Summary: Some developers already have begun building Metro-style apps for Windows 8. Here’s what they’re experiencing so far.
Even though Microsoft released the Developer Preview of Windows 8 back in September 2011, I haven’t found many coders already building apps for the coming platform.
But there are some out there. And a number of them participated in Microsoft’s First Apps contest, announced back in December. The contest is designed to boost the number of Metro-style apps that will be available in the Windows 8 app store, an early version of which will be “turned on” in February when the Windows 8 beta is released. (Microsoft also is using its annual Imagine Cup student contest to encourage more Windows 8 app development.)
As Microsoft announced last year, those First Apps contestants who made it into the second round of the competition are getting a special “confidential” build of Windows 8 to allow them to fine-tune their apps. The contestants who have received this build are under nondisclosure agreements preventing them from sharing more about it.
I solicited feedback from a few of those who built Windows 8 Metro-style apps for the contest. I asked them all the same few questions and decided to leave this in interview form since they had so many good details to share about what’s working and what isn’t, at this point. A few common themes emerged: More documentation is badly needed. Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) developers may have an adjustment curve — and may find themselves missing some of the good old features they’ve come to know and love. And WinRT, the new Windows runtime at the heart of Windows 8, is a mixed bag for those who’ve cut their teeth in the Win32/.Net worlds.