Windows 8 is marching on its way to domination, forcing developers to evolve and adjust. Windows 8 has some languages available such as HTML4/CSS3, DirectX/C++ but where is .NET? That’s the part when gurus will need to adjust and evolve. The rational language would be XALM/C# thus we will be focusing our attention on it in this article. Windows mobile application development is now different from what we were used to.
Before you start
Let’s begin with the good news that not much has changed. Don’t even think of forgetting good old strategies that were helping you thousands of times, when you were working with ASP.NET. Separation of layers, UI, etc. are as important for Windows 8.
At the very beginning, before you rush to explore and develop you have to do a “tiny” research on what you want your app to do, what features the application needs and how your coding can grant the app its full potential, how the functionalities will be achieved.
Then get clear with tools you will need. Lots of them are wandering all over the WEB looking for somebody like you, with the right hands to create with their help. They differ from one another, so choose wisely in order to pick the perfect ones for your project.
What to keep in mind
Forget Chrome! Got your attention? Well you don’t actually forget all about Chrome, but there are quite a few changes in the UX Change Implications. The Win 8 has a controlled environment. Thus the good old Chrome tools no longer vary interpretations of different styles across browsers. Sounds like backtracking much.
That’s when you begin to think like a designer. The Win 8 style patterns, layouts and single-style approaches sure suspiciously look like the HTML table-based layouts you remember from those far gone days of the Web.
To do so you’ll need excellent knowledge of XALM and studying the new lifecycle of the app and including it into your development. Yet if you are acquainted with the ASP.NET Web forms will not be facing serious difficulties with a fairly similar Win 8 page lifecycle. The key not to miss thing here is that browsers now rely on the Request/Response model to spread information between pages.
The integrated Layout Aware Page will summarize the communication between pages. So now it will be easier to navigate the page. Specify the page, kick back, relax and it’ll handle itself on its own. The page will be supplemented “stack”. This gives you the possibility to go back to the foregoing page from your stack and reload data from the page State dictionary.
You know MVC design pattern? Then you will enjoy XALM’s MVVM pattern. It summarizes the Model-View-Controller’s ideas, yet it uses the view model to help with the data building. Now data can be shown in lots of ways due to the c-c-combo of the XALM ability of two-way binding pages and the smart usage of the view model.
Usage of MVVM makes it easier to switch between views. You can now route data between a pair of view models in several ways, yet I’d prefer massages. What basically needs to be done is
- Receive navigation data
- Set the model to initialize
- Begin initialization of the model
- View models bindings, it will kick into effect and your view will be populated with data
What to do after
In comparison to the common Web app post-developing format we are used to some changes will require extra attention.
- Offline synchronization. Always thought that Web apps are available or not available and that’s the end of discussion? Think twice with Win 8. The apps now need to be available for every single hour of every single day. This way users are allowed to continue operating regardless of the internet connections. Thus we will need functionality and offline capabilities.
Now we have a magic door opening to a completely new world of data synchronization. Your methods are now in desperate need to cover such scenarios as: local data storages; offline and database synchronization.
Remember of stuff like SQL libraries and background tasks that find out whether your users are on-line again when in need of storing tremendous amounts of data
- Windows Store. Not to forget that deploying Web applications is nothing like deploying Windows Store apps. Forget the IIS. With the store you’ll have but two ways of delivering your app to users. Side loading which is basically in use for the LOB applications. And the Windows Store itself. Side loading is a bit easier die to the fact that you don’t have to deal with all the market approval blah-blah and other stuff. But where to run, when you just don’t have what to choose from with your store-oriented app? The fin with the certification process begins. Just try to schedule a meeting with a Microsoft representative ad he will assist with what is possible. This is the really easy way.
- App Updates. Get ready for users working with old app versions. With Windows 8 you can’t just IIS them, if such a desire knocks into your idea-generating brain part. There will be more work for your team. If you are side loading you’ll need to find a way to deploy “trusted” material to end users. With the store the app updates will be as securitized as the original release so the same path here. And now users’ apps will not be forced to update, it will be their personal choice.
Image: Girl With a Balloon by Banksy