Starting Windows 8 development – What do I need?

There is not much you need to start developing windows 8 solutions.
Especially if you compare it with (for example) SharePoint development.

First of all you need to start with the latest windows 8 OS. You can download the free RTM version from here:

The installation is very straightforward, but if you are interested there is a full step by step guide available at

The next item you need is Visual Studio 2012.
If you don’t have the possibility to install the Ultimate version, download the free Express version from here:
Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8

Then close your eyes and say to yourself:  My app will be the best app to ….
Once you completed this sentence, write it down on a post-it and stick it on your screen. This sentence will be the answer to a lot of questions you’ll have later.

Don’t start immediatly with a production version of your app, in my opinion it is better to learn upfront what is possible and how it works and based upon this knowledge… I design my production app.

First choice you’ll have to make is the following decision:

To XAML & C# or Html & JavaScript?

The french have a very nice proverb for this: “Les goûts et les couleurs ne se discutent pas”.
A good example why this is so accurate for this question, can be found here (including the comments):

I’ve been working with both now and for me personally, I much more prefer the Html & JavaScript way than the XAML approach. The reason for this because for the past seven years I’ve been working with HTML & JavaScript and also because I simply love it.

But would this mean that I’m ignoring the C# and XAML approach?NO! If I want to understand something, I need to look at the problem with different eyes.  Maybe not different eyes, because that would have a huge impact on my personal health. In order to truly provide the best solution you need to know your options and their pro’s and con’s.

Ofcourse I like the HTML approach, because it is easy to me… this only means that I’ll need to put more effort in XAML skills!

For me it’s not a matter of chosing sides, I lose if I don’t master both options.
PS: Please don’t start about C++ 😉

New Project…

  • XAML templates are available under Visual C# > Windows Store
  • JS templates are available under Other Languages > Javascript > Windows Store

Offcourse I took the XAML template 😉


That was the first thing I wanted to do, changing the empty splashscreen and the tiles. The Package.appxmanifest is the place where the configuration is done:

  • Display name
  • logo’s
  • splashscreen
  • The images you can use are in the Assets directory

I recommend Paint.Net to help you resizing images into the correct resolutions.

I hope this gets you started


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