the tools installed to get started developing Windows 8 apps here:

Ok, the big question after knowing all of that is what happens to .NET, Silverlight, WPF in Windows 8? XAML stays, but Silverlight and WPF are just on the side, aren’t they? Let’s download the preview and discuss.

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Comments (2)

  • Frank Quednau Reply

    Hope we can clarify some of tat on the “ask the experts” session tomorrow

    September 15, 2011 at 7:32 am
    • Thomas Claudius Huber Reply

      Yes, I hope so too. I’ll install Windows 8 tonight on a second hard disk on my W520, so we can check it out tomorrow in the breaks. :-)

      Unfortunately i’ve no touch-screen. But let’s dive into the apis

      September 15, 2011 at 8:44 am

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