Windows Store App Development - Lessions Learned

Claudia Oster from TechTalk invited to a talk about two real world Windwows Store App projects they have done with customers:

  • KiloCoach is an app that helps you reducing weight (a web version is already existing). This app is available in the store for free.
  • Profos which is for the private banking sector to support communication with customers (show them their portfolio, relevant documents etc). This app is not in the Windows Store and installed via Side Loading (since it has to be integrated with the bank's backend).

At the beginning of the talk, both apps were shown and their main features were explained, then the UI concepts that were applied in both cases were presented (there were finalized screens for the Profos app from an iOS prototype existing already). Last - but most intersting for me - was the development and deployment part where real world experiences were shared for both apps.

Key takeaways have been:

  • plan for some time to create an account (individual developer account or company account), create special Live accounts just for this and for verification
  • chose a 3rd party UI library but expect less features than in their WPF or even Winforms implementation (for both projects DevExpress was chosen based on an evaluation in January)
  • both apps need a local DB - SQLite DB was chosen for this task
  • the first initial release in the Windows Store took 3 days, new updates take less than one day
  • use the Windows App Cert Kit before you submit your bits (Microsoft uses this also then evaluating your submission)
  • if you plan to side load your app: beware of a lot of technical requirements (device needs to be domain joined and Side Loading Keys can only be bought in packages of 100 with $30 each - this might be way too much for you …)
  • test your bits on real hardware - only there you see real quirks! use Remote Debugging for WinRT for doing this - its easy and fast
  • plan for some time to wrap your head around “content before chrome” as described in the Windows 8 Product Guide for Developers - in many cases this is very tricky to get right!

    Example
    : how to show a hierarchy (for which you usually use a tree in Windows desktop apps). Best way they found: similar to the Finder on OSX. screenshot 

In the finder of OSX you navigate from one column to another through the hierarchy. There is no such thing as a tree-control here.

In the finder of OSX you navigate from one column to another through the hierarchy. There is no such thing as a tree-control here.

In general: dont follow the Microsoft guidelines too strict - even Microsoft needs time to find out how specific requirements can be best implemented with their new modern UI ;)

Posted on June 7, 2013 and filed under development, Windows Store Apps.