App Development for Windows 8

The launch of Windows 8 late last year was met with a lot of excitement in the mobile technology world. But some developers are still unsure of launching on the platform. 

Philip Wheat, manager of the Labs division at mobile application studio Chaotic Moon, has been in the computer and technology industry for over 20 years and has seen platforms come and go. Chaotic Moon’s work on Windows 8 runs the gamut from a “Board of Awesomeness” to a mobile app for Intel Software Adrenaline. [Disclosure: Intel is the sponsor of this content.] We recently asked Philip what mobile developers need to know about the Windows 8 platform.

Some mobile developers are taking a wait-and-see approach with Windows Phone 8. What prompted you to pursue the platform at this time?

Philip Wheat: Chaotic Moon is dedicated to being at the forefront of all mobile platforms. As Microsoft transitions from a "touch supported" focus in the Windows Vista/7 world to the "touch first" focus in Windows 8, we believe this is an indicator that the mobile movement is no longer confined to consumer devices, but the enterprise as well.  With that happening, we wanted to invest in the platform to show that mobile concepts are valid cross platform, but each platform has the ability to add to the experience by utilizing its native capabilities and features.

Are there any particular challenges in developing for Windows Phone 8, or any characteristics of the platform that make it easier to develop for?

P.W.: The biggest benefit to working with Windows 8 is the incredibly powerful developer tools and documentation that have been built up over the decades of the platform. The debugging and code analysis tools specifically enabled us to quickly track down protocol or coding errors and correct them accurately and completely.

That being said, the biggest challenge in developing for Windows 8 also comes from its strength. With the array of APIs and SDKs open to the developer, it is sometimes a task to determine which of the good approaches will end up being the best for the application as a whole.

Have you found any particular development tools useful for getting apps on Windows 8?

P.W.: Visual Studio 2012 was key in our development process. With its ability to tie into our cross-platform GIT source control, its ability to handle design, development, testing and deployment, and the extremely familiar coding environment, it is the most effective coding development environment we have.

How do you get the user experience right for your apps? Did you put the app through user testing of some kind?

P.W.: We closely followed the Windows 8 user experience guide to ensure that our application fit with the new Windows Modern UI theme. Additionally, we referred to the examples given by Microsoft and our own experience with publishing applications such as "The Daily" on other platforms to gain the best user experience possible for release.

Photo via

Sponsoring tomorrow starts today. Learn More>