By Rich Seidner
In order to learn more about their experiences, and why some are choosing to move to Windows 8 development, we spoke with Avery Sawyer, a software engineer at Ratio Interactive. Sawyer recently worked on the development of Comic Director, a free Microsoft Windows 8 UI Touch app that helps users create interactive comics.
Can you tell us about your experience developing for Windows 8?
My experience in developing for Windows 8 has been delightful. Everything simply works, and it worked right at the launch of the platform. I have found Windows 8 development to be highly productive.
What are some of the specific benefits provided by these technologies?
On the codec front, Windows 8 specifies the H.264 standard codec as the preferred codec for encoding video to be viewed on Windows 8. The main benefit to using H.264 as opposed to a non-standard or proprietary codec is that hardware manufacturers will likely have an H.264 decoder built into the hardware. Intel has full on-chip H.264 decoding, so applications that leverage the H.264 codec, like Comic Director, will perform much better than applications that use a proprietary, non-standard video codec to play back video. In general, you will get better performance across a wider range of devices when you use H.264 for video in Windows 8.
HTML5 has many benefits and improvements over the previous iteration of HTML. Improved semantics with more tags such as <section>, and <footer> and <article>, more powerful forms including native validation, local storage and a local lightweight database in the browser, and much better media capabilities built right into the browser with the <video>, <audio> and <canvas> tags. In Comic Director, we leverage the <canvas> tag to facilitate publishing a comic, and when the user is building their awesome comic, the text, images and pane borders are separate HTML elements.
What can you say about developing cross-platform apps using the Windows 8 platform?
Do you have any tips for developers about working with companies like Intel and Microsoft?
Most developers working with Windows 8 will interact with Microsoft when it is time to submit their application to the store. The best things to do is to be intimately familiar with the application submission guidelines, and to regularly run the WACK (Windows App Certification Kit) test against your application as you are developing.
Passing the WACK test is only one part of the submission, however, because you also need to follow the UX guidelines for Windows 8 store applications, and understand how to effectively leverage the modern UI design language in your application to ensure a successfully submitted app. This comprehensive overview of UX Guidelines for Windows 8 will keep you on the right track: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh779072.aspx.
[Disclosure: Intel is the sponsor of this content.]
Photo: Windows App store
Rich Seidner is a technology veteran, an independent researcher, a writer and an editor serving technology clients. Based in Woodside, Calif., his blood type is “technology.”