Build a Windows 8 app with an iPad or Android device. No, I am not kidding!

touchdevelop Microsoft Research has developed an app called TouchDevelop that lets you build Windows 8 apps by touch. You can run the app from an iPhone, iPad, Android, PC, Mac, or Windows Phone.

Touchdevelop is a project by Microsoft Research that allows you to build an app with touch. You write scripts by tapping on the screen. Scripts can perform various tasks similar to regular apps. Any TouchDevelop user can install, run, edit, and publish scripts. You can share your scripts with other people by publishing them to the TouchDevelop script bazaar, or by submitting them as an app to the Windows Store or Windows Phone Store. It takes a little while to learn how to navigate the application, but once you get going, you can build some pretty fun little apps in very little time.

Got a Windows Phone?

Download the touchdevelop app from the Windows Phone store. Visit the Learn tab to find instructional videos and documentation. A good starting point is the video tinter. This video gives you step by step instructions on how to create a phone app that will display a random picture from your phone when you shake the phone. The person doing the videos does have a tendency to go a bit fast, so be prepared to rewind to figure out what buttons she pressed! But, I was able to follow along, and now have a neat little app that randomly displays a picture on my phone when I shake it, the app took me about 60 seconds to build :)

Got an iPad, iPhone, Android, or Mac?

Use the touchdevelop web app. When you first visit the site you find tutorials that explain how to use the web application to build an app.

Yes this builds REAL apps you can publish to the store

This is a fun little application to explore, but what’s really cool is the fact that after you’ve played with it for a while and you build something cool, not only can you share it with other touchdevelop developers you can actually use the app to help you publish it to the Windows 8 or Windows Phone Store! Just follow the detailed instructions on how to publish.

Here’s a little peek at how to create a Magic 8 ball app to whet your appetite. Now what are you waiting for, go play!