How to: Build a Windows 8 App

Build a Windows 8 App using free tools provided by Microsoft

Microsoft appears to be taking a different route than Apple when it comes to creating and selling apps.  When Apple’s app store first opened, I (and probably you) spent hours going through apps, looking at the free ones, the ones that were replacements for websites/tools I already used, games for myself, apps to occupy my daughter…. well, just about everything.  And while, at first, it seemed like most of these apps were made by big companies, I slowly discovered there were a lot of independent publishers out there.  You probably know a few – the friend of a friend who made an app, naively hoping to strike it rich.  For me, it was my cousin Andy, who released a few apps under Smooth Landon, while other creations of his were rejected.  My personal favorite was probably a bobble-head Obama, which Apple rejected for being a negative caricature of a politician, or some other ridiculous crap.  But I digress…. while Apple’s apps reach millions of users, the Metro / Modern UI apps for Windows 8 will hit a much, much larger audience.  And Microsoft wants to teach you how to build a Windows 8 app – for free.

Yes, free.  Microsoft has released everything you need to make your own Metro / Modern UI style app for Windows 8.  All of the tools, and even the developer’s license, are available for free.  Keep reading to find out how and where to get them.

In order to get a developer’s license, and be “allowed” to create Metro apps and sell them (or give them away, if you’d like) in the Windows 8 store, click here. The licenses are for a single computer and for a limited amount of time.  You can get as many licenses as you need, and you don’t need to have a store account.  However, if you are planning on selling your apps, you’ll need a store account for that.

Build a Windows 8 app - all that nerdy stuffYou can develop an app for the Metro / Modern UI style using JavaScript and HTML, C# or Visual Basic and XAML, C + + and XAML, and/or C + + and DirectX.  Microsoft is providing free tools for each of these languages.  Each set of tools also includes a free, step-by-step tutorial, teaching you how to build a Windows 8 app on your own.  The tutorials are pretty each to follow, and go from creating something very simple, to explaining the basics between various Windows 8 user settings, to game development.

Microsoft also included app samples, also downloadable for free.  These are great if you need an extra bit of help seeing how something works, or figuring out how to convert apps you’ve already built for another platform (yes, Apple, fine) to Metro ones.

So go, convert apps that you have built, create new ones, and (naively) hope to strike it rich with Windows 8 apps!

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