Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?

So you want to know more about development for Window 8. Great! There are lots of reasons you should be excited about this. Since I don’t know why YOU are interested in this, I’ll make a list of reasons people can choose from.

(as a side note: whenever I talk about Win8 development I am referring to the Metro Style / WinRt side of things. Apps for the ‘classic’ desktop side of Win8 on Intel are business as usual…)

So… Why would you care about making an app for Windows 8?

  1. 1. It’s cool. Let’s not beat around the bush: if you like development for a hobby then you’ll love to work on this new platform. You can create apps in a relative short time (short time as in compared to writing a new CRM system) and that makes it great for a hobby product.
  2. 2. You’ll stand out. Hey, we all need an ego boost every now and then. We all need to feel special. So if you can manage to be one of the first to have you app in the Store then you’ll likely to be noticed. Just close your eyes for a moment and image you standing in a bar. It’s crowded, and then you casually say “Oh yeah, I just had my app certified and it’s in the Win8 store now”. People will stop talking, will offer you drinks and beautiful women / gorgeous man / furry creatures from Alpha Centauri (whatever your preferences are) will propose. Or maybe not. Anyway….
  3. 3. Make some cash! IDC predicts there will be about 350,000,000 Windows 8 licenses sold in the next year. Think about that number. 350,000,000. And they all have access to the Store. Where you’re app will be. With one little click they can select it, download and somehow magically $1.00 or $2.00 from their bank account is transferred to yours. Now, I am not saying that all of those people will download and buy your app but what if only 1% of them did? Remember: there aren’t that many apps available yet…..
  4. 4. Learn. Creating new small apps is a great way to learn new stuff. Yes, you could read about it (on this blog for instance) but the only way to learn something is to do it. So be prepared for the future and learn something new by doing it.Write an app! Now!
  5. 5. The biggie (for me at least): it’s fun. Even if you remove the points above it’s still fun to write for these devices and this platform.

Now some of you will say : “But why not write a great app for IOS or Android?” I think this is a valid question. Of course the novelty of the platform wears out and points 2 and 3 from above list will not be as relevant as it is today. But still 1 4 and 5 remain. And don’t forget: if you already work on the Microsoft platform it’s not that hard to learn this new Win8 stuff. If you have done some XAML development (be it WPF or Silverlight) you are almost there in becoming a good Win8 developer. So you’ll be more productive much sooner than when you have to learn Objective C or Java.

Even if you’re a HTML / Javascript developer (I say developer here, not designer) you’ll be up to speed on Win8 development pretty soon. Yes, you, that funky Web Developer who lives and breathes HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript / Node.Js / JQuery: you too can be a Win8 developer. A first class Win8 developer!

So.. Download the stuff you need from http://dev.windows.com install Windows 8 and Visual Studio 12 and by the time you’re ready I’ll be working on the next article: how to do all this?

Happy coding!

Print | posted @ Saturday, June 23, 2012 9:25 AM

Comments on this entry:

Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Mavejack at 6/23/2012 3:03 PM

How many apps are available now, and is Microsoft going to have a new app site? If so, what is the URL? Thanks.
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Dennis Vroegop at 6/23/2012 3:28 PM

There are not so many apps available. Remember: the product isn't released yet. It will be, but that might take a couple of months. That's why it's now interesting to start writing apps for it.
There are about 100+ apps available. You can only get there through the "Store" in Windows 8 itself, there is no web site for it (yet..?)
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Matthew at 6/26/2012 2:55 AM

Wow, way to include useful reasons why the platform makes business sense or makes coding easier
All the reasons given are:
1. Cause I'm a fanboi
2. Cause I'm a fanboi
....
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Jayson Ragasa at 6/26/2012 7:08 AM

Will it be possible to create an Windows 8 Metro application release it to the public, from a web site for example, and not in Marketplace? It's like, downloading an Windows 8 Metro application installer?

From the 3rd world country.. Like me, loves developing.. But don't have budget to be one of the registered or licensed developer where they can easily post an application in Windows 8 Marketplace.

I feel like, nobody cares anymore for small or individual developers.
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Dennis Vroegop at 6/26/2012 7:38 AM

@Jayson. No. You can't do that. You have to go through the marketplace (Store, as it's called nowadays). I know what you mean: for a lot of people the price of about $35 for 2 years is too much. I hope there will be a solution for this: it would be a shame to not include that large group.

@Matthew. Nothing screams fanboy (sp!) like accusing others of being one. That being said, I am a fan of a lot of products Microsoft makes. I won't deny it; that's the whole point of this blog. Besides that: did you read the post? Windows 8 is an enormous potential market for app developers, much bigger than iOs and Android combined. If that's not enough of a reason than I don't know what. And Visual Studio is by far the best development environment. Something that most people agree on: no matter what platform they work on. The .net and WinRT environment are second to none when it comes to productivity. I've heard from numerous IOS developers how easy they find developing for Windows Phone is. So what's your point?
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Andrey at 6/26/2012 7:50 AM

All good reasons, but if Microsoft was serious about the platform, this fun would be free.
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Dennis Vroegop at 6/26/2012 7:57 AM

@Andrey Well, that's a nice discussion. I can understand why they charge money. After all, if you publish a free app they still have to host it, check it, validate it and so on. But if you host a paid app they get 30% (or 20% if you make more thatn $25,000). But if you make serious money, then who cares about that $35 you have to pay (don't take that number too literally, that's just a figure I've heard floating around). And if they want every student to build apps, they should make it free. But to prevent 1000 fart-apps, they will have to charge a nominal fee to prevent low quality apps for being submitted.

You see: I can see both sides of this discussion. Therefor I am not going into this :-)
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by nikos at 6/26/2012 8:20 AM

is this $35 the only 'entry fee' for the small guy? I've heard that marketplace apps need to be signed with a verisign certificate, which costs a lot more than $35.
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Dennis Vroegop at 6/26/2012 8:54 AM

@Nikos I haven't heard of that. I know that you don't need that for Phone development, and I haven't heard that you need a certificate for Win8 development. You do need a developer account but that's it.... as far as I know, so no guarantees!
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Karl at 6/26/2012 12:36 PM

What I like to know is how a corporate developer writes a Metro app and distributes it if everything has to go through the Microsoft Store?

And, if a corporate developer can distribute an app internally without going through the store, what keeps anyone from doing it?

Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Dennis Vroegop at 6/26/2012 1:24 PM

@Karl I have asked that question myself and they said they are looking into it.
I think (THINK, not know!!) that they will eventually end up with a similar aproach as Apple has: when you get a licence you might deploy to devices you know about, i.e. based on mac-address or something like that.
But right now there is no way to limit distribution to a certain group....
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Daniel at 6/26/2012 2:47 PM

@Karl, take a look at what was recently announced with Windows Phone 8. Microsoft announced that it will be providing for businesses a corporate market place, either to be hosted locally or on the cloud. And, that there will be a corporate hub on the phone where those apps are listed and maybe some internal messaging.

I think this might be one approach that Microsoft might announce for Windows 8. Especially, if an app developed for Windows 8, can run on Windows Phone 8 with hardly any modifications(other than screen resolution).
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Parrotlover77 at 6/26/2012 2:51 PM

The market fee is perfectly reasonable. As a hobby developer, I make more than that in donations every two years. Remember that MS charged (is still charging? I don't know, honestly) $100/yr for Windows Phone, a platform with about three dozen non-employee users.

The problem I see here is that all the new fangled APIs MS has been touting for the past few years spring up and die pretty quickly. Why is Metro here to stay? The only thing that seems to be here to stay, despite all the hand wringing about how to kill it, is WinForms!

There will be plenty of Metro apps for dumb things like stocks and weather -- the kind of stuff that is basically just a weekend hack. Consumers might even really love that stuff, I don't know.

But more involved applications? I'm sticking with the desktop, man. When I write a big app, it will probably be around for a while and I don't want to have to constantly rewrite it.

For example my biggest app, RD Tabs, is six years old now and I'm working on the next major version after a bit of a hiatus. Why would I embrace Metro when it might not even be here in a couple years?
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Chris Lee at 6/26/2012 3:21 PM

Wow, you've outlined every single reason why I'm toiling away on my app right now. I want to be there when it launches! And I just love Metro
/back to work
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Chris Lee at 6/26/2012 3:24 PM

@Karl - Probably the same solution they announced for Windows Phone. A company (intra)Marketplace/Hub. Where only company members can sign up and download all the company specific apps.
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Andy at 6/26/2012 5:26 PM

Thank you for the idea to at least investigate how to implement a Windows 8 app. Now I need to work out how to install the dev environment in a virtual drive on my PC.
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Doug_B at 6/26/2012 5:32 PM

Take it from a 63 yr old, coding vetran. It is no longer feasible to develop apps as a small company. I had to chuckle with the idea that you may want to do it for a hobby, or for the satisfaction of it. Believe me it costs just as much to sell a $5,000 app as it does a $50,000 app.
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Steve at 6/26/2012 6:57 PM

Given the announcement about the new Windows Phone I read a few days ago, I wouldn't touch a Windows Phone with a 10-foot pole! Just like I won't go near a Apple iPhone! I'll only write APPs that I can market from my own web site. Microsoft dropped the ball royally by not allowing upgrades of the kernel from the previous phones.
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by James at 6/27/2012 6:44 PM

Dream on...
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Dennis Vroegop at 6/28/2012 11:05 AM

@Doug_B Well, actually, I do know people who make money on the platform, not only Windows but also iOs and Android. Don't expect to become as large as the big software companies out there, but people are actually making money right now.
So... I am not sure why you think it's not possible when it clearly is.

@James: don't worry: I'll keep on dreaming... That's why I enjoy doing this: living the dream...
Gravatar # re: Why bother writing an Windows 8 app?
by Flavio at 7/1/2012 3:39 PM

On the #2 it will be nicer to see somebody using your app, hearing them saying it's great and telling them "I made that" ;)

About the chances to go big: there are (our game is doing better on WP7 than the rest), but it will require a hell of a timing, and that depends on the luck.
All the big players will be there day 1: Instagram, Facebook, Angry Birds, you name it.

So you have really one chance, one day early or later can doom you product. I don't think there will be another "far west" like iOS have been in its SDK's infancy.
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