Posted October 5, 2011 by Spyros in Windows Programming

Which Programming Languages Will Be Useful for Windows 8?


No less than a month ago, Microsoft unveiled Windows 8 at the BUILD conference for developers. Described as a “reimagined” operating system (OS) which combines touch interface with traditional mouse and keyboard input, Windows 8 is designed to work across a broad range of devices, most notably the tablet slate (but also any combination of yet-to-be touch-screen laptops, desktop monitors, and possibly phones?).

Metro Development

One of the most notable changes to Windows 8 is the new Metro interface, which looks like a graduated, beefier version of Windows Phone 7. There has been much approval and even some praise over the Metro interface, which runs “Metro style” apps that are developed from a variety of languages:

  • C#, C++, or Visual Basic
    • XAML (user interface design)
  • Javascript
    • HTML5 and CSS3 (user interface design)

.Net Development

 As for developers trying to figure out how (and whether or not) to code for Windows 8, you are left with a few options. For those with loads of Silverlight experience and .NET Framework know-how, do not worry too much as versions of Windows 8 on x86 processors will run .NET Framework in the “desktop app” which you can access from Metro; so essentially, keep developing for Windows 7, and your programs will be fine on x86 versions of Windows 8. And of course developers who took the patience to understand Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) will have an easy time creating native Metro apps in XAML.

Where to Start?

With the large variety of programming language options at your disposal, I would begin wherever your strengths direct you. First of course, you will want to download the Windows Developer Preview of Windows 8. As for which device you want to develop Windows 8 “Metro style” apps on, obviously a touch-screen device would be ideal to take advantage of the touch interface. A keyboard dock would also be nice to have, considering you will have a good deal of typing to do. However, there are also many reports of Windows 8 running surprisingly smooth and intuitively on a standard laptop.

From here, I would just stick to Microsoft’s own guide to app-building for Windows 8. It covers every detail, from the basic questions of “what language do I want to build Metro apps in” to planning apps, developing apps, and even outlining different ways to monetize apps. And of course, Microsoft provides some sample apps when you install Windows 8, so you can always base your preliminary coding and interface around the samples, and then later tweak interface and design to fit your apps’ needs.

This is a guest post by Mariana Ashley, a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.