Windows 8 Camp

March 18, 2013 by Ben Galluzzo    .NET, Events, Windows 8 |    Comments (0)

This past Saturday, Microsoft hosted a Windows 8 Camp at Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) on the Harrisburg campus.  If you get the opportunity, take advantage of one of these free events offered by Microsoft.  They provide for a good way to keep abreast of newer technologies and connect with fellow developers.  Listed down below are links for you to keep tabs of some of the local development events. 

The Windows 8 Camps are a great learning experience.  Right now, if you haven't noticed, there's quite a change in how people stay connected and work with computer technologies.  Tablet sales are projected to surpass PC sales this year so how users interact with the software which developers build is changing considerably.  In some ways, end users of current technologies sometimes seem to be more in tune with these changes than even seasoned developers. 

The focus of this camp was right in line to help existing .NET developers get in sync with the new Windows paradigm shift.  Also, Microsoft kindly supplied breakfast munchies and a lunch.  Chris Gomez @SpaceShot and Microsoft MVP John Baird @jbaird_pa gave tag-team presentations and were both understanding of what it takes for an existing .NET developer to advance the new mindset and make the jump to Windows 8 app development.


Building Windows Store Apps Using HTML5/JavaScript

The first session overviewed Building Windows Store apps using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.  Chris opened up by keying in on some of main features of Windows 8 user interaction and what is essential in making good applications interoperable within a Windows 8 environment.  Basically this was to jump-start experienced developers with one of the more significant changes to the Microsoft development portfolio.

In order to understand what is to be accomplished, Chris presented a cursory review of the Windows 8 user experience and then did a code walkthrough of navigation, searching, controls, sharing, and async operations.  If there's one thing you can take away from this, it's Microsoft's recommendation that interacting with WinJS will simplify developing Windows 8 apps when using HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript .  WinJS is simply a JavaScript, CSS, and HTML library that helps build Windows 8 controls that are not necessarily implemented in HTML5.  However, you can still develop apps with HTML5/JavaScript without the use of WinJS. 

Building Windows store Apps with XAML/C#

Next John jumped into Building Windows Store apps with XAML and C#.  A good portion of the participants had already been developing in this realm, so this session was an easier jump to constructing Windows 8 apps.  If you've been building .NET applications in XAML for sometime, whether it's Silverlight or WPF, your learning curve to getting a Windows 8 app running is actually going to be fairly quick. 

Process Lifetime of Windows 8 Apps

The third session, Process lifetime of Windows 8 apps, was led by Chris.  Certainly, anyone who's been running Windows over the years knows that being mindful of your available resources is important in ensuring that things run smoothly, and actively keeping tabs of what's running and killing any unnecessary processes is a part of daily computing.  However,  the intention with Windows 8 is a bit different. To get you in the right frame of mind, think how you've been computing these days with your smart phone or tablet.  The perspective is that provisions for an always-on and available mentality is in place when interacting with Windows 8 apps.  Chris went on to describe throughout his walkthrough how apps go through the suspend and resume process and how to maintain consistent application state for a user friendly experience.

Introducing the Windows Store

Lastly, John went into an overview  of the Windows Store.  If you've used Google Play or the Mac App Store, you understand this concept.  The Windows Store is basically a distribution system which allows for developers to deliver their certified apps to consumers.  John went over a list of details in using the Windows Store and performed a walkthrough of signing up and registering your app on the Store. 

During this, he discussed details on:

        • Selling, price points, and getting paid
        • Advertising options
        • Beta options
        • Limited functionality and timed trials
        • Registration
        • Application Certification Kit (ACK)
        • Localization
        • Deploying apps for use in other countries
        • Updates and versioning

Wrapping Up

As with any other nice event there was a little bit of SWAG and closing with a bunch a nice prizes.  Again, keep tabs on your local events.  The most important thing you can do is to meet other developers and possibly form ongoing relationships in your field.  Right now, there's a dramatic change taking place in personal computing, and now's a great time to be part of that change.


Downloads, SDK’s, & Tools

Windows Store Apps Developer Downloads
includes the Windows 8 SDK, Blend for Visual Studio, Windows Application Certification Kit (ACK), practice labs, sample apps, and much more.  
The Microsoft Windows Store
Windows 8 Camp in a Box - Official Microsoft Download Center
Lesson slides, the hands-on-labs, samples, and related resources.
Windows 8 Hands-on Labs Online (HOLO)
Scheduled live online presentations and labs.  Experts are available in for real-time assistance through your lab work.  
Windows Store App Labs

Event Calendars


Windows Camps Events Channel 9
Community Megaphone
Microsoft World Wide Events

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