It’s taken me a little while to start to catch up but I wanted to begin adding a few posts about new features and changes to existing functionality coming with Windows 8.1 for the Windows Store app developer.
For me, there are perhaps three main things that are changing here and it’s worth saying that all of these are currently marked “preview” so you might want to put them into a virtualised environment or onto a machine where you’re comfy installing preview software (although some of these bits do have “go-live” licenses).
The first thing that’s changing, of course, is Windows itself with the 8.1 Preview having been available for quite a few weeks now and heading towards RTM (although there’s no date for that available yet as far as I know – you’ll have to keep watching the main news feeds and the Windows Blog to get the latest on that).
You can grab the Preview from the web and there’s a really good guide document that I’d strongly recommend having a look through while you’re perhaps installing the preview;
and I’d also recommend this break down of new APIs from MSDN;
If you’re a .NET person then when you’re installing Windows 8.1 Preview you’d be interested to know that you’re also installing .NET Framework V4.5.1 Preview at the same time – the two ship together and you can find a good write up of what’s new in .NET 4.5.1 over on the BCL blog site;
To sit on top of that, naturally, you’d want a copy of Visual Studio and Visual Studio 2013 Preview is the right thing to grab if you’re looking to start build Windows Store apps for 8.1 or upgrading existing 8.0 Store apps (note – the Windows Store is not yet accepting 8.1 apps so while you can experiment you can’t actually publish just yet).
For Visual Studio, you can grab a version of that from here. There’s an accompanying blog post from around the time of BUILD 2013 on the Visual Studio blog;
but perhaps better for me is the blog post that went out on Soma’s blog;
which breaks things down by functional area and that’s supplemented by a lot of the other recent posts on the Visual Studio blog and the ALM/TFS blog which relate to 2013;
I’d also highlight the MSDN page which talks about the new features of Visual Studio from the point of view of a Windows Store app developer – it’s a pretty long list though;
To go alongside that reading material, there’s also a lot of video material up on Channel 9. Some of this comes from BUILD and some of it comes from other Channel 9 areas.
In terms of BUILD sessions, I’ve watched a lot of them over the past weeks and I looked at the list that I’d watched and picked out a few – not that this is definitive but these are ones that I got value from;
- What's New in .NET Development
- What's New in XAML
- What's New in WinJS
- What's New in Windows Runtime for Windows 8.1
- What’s New in the Visual Studio 2013 IDE
- What's New in Visual Studio & Blend for XAML Developers
- What's New in Blend for HTML Developers
- XAML Performance Fundamentals
- Async'ing Your Way to a Successful App with .NET
- Building a UI- What Does it Cost-
- Windows Runtime Internals- Understanding the Threading Model
- Windows Store Overview for Windows 8.1- New Design, New Promotion and Monetization Opportunities
- Monetization Opportunities for Windows Store Apps in Windows 8.1
- Design and Build a Great Search Experience in Your App
- Building Apps that Work Together
- Beautiful Apps at Any Size on Any Screen
- WebView- Bringing the Web to Your App
- Building Apps That Integrate with People and Events
- Rendering PDF Content in Windows Store Apps
- Validating Windows Store Purchases for Your App
- Five Great Reasons to Use the New HttpClient API to Connect to Web Services
But there are many more BUILD sessions that would need to be added to that list depending on what you’re planning on building – e.g. new features around geofencing or new ways of setting up background tasks and lots more examples.
What I’ll be trying to do in coming weeks is to write up short pieces around some of these features in both the frameworks and the tooling perhaps primarily from the point of view of the .NET/XAML developer but also including some JS and C++ pieces where I can. One of the challenges with talking about Windows Store app development is that with 3 primary ways of building them (and a number of other secondary ways too) it can be a time consuming process to talk about features if you have to talk about them 3 times in the light of .NET, C++ and JS – everything multiplies up quite quickly