Ever since the Windows Store first opened on February 29, 2012, it has excited app developers all over the world by being a fresh contender in the Android vs. iOS war regarding which mobile OS is the best. App developers looking for an alternative to these two have finally got one, and there are a few key things that they should know when it comes to making Windows apps.
1. Lots of Choices Regarding Programming Languages
Unlike iOS, which can only be programmed using Objective-C, and Android, which is only a little more generous with the number of programming languages available for it, apps for Windows can be written with a host of languages.
2. The Power of Microsoft Visual Studio
Developing for Windows 8 requires a couple of software tools from Microsoft. Fortunately, these tools are free for individual use by downloading the Express version.
Microsoft’s integrated development environment (IDE) Microsoft Visual Studio, used to develop the Metro apps, is recognized as being one of the best IDEs available.
Visual Studio supports all of the .net languages, which in itself is a great advantage. XCode, Apple’s IDE, can only support Objective-C, Java, C and C++.
3. The Sheer Amount of Resources Available Is Incredible
For a new developer who is completely unaccustomed to a new language or environment, resources are priceless. Although there are many good online resources available for free, books like Jeremy Keith’s “HTML5 for Web Designers”, “CSS3 for Web Designers” by Dan Cederholm and Herbert Schildt’s “C#: A Beginner’s Guide” are programming books which will help any new aspiring developer out.
4. Use Subtle Animations
One of the defining aspects of Windows 8 is how fluid the user interface is. Every transition between applications and between pages within an application occurs with a subtle animation. Rather than an immediate pop-up on the screen, elements enter and exit with consistent animations across the screen. These animations can be added to your application easily by accessing the Animation Library.
A developer can review the guidelines and choose the animations that are appropriate for their design. They can then tweak the timings and also define custom animations if there is no preconfigured animation that meets the developer needs.
5. Design a Good ‘Tile’
The new Windows OS design is based on “Tiles.” These Tiles are customizable and contain information about everything from local weather to social media alerts to text messages. Although not quite as advanced as the widget system used in Android, these tiles do update in real time and provide helpful, at-a-glance information.
These real-time update will help to keep the application feeling alive even when the user is not using it and will encourage users to return to the app.