Windows 8 third party app developers speak out

Windows 8 may launch a public beta version sometime in late February but the final launch of Microsoft's next PC operating system won't happen for at least several months. However a number of third party developers are already making apps that will work on Windows 8. ZDNet.com has now posted brief interviews with a number of these app creators.

These developers are making apps using a special pre-beta version of Windows 8 that Microsoft has given them as a kind of reward for making it to the second round of the First Apps Contest. Eight apps will be selected in the final round to be available in the Windows Store feature of Windows 8 when the beta versions launches.

One of the finalists in the app contest is PuzzleTouch, developed by Tim Greenfield. The puzzle game was previously released as a Silverlight based browser game and as a Windows Phone app. He states:

It has extremely realistic puzzle pieces, supports multi-touch, and lets users play dozens of diverse jigsaw puzzles of different difficulties. It also allows the user to create their own puzzles from existing photos or camera.

As far as porting the game to Windows 8, Greenfield said:

The tooling and platform available today is a developer preview version that I’m guessing was created long before it was made available last September. Needless to say, there are many of bugs in the platform and my app required a lot of hacks to make it work. Overall, the app took me approximately 2 solid weeks to port and I spent about a third of that time hunting down obscure problems that do not exist in Silverlight for the web or phone. That said, I fully expect the platform and tools to improve dramatically with the next release.

Another Windows 8 app developer that was interviewed was Patrick Godwin who created an untitled HTML5/Javascript art-based app. When asked about his experience with making apps based on Windows 8 he states:

My initial impression of the tools was quite positive. It’s a great time to get involved with WinRT, as the platform is still in its infancy, and will need a lot of developer support to build even more robust tools. I’d like to see some more buzz within the .NET/Windows Developer community about the new tools, as I think that will be the best way to bring people to the platform. It’s part of the reason WP7 was able to get 50,000 apps in a little over a year. So I ask developers to get involved, write blog posts, go to user groups. Get excited about WinRT.

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11 Comments

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KingCrimson said,
Where are Netflix, Hulu, Youtube on developing Metro versions of their apps?

I think that is what browser for, no??

losever4 said,

I think that is what browser for, no??

But an app is inevitable for popular services where you get a more tailored experience to that platform and it's capabilities vs a browser. That said, still nice to have the browser option.

The excitement I have is about WinRT and the role it'll play in the lower level parts of Windows desktop applications given that WinRT is specifically optimised to minimise power usage and provide a really smooth experience (in regards to the interface).

IMHO Windows 8 will be one step along a long road towards unifying Windows Phone 7 and Windows NT which will hopefully result in a corresponding replacement for Win32 that'll address both desktop and metro applications.

Mr Nom Nom's said,
The excitement I have is about WinRT and the role it'll play in the lower level parts of Windows desktop applications given that WinRT is specifically optimised to minimise power usage and provide a really smooth experience (in regards to the interface).

And my biggest worry about that - (especially when the Android fanboys decide to start harping on about it), is that because they're so keen to save battery life, these WinRT apps can't run in the background. Sure, they can get push notifications, but there's not much more than that. I haven't looked into it too deeply yet, but my impression so far is that it is even more limited multitasking than Windows Phone. Fine for a tablet I suppose, though not necessary on a desktop - and yet still not an option.


No doubt there'll probably be some registry switch somewhere that enables it or some other hack down the line, but of course as developers we couldn't really design for that scenario...

~Johnny said,
I haven't looked into it too deeply yet, but my impression so far is that it is even more limited multitasking than Windows Phone.

It's roughly equivalent to what's in Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). You can transfer/download files and data in the background, play audio, or there's a more general capability to run background tasks periodically or under certain conditions, which can be arbitrary (sandboxed) code but are restricted in how much CPU time they can use (to a maximum of 2 seconds every 15 minutes). There's a white paper with more details here: http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=27411

'd like to see some more buzz within the .NET/Windows Developer community about the new tools

Sure, when they actually put out a version of Expression Blend that works with .NET (XAML & C#), and not that daft version of HTML & JS Blend they have now. Then I'll give some buzz...

Although, I am quietly happy that the general WPF / Silverlight / XAML is finally going to get some very big developer exposure in WinRT, considering I'm sure most Windows developers are far more comfortable creating apps with a proper programming language rather than javascript >.< It has it's problems (mainly in RAM usage and initial drawing costs), but it's a damn awesome framework, especially for interactivity, media and animation.

~Johnny said,

Sure, when they actually put out a version of Expression Blend that works with .NET (XAML & C#), and not that daft version of HTML & JS Blend they have now. Then I'll give some buzz...

Although, I am quietly happy that the general WPF / Silverlight / XAML is finally going to get some very big developer exposure in WinRT, considering I'm sure most Windows developers are far more comfortable creating apps with a proper programming language rather than javascript >.< It has it's problems (mainly in RAM usage and initial drawing costs), but it's a damn awesome framework, especially for interactivity, media and animation.

Expression Blend does work with .NET(XAML and C#), what are you talking about?

~Johnny said,

Sure, when they actually put out a version of Expression Blend that works with .NET (XAML & C#), and not that daft version of HTML & JS Blend they have now. Then I'll give some buzz...

Although, I am quietly happy that the general WPF / Silverlight / XAML is finally going to get some very big developer exposure in WinRT, considering I'm sure most Windows developers are far more comfortable creating apps with a proper programming language rather than javascript >.< It has it's problems (mainly in RAM usage and initial drawing costs), but it's a damn awesome framework, especially for interactivity, media and animation.


You mean the original version? lol The original non-preview version was made for XAML and C#.

KingCrimson said,

Expression Blend does work with .NET(XAML and C#), what are you talking about?

I'm talking about for Windows 8 development! Considering, this article is about Windows 8 Developers, and my quote was explictly referring to excitement about the new tools... The current version of Blend for WinRT only works with HTML & JS.

Sounds good so far but I'm sure Microsoft will continue to improve the experience for developers and work out the bugs. Their future depends on getting quality programs out the door on day one.