Category Archives: Windows 8

Developing Apps for Microsoft Surface, Windows 8, Windows RT and Windows Phone 8

Recently, at one of the conference i presented at Microsoft Technology center, i was asked the following questions.

  • Is .NET dead? What is .NET Client profile?
  • Is Windows 8 compatible with my current Windows app?
  • Can I build Windows 8 Metro apps in .NET?
  • Can I build apps for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone?

The following table summarizes the latest devices and their operating systems as well as the development technologies along with other useful information (for developers)


Well, here are some of the answers and commonly used Windows 8 terminology.

  • Windows Phone 8 now shares a common core with Windows 8. This means you can expect to write apps for one and easily port it to the other, with UI retooling of course. Developers targeting both should use C#/VB + XAML for apps, and C++/D3D for games. Portable class library definitely helps when developing for both the platforms.
  • The term “Metro Apps” now called “Microsoft Design Language” denotes apps that can be purchased in the official Windows App Store and that are built on top of the WinRT runtime, using either C# + XAML, or WinJS + HTML5. Even though Windows Phone features a Metro user interface (and the original one at that), the term Metro Apps does NOT apply to Windows Phone 7.5 apps.
  • The term “Metro Games” denotes apps that can be purchased in the official Windows App Store and that are built on top of the WinRT runtime, using Direct3D (D3D) and C++. Windows RT & Windows 8 Metro games cannot be built in XNA.
  • XNA can still be used to create Windows Phone 7.5, 7.8 and 8.0 games, and sold in the marketplace. You will not need to keep Visual Studio 2010 since Visual Studio 2012 and the Windows Phone 8.0 SDK will still support new development in XNA.
  • WinRT is the new native Runtime for Windows RT and the Metro side of Windows 8. It completely replaces .NET and Win32. Let me make this clear: If you look under the covers of WinRT, there is no .NET and no Win32, all you’ll find is the Windows Kernel. Since the only dev platform supported by Windows RT is WinRT, that means you cannot use .NET to build apps for Windows RT (or for the Metro side of Windows 8). Read this post on Paul Thurrott’s Windows Supersite for a more in-depth explanation.
  • WinRT is not based on .NET but you can use a subset of .NET from WinRT. Microsoft provides a subset of managed types called the .NET APIs for Metro style apps which enables .NET Framework developers to create Metro style apps within a familiar programming framework. Note that porting some .NET apps to WinRT could be trivial while others could be hard, based on which namespaces & classes you use. Check this section of the Metro style development documentation for more details.
  • Side-loading implicates installing non-certified applications using external media, thus bypassing the official Microsoft Windows App Store, whether it originates from a CD/DVD, USB key or web download. Note that developers can always side-load their own apps in a developer-unlocked device.
  • Xbox LIVE games are always platform specific. Microsoft Surface and Windows Phone both feature Xbox LIVE enabled games but this does NOT mean it runs the same Xbox LIVE Arcade games as the Xbox 360.
  • 2D game development can also be done using the same platform as apps. For example, on Windows Phone, 2D games can be built in Silverlight and do not require XNA.
  • Confused about version numbers for Windows Phone? Read my blog post that demystifies it all here.
  • Windows 8 can also be installed on any PC running Windows 7 today, and will also come pre-loaded on future generations of OEM (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc.) computers, laptops, notebooks, Ultrabooks, Netbooks and tablets. The first column applies to all these other Windows 8 computers as well.
  • Windows RT will also be available on third-party tablet devices offered by Microsoft’s OEM partners (Samsung, Toshiba, Lenovo, etc.) Windows RT cannot be installed manually by a consumer, it must be licensed and pre-loaded by the OEM manufacturing the tablet.

  • 101 Questions and Answers About Windows 8

    1. What tools and information do I need to develop Windows 8 Store applications?

    a. Windows 8 – Download free version here

    b. Visual Studio 2012 Express – Download free version here

    c. Windows Phone – Download free version here

    d. Windows Server 2012 – Download free version here (Optional)

    e. Microsoft Virtual Academy – Register here

    2. How to develop a Windows Phone 8 app in 30 days?

    Register at

    3. For a Mac user, where can I get the free tools to build Windows Store apps for Windows 8?

    Install Windows 8 and the dev tools on your Mac.

