From windows to tiles: Towards the development of Windows Store applications

Philip Schäfer
October 30th, 2012

Launching their new operating system Windows 8, Microsoft establishes an entire set of novel technologies and concepts. The familiar desktop will be supplemented with an additional Start screen in “Modern UI” style (formerly known as “Metro UI” style); in addition to that, Microsoft introduces a new application type called “Windows Store App” (also referred to as Windows RT application or Modern UI application). Especially this new application type is the subject of controversial discussions in the community and thus requires to be focused on in particular.

On the one hand, there had been a certain enthusiasm concerning new controls, on the other hand there had also been a number of reports about shortcomings in comparison to Windows 7 WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation). Undoubtedly, however, the variety of applicable target platforms ranging from PCs to mobile devices such as tablets (i.e. Microsoft Surface which has been released just recently) and phones (at least to a certain extent) strongly contributes to the new operating system´s attractiveness.

From a developer´s point of view, Windows RT raises a number of questions:

  • Which new features will be offered and how do they work?
  • How does Windows RT differ from Silverlight or WPF?
  • Which concepts and technologies will still be supported?
  • How smooth can one port existing WPF-/ Silverlight-based applications to Windows RT?
  • How comfortably can one actually mix XAML and C# with technologies like HTML or JavaScript?

Obviously, there are numerous exciting questions that require appropriate answers. Being a UI-focused company with strong expertise in the area of WPF and Silverlight, Centigrade GmbH is currently thoroughly concerned with the development of Windows Store applications. In fact, Centigrade is an official vendor of Microsoft Germany, supporting companies new to Windows RT with respective consulting services.

For this reason, we are intensely investigating the domain of Windows RT and hence want to share our knowledge and experiences with the community. Thus, we are going to publish several blog posts in the upcoming weeks both discussing Windows 8/ Windows RT related issues and providing hands-on tutorials.

We assume that our audience has already gained a basic knowledge concerning WPF or Silverlight development we may build on. This blog series is not targeting the HTML and JavaScript guys – we are focusing exclusively on XAML and C# as we strive to create well-structured, well-maintainable and well-extendable user interface architectures which we don´t believe can be realized with pure Web-technologies.

We hope you enjoy our blog. Certainly, we are always eager to receive your feedback so please don´t hesitate to leave a comment – discussions are much appreciated.

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