The app market for Microsoft Windows 8.1 is growing… as per MetroStore Scanner there are now more than 150,000 apps available in the Windows app store, an incredibly good number in contrast to what they were a year ago. The reason for this rapid growth was primarily due to the reward system introduced by the Microsoft to lure developers to create and submit excellent apps to the Windows Store.
While far off from the incredible number of apps in Google Play Store and Apple App Store, 150,000 apps in the Windows Store means your app for Windows has an excellent chance of standing out on top. This is the perfect time to go for Windows app development. Besides, Windows app development is a lot easier than it seems, and you do not even need to know how to code!
Begin with Windows 8.1 App Development
If you are already a developer with in-depth knowledge of Microsoft technologies, then you can easily create a Windows app – no steep learning curve involved. Besides, you will probably have everything you need for development i.e. the coding tools.
To develop apps for Windows 8.1, you will need Visual Studio Express 2013, which is free and available to download from Microsoft’s website. Of course, you will certainly need Windows 8.1, as well.
If you are unfamiliar with these languages, free e-books are available from Microsoft Press, which will help you with Windows app development. A plenty of code samples are also available from Microsoft’s website that will help and make things easier.
How to Develop Windows App without Programming Skills
If coding is not your thing and you still want to develop a simple app for Windows 8.1, Windows App Studio is just for you. Windows App Studio allows you to build an entire app, even if you do not possess any coding skills. With this App Studio, you can create simple apps with static pages and with feeds from YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and any other compatible RSS feeds. Easy-to-follow tutorial is available to get you started with App Studio.
Coding Windows app is similar to the way one would code a program for the Windows desktop. The interface, however, is something new altogether. The latest Windows operating system uses Modern UI (User Interface), and it focuses primarily on touch screen devices.
Microsoft wants app developers to design for “touch-first.” App developers will need to focus more on graphical aspects and consider things, such as keeping adequate spacing between tabs in the app so that users can select it effortlessly with their finger, which is by the way larger than a mouse pointer.
The consequence of this “touch-first” design requirement is that you will require spending more time on the design, rather than on building the application.
Furthermore, when you are going to develop an app for Windows devices, you will also need to consider how the app will look on different devices with different screen orientations. In recent Microsoft BUILD conference, Microsoft announced the release of an update for Visual Studio 2013, which will permit developers to create universal Windows 8.1 apps that will run on PCs, Tablets, and Phones. Therefore, considering the aspect of screen orientation has become even more important now for the developers while developing Windows app.
Mastering Windows 8.1 Design
Mastering Windows 8.1 design may sound tough, but useful web pages and books are available now, which can help you get a firm grip on the Modern UI design. The Plan your Windows Store app pages on Microsoft MSDN are an excellent starting point. They will guide you through all the necessary things that you need to consider while designing your app.
Furthermore, the Design Guidelines for Windows Store app pages offer some UX (User Experience) guidance as well as information on things, such as:
- How to organize your app
- Where to place commands like copy and paste
- What commands will go in charms and what will go in app bar
- What touch gestures are available and which ones to use
- Where to place ads
Testing your App
After creating the right design and writing the proper code for your app, you will require testing your app before submitting it in the Windows Store. To help test your app, Microsoft offers Windows App Certification Kit, which analyzes your app code and evaluates the app for reliability, performance, and adherence to Windows Security features. The Kit also conducts a test to check if the app adapts to the Windows 8.1 Modern UI.
Submitting your App to the Windows Store
Once you are through with the testing, the next step is to submit your app to the Windows Store for approval. To do this, it is a compulsory that you have a Windows Store account. Unfortunately, for Windows Store account, you will have to pay a small approximate fee of $19 USD. The account validity is 1 year; hence, you will require renewing it every year if you wish to continue building and submitting apps to Windows Store. If you are a corporate, the fee is $99 USD per year. If you are a student or a start-up business, you can get a free Windows Store account through Microsoft DreamSpark and Microsoft BizSparka respectively.
Submitting your App
After you get the Windows Store account, it is time to submit your app for approval. This is the final stage. You will need to upload your app to the Windows Store where Microsoft will test and inspect it. Unfortunately, like most of the approval processes, there is no set timescale – it entirely depends upon how complicated your app is and how many apps are submitted. If, hope it does not happen, your app is rejected, you will need to review it again, fix the problem, and then resubmit it.
Cheers! You have your own Windows 8.1 App
Once your app gets approval, it will feature in the Windows Store. From here, your next journey begins. People will search and if they find your app useful, they will download it. If you have enabled advertisements in your app, you will earn some good revenue; else, you will at least earn a good name for yourself.