    4. How to start planning now for a cloud-based backend service—user authentication, push notifications, and structured data?

    Sign up for the Windows Azure 90-day Free Trial and receive 10 free Mobile Services running on shared instances.

    5. Get the samples and get started!? Download the design assets—PSD assets include templates, common controls, and common components—and the sample apps pack.

    6. Where to find Windows 8 Sessions and Keynotes — //BUILD Conference Site

    7. Download the Bits — Windows Dev Center

    8. PDF Manual — Windows Developer Preview Guide

    9. Code Examples — MSDN “Metro Style” app examples (or get them all together in a Single ZIP)

    10. What Devices will Run It? — List of Devices in Microsoft’s Test Lab

    11. How to Install on My Machine without Losing Everything even if I don’t have Dual-Format DVDs or 8 GB Memory Sticks Handy — Installing Windows 8 Developer Preview as a Bootable VHD

    12. What About Silver light? — It’s still here, with a diagram from Microsoft to prove it

    13. Chat about Windows 8 or Cry for Help — MSDN Forums for Windows 8

    14. What is WinRT? — Introduction to WinRT and WinRT demystified

    15. Touch Input — Quickstart: Touch Input

    16. Comfort Guide to Controls for Silverlight and WPF Developers — Controls List (for Xaml)

    17. How do I Convert Silverlight to WinRT/Metro? — Blog Series on WinRT vs. Silverlight

    18. But is Xaml REALLY There? — Yes, It Is

    19. The New Architecture — Windows 8 WinRT Capabilities (Tip: Lean forward to make it look flat)

    20. Platform and Tools Architecture — Windows 8 Platform and Tools (Tip: this time lean sideways)

    21. Can I Borrow Someone’s Opinion? — Sure thing: Yours Truly, Michael Crump, Engadget, Wired

    22. Create a bootable USB?

    23. Setup boot to VHD?

    24. Get an Azure account?

    25. Get Windows 8?

    26. Get Visual Studio 2012?

    27. Get Windows Live SDK?

    28. Get Windows 8 Samples?

    29. Get Multilingual Toolkit?

    30. Get Advertising SDK?

    31. Get Design Assets?

    32. Register your App?

    33. Join 30 to Launch?

    34. View the online labs?

    35. Does Windows 8 run Windows 7 software? Yes

    36. Does Windows 8 support .Net 4.0? Yes

    37. Does WinRT replace the .Net framework? No

    38. Can users re-enable the start button in Windows 8? No

    39. Can enterprises disable Microsoft Design Style on their Windows 8 desktops? No

    40. Will Microsoft Design Style be part of the server version of Windows? Yes

    41. Do developers need two apps in the Windows 8 store to support ARM? No

    42. Can apps have a hidden URL in the Windows 8 store? No

    43. What is the revenue split with Microsoft for the Store? 80/20

    44. Do developers need a developer account in order publish an app? Yes

    45. Can developers use payment systems other than Microsoft? Yes

    46. Is HTML5 and JavaScript (JS) supported in Microsoft Design Style development? Yes

    47. What is the HTML rendering engine in HTML-based Microsoft Design Style apps? IE10

    48. Is IE10 Microsoft Design Style the same engine as IE10 desktop? Yes

    49. Can desktop applications create live tiles? No

    50. Can desktop applications use WinRT? Yes

    51. Can desktop HTTP end point be accessed by Microsoft Design Style apps? No

    52. Can Microsoft Design Style applications access a local SQL server? No

    53. Do Microsoft Design Style applications have a local database solution? Yes, Sqlite

    54. Can Microsoft Design Style applications access the internet while the pc is in standby? Yes

    55. Can Microsoft Design Style applications access SkyDrive? Yes

    56. Can Microsoft Design Style applications iterate through the user’s hard drive? No

    57. Is there a Microsoft Design Style version of windows file explorer? No, see above

    58. Can Microsoft Design Style applications detect other Microsoft Design Style apps? No

    59. Can more than one Microsoft Design Style application run at one time? Yes, two

    60. Can push notifications execute client code? No

