Windows 8 and the future of XAML: Part 1: An overview of the Windows 8 platform

by Gill Cleeren

Introduction to the series

Welcome to this first part of a whole series on Windows 8 articles, which I’ll be writing over the coming weeks and months. It’s my goal in this series to introduce you to what we know at this point about Windows 8 and how we as (XAML) developers will need to adapt to the new platform.

Since you’re probably a XAML developer like I am, we are going to see things from a XAML point-of-view. In some of the upcoming articles, I’m going to describe you how you can leverage what you already know in XAML when Windows 8 will be ready. I’m also going to spend time looking at how you can convert existing Silverlight applications to Windows 8 Metro apps, so that they follow the rules of the OS. We will also be spending time of course on digging into the developer framework making the development on Windows 8 easy: Windows Runtime or shorter, WinRT. Finally, the series will close with a step-by-step guide on building a complete Windows 8 Metro-style application.

Now in this first part, we’ll focus on Windows 8 itself and the relation to Metro-style apps. We won’t be focusing on the development part yet; I just want to make sure that everyone is on board with the new OS itself as well as being able to place the terms Metro, Metro apps, WinRT etc.

I hope you join me on this trip through the Windows platform of the future.

Small note: in this articles, I try to refer to specific versions as little as possible, since I want the information to stay valid as much as humanly possible when Windows 8 will RTM. Therefore, you won’t find download links in these articles. Doing a small search will get you the downloads you need!

Part 1: An overview of the Windows 8 platform

To be honest, I’m writing this very article in the morning of January 1st, 2012… yes indeed, New Year’s Day 2012. And come to think of it, I couldn’t have chosen a better moment - at the beginning of a new year - to write about one of the biggest things awaiting us in that new year: the launch of a new version of the world’s most widely used operating, Windows 8. (Note that at the time of writing of this article, no announcements have been made by Microsoft on any launch date of the OS, but everyone assumes that we’ll see the OS in its final form on our machines sometime in 2012…). As mentioned, in this first article, I will take you through the most important concepts as well as show you some nice improvements.


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