Windows 8 prospects for Android developers

If you are an Android developer, it might be interesting to see how targeting Windows 8 is quite different.

If you are an Android developer, it might be interesting to see how targeting Windows 8 is quite different. For example, there is only one choice for the development environment: you simply must have Windows 8. To write an app you’ll need Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8, which is a free download. VS Express allows you to target both Windows Store apps and traditional Windows desktop software. If you want to sell your app through the Windows Store then you’ll also need to register as a publisher and pay an annual subscription (mobile developers are all used to that part, at least).

Consider the basic Android platform from a developer perspective (diagram below).

There is a useful parallel with the Windows 8 platform architecture for Windows Store app development. Those WinRT APIs are exclusive to the Windows Store apps, and not available to normal desktop apps. You can use these APIs for communications and data, graphics and media and talking to devices.

From a UI perspective, Windows Store apps on Windows 8 offer familiar concepts for Android developers. XAML (eXtended Application Markup Language) is an XML-based way of defining a UI, de-coupled from the main code of the app. Together with data binding and MVVM, XAML gives you the tools to build and test well-structured apps.

Depending on your own team’s development history, Windows 8 may have some alternatives to the traditional C# coding: Windows Store apps built using JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3 are very realistic and attractive options – and should still give you responsiveness and performance. And of course you could dust off your C++ and VB.NET skills, if you prefer.

Regardless of your development language choice, you will need to submit your app to the Windows Store and abide by the certification requirements. The Windows App Certification Kit will help you avoid wasted time and rejected submissions by catching failures before you submit.