Windows 8 Store Apps: Less on chrome, more on content

By Mugethi Gitau
  Published 25 Feb 2014
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Windows 8 Store Apps: Less on chrome, more on content
A Windows Store app is a new type of app that is downloaded from the Windows Store and runs on Windows 8 devices. It runs in a single window that fills the entire screen by default. It automatically works with a variety of input sources, including touch, pen, mouse, and keyboard. Instead of static icons, it uses live tiles that can display notifications. And from a UI/UX perspective, is built to get rid of chrome and focus on content. So what makes it different from a traditional desktop app?
  1. Layout is adjusted automatically for different screen sizes and orientations; this support for different layouts and views creates a great user experience across a variety of form factors and display sizes.
  2. Commands are in the app bar; so they are out of the way but in a familiar place when you need them. The app bar is hidden by default and appears when users swipe a finger from the bottom edge of the screen (or right clicks on the main screen).
  3. It has a consistent set of charms that let you perform basic actions like search, share content, connect to devices or change settings. Contracts then take this further by defining the requirements for apps to participate in a set of unique Windows interactions e.g. directly sharing data from one app to another.
  4. When the user installs your app, it shows up as a tile on the Start screen. Your app can deliver content through its tile (even when it's not running!) providing the user with useful, at-a-glance info e.g. from a web service.
  5. Win 8 apps also feature a new powerful navigation tool called Semantic zoom, which lets you zoom out of a page view to show you a summary of an app’s content. This not only gives the user a summary view of the content, but can also display additional information about each group e.g. summary stats.
  6. Nothing lets you brand your app better than the splash screen. It offers an immersive, transient identity element that introduces the personality of your app to your users at application launch.
  7. A Windows 8 app also lets you take advantage of its Edges, providing a powerful and beautiful interaction tool that is integral to the core principle of “Do more with less”. Edges let you move elements off the canvas, launch command bars (top & bottom edges), invoke charms (right edge) and interact with the multitasking command centre (left edge). This way, the user get a reliable, intuitive way of navigating that feels natural on any device.
  8. Lastly (but probably most importstoreapps-languagesantly for you as developer) you can build Windows store apps using programming languages that you are already familiar with, like JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic, or C++. Windows Store apps can use the Windows Runtime, a native API built into the operating system. This API is implemented in C++ and supported in JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic, andC++ in a way that feels natural for each language.
  Join us, for a tte tte on Windows 8 store apps development, this Wednesday, 26th Feb, at the iHub starting from 6pm.
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