    61. Are there background tasks in Microsoft Design Style? Yes

    62. Is the performance of HTML5 Microsoft Design Style applications comparable to XAML? Yes

    63. Is native code (C++) supported in Microsoft Design Style development? Yes

    64. Is Microsoft Design Style C different than traditional CPP? Yes

    65. Should all desktop apps be migrate to Microsoft Design Style? No

    66. Will the Windows 8 store support trials? Yes

    67. Will the Windows 8 store support subscriptions? No

    68. Will enterprise apps deliver through the Windows 8 store? No

    69. Can enterprises disable the Windows 8 store? Yes

    70. Can enterprises disable side-loading of apps? Yes

    71. Can apps in the Windows 8 store access desktop apps & services? No

    72. Can side-loaded apps access desktop apps & services? Yes

    73. Can parents disable the Windows 8 store for kids? Yes

    74. Can parents limit the hours in the day their kids can log in? Yes

    75. Can parents limit the cumulative time in a day kids can use the PC? Yes

    76. Can parents filter available web sites? Yes

    77. Can parents disable games based on their rating? Yes

    78. Can Visual Studio 2010 be used to build Microsoft Design Style apps? No

    79. Can Visual Studio 2012 be used to build Windows 7 apps? Yes

    80. Can Visual Studio 2010 access Team Foundation Server 2012? Yes

    81. Can Visual Studio 2012 open 2010 projects without altering them? Yes

    82. Can Visual Studio 2010 open 2012 projects? No

    83. Does the .Net 4 async keyword work in WinRT? Yes

    84. Does Windows 8 WinRT code run on Windows Phone 7? No

    85. Does Windows Phone 7 code run on Windows 8? Yes, some

    86. Does Windows Phone 8 code run on Windows 8? Yes, more

    87. Does Windows 8 code run on Windows Phone 7? Yes, some

    88. Does Windows 8 code run on Windows Phone 8? Yes, more

    89. Can Microsoft Design Style applications roam settings/files across desktops? Yes

    90. Can desktop applications roam settings, too? No

    91. Can Microsoft Design Style applications roam settings/files to Windows Phone? No

    92. Can Windows Phone roam settings to Windows 8? No

    93. Does Windows 8 Microsoft Design Style support XNA game development? No

    94. When was Windows 8 released? Friday, October 26, 2012.

    95. Win+E – Explorer

    96. Win+R – Run

    97. Win+D – Desktop

    98. Win+Plus or Win+Minus (no shift) – Magnifier/Zoom In and Out

    99. Win+F – Find Files

    100. Alt-Tab – Switch between Apps

    101. Win-Tab – Switch between Full Screen Apps

      Free Microsoft Developer Training Kits

      Windows Azure Training Kit – August 2012 REFRESH Update

      The August 2012 REFRESH update of the Windows Azure Training Kit includes 42 hands-on labs, 15 demos and 38 presentations. Some of the updates in this version include:

      • Added the Windows Azure Device + Services 1-day event agenda
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      • Added 15 Demos with Demo Scripts for content delivery

      The previous August 2012 update of the Windows Azure Training Kit includes 41 hands-on labs and 35 presentations. Some of the updates in the version include:

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      Release date: 8/20/2012

      Internet Explorer 10 Training Kit

      This training kit covers development specifics for developers who will be targeting Internet Explorer 10 in their development experience. This kit contains documentation and details on things pertinent to developing applications that target features of the Internet Explorer 10 browser.

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      Windows 8 Camp in a Box, Release Preview Edition

      This download includes the hands-on-labs, presentations, samples and resources from the Windows 8 camps for developers ramping up on Metro style app development.

      • Windows 8CampinaBoxJS includes the hands-on labs for those using HTML + Javascript.
      • Windows8CampinaBoxCS includes the hands-on-labs that use XAML + C#.

      Release Date: 7/18/2012

      SQL Server 2012 Developer Training Kit

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      Identity Developer Training Kit

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      Release Date: 7/5/2012

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      Web Camps Training Kit May 2012 Release featuring ASP.NET MVC 4, ASP.NET 4.5, ASP.NET Web API, VS 11

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      Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Training Kit December 2011 Release

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      Windows Phone 7.5 Training Kit

      Hands on Labs for the Windows Phone 7.5 Application Platform

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      Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview Training Kit

      Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview Training Kit December 2011 Release

      Release date: 12/15/2011

      Dynamics CRM 2011 Developer Training Kit

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      Release Date:9/6/2011

      Introduction to Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 Training Kit

      Introduction to Team Foundation Server 2010

      Release Date:8/22/2011

      BizTalk Server 2010 Administrator Training Kit

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      Visual Studio LightSwitch Training Kit

      Visual Studio LightSwitch Training Kit

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      SharePoint 2010 and Windows Phone 7 Training Kit

      Provides developers with advanced guidance on how to develop Windows Phone 7 Applications for SharePoint.

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      BizTalk Server 2010 Developer Training Kit

      This training kit contains a complete set of materials that will…developer capabilities in BizTalk Server 2010. This kit includes lab manuals, PowerPoint presentations…Virtual Machine that is ready for you to use with the training kit.

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      SharePoint and Windows Azure Development Kit

      The July 2011 release of the SharePoint and Azure Development Kit is a training course to help developers integrate SharePoint and Windows Azure.

      Release Date:7/15/2011

      Office 365 Developer Training Kit – June 2011 Update

      Guidance that provides developers with advanced guidance on how to develop for Office 365 including SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online

      Release Date:6/28/2011

      Office 2010 Developer Training Kit – June 2011

      Training kit that provides developers with collateral to get started quickly developing for Office 2010.

      Release Date:6/7/2011

      PHP on Windows and SQL Server Training Kit (March 2011 Update)

      The PHP on Windows and SQL Server Training Kit includes a comprehensive set of technical content including demos and hands-on labs to help you understand how to build PHP applications using Windows, IIS 7.5 and SQL Server 2008 R2.

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      SQL Server 2008 R2 Update for Developers Training Kit (May 2011 Update)

      This training kit is a great resource for developers, trainers, consultants and evangelists who need to understand…hands-on labs and videos that are perfect for self-paced learning or for conducting your own training.

      Release Date:6/2/2011

      SharePoint and Silverlight Training Kit

      Provides developers with advanced guidance on how to develop Silverlight Applications for SharePoint.

      Release Date:4/7/2011

      Web Camps Training Kit

      February 2011 release of the Web Camps Training Kit

      Release Date:2/21/2011

      Windows Phone 7 Training Kit for Developers – RTM Refresh

      This Windows Phone 7 Training Kit for developers will give you a jumpstart into the new Windows Phone world by providing you with a step-by-step explanation of the tools to use and some key concepts for programming Windows Phones.

      Release Date:2/3/2011

      Silverlight 4 Training

      Silverlight 4 Training

      Release Date:12/20/2010

      UC “14″ Developer Training Kit

      This training kit provides deep technical training on all aspects of the Lync Server 2010 and Exchange Server 2010 SDKs to give developers the skills they need to be productive developing communications driven business processes.

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      Windows Server AppFabric Training Kit

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      What’s New in BizTalk Server 2010 Training Kit

      Learn about the new features of BizTalk Server 2010

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      SharePoint 2010 Developer Training Kit

      Guidance that provides developers with advanced guidance on how to develop for SharePoint.

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      Windows 7 Training Kit For Developers

      The Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers includes presentations, hands-on labs, and demos designed to help you learn how to build applications that are compatible with and shine on Windows 7

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      Windows Server 2008 R2 Developer Training Kit – July 2009

      A collection of presentations, demos, and hands-on-labs for Windows Server solution developers.

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      ASP.NET MVC Training Kit

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      First Impressions of Intel Next Generation Ultrabook™ with Windows 8

      Few days ago I received an Ultrabook from Intel as part of winning the Round 1 of Windows 8 & Ultrabook™ App Innovation Contest as shown in figure 1.


      Fig 1: Ultrabook box

      Intel sent me an Ivy Bridge Ultrabook as shown in Figure 2 to review. This Ultrabook from Intel will never be a production hardware – This laptop will never be made. It’s meant to be a reference example for hardware makers to make Ultrabooks of their own. This particular device will not be made available for purchase. So It’s just a proof of concept from Intel. The only manufacturer branding on it is Intel’s Ultrabook TM, as you can see from Fig 2.


      Fig 2: Picture of Intel’s concept Ultrabook (Nice to see Intel logo on the cover)


      Fig 3: Nice touch screen  (Intel Logo on the Ultrabook)


      Fig 4: Ultrabook next to my existing laptops at home.

      Following are my initial observations of the new “on the road laptop.”

      Sensors that are present in the Ultrabook

      • 5 point multi-touch screen
      • Accelerometer
      • Magnetometer
      • Gyroscope
      • Ambient light sensor
      • GPS
      • NFC (Near Field Communication)
      • Bluetooth 4.0
      • WiFi (b/g/n)


      Fig 5: Sensors present in Ultrabook.

      Physical Factors First:
      • High Definition Web Cam
      • Slot for SDHC card
      • Slot for SIM Card (Yes, you can out the phone SIM card in this Ultrabook)
      • Two USB-3  slots on either side
      • Mini-HDMI connector
      • Headphone jack
      • Power Connector
      • Weighs 3.5 pounds (Very very  light compared to other laptops)
      • Great built-in audio
      Performance Factors:
      • Intel Core i7 CPU @ 2.0 GHz (Windows 8 shuts down in 2 seconds)
      • 180 GB Solid State Hard Drive
      • 4GB RAM

      The laptop came with Windows 8 Pro which I immediately activated through MSDN and the computer was ready to go with zero adware. There was also included a 16GB thumb drive with all the drivers and everything it takes to return the machine to factory conditions which was very nice. Responsiveness and speed is amazing. The computer itself feels substantial and has a very beautiful “rubberized” top. It just looks sharp, closed or open. I read on some posts about fan being loud, but the ultra book i received is as silent as thought.

      Hardware and Physical Form Factor

      The Ultrabook is really thin, light, powerful, fast and run Windows 8. The book weighs in at about 3.5 pounds. On the outside it’s got 1.5MP web-cam camera, a 5-point touch screen, a mini HDMI connector port, a pair of USB 3.0 ports on either side, an HD webcam,  a headphone jack, power connector slot and a 13.3” multi-touch display. Inside, it has Intel Core i7-3667U processor (4M cache, 2.00 GHZ) which is one of the new Ivy Bridge processors, 4 GB of DDR3L RAM, a 180 GB SSD hard drive, and the following specifications (to name just a few):

      • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi
      • Bluetooth
      • NFC
      • Multi-Touch Pad
      • Sensors
      Activating Windows 8:

      The machine came with the Windows 8 Pro (64 bit) pre-installed. Now that Windows 8 is released to manufacturing (RTM) and available to MSDN subscribers, I was able to successfully activate Windows 8 Pro through the license key obtained from my MSDN account .

      TouchScreen & Sensors:

      My prediction is that Touch screen is going to be the default feature like USB port in every laptop within a couple of years. A touch screen on a laptop? Why? What kind of madness is this? After using it for a while having a touch screen is a nice to have. I believe that in two to three years from now, all display devices will be touch enabled like monitors in office and laptops. Swipe in from the right to get the charms menu, in from the left to task switch and down from the top for menus and browser tabs. This is such a clean and clear extension of the “touch” experience that if I were in charge of the Windows hardware ecosystem I would require it. Pinch to zoom works as well, just as it should. I found myself using the touch screen more than I expected to. I don’t much like taking my hands off the keyboard, but once I do, the multi-touch screen is a lot more physically intuitive than a mouse, even though I have been using mice for over 20 years. It is, in any case, much more satisfying.

      Most new tablets and Ultrabooks running Windows 8 are going to have a slew of sensors. Here are the sensors and other advanced features included in this proof of concept device:

      • GPS (Location Sensors)
      • NFC
      • Multi-Touch (display and touchpad)
      • Accelerometer ( acceleration along 3 axes)
      • Compass (orientation and position)
      • Gyro meter (angular velocity)
      • Inclinometer (angle of incline)
      • Light Sensor (ambient lighting)
      • Orientation Sensor (combines accelerometer, compass, gyro meter to get more sensitive movement)
      • Simple Orientation (orientation of the device including face up or down)

      Detecting Sensors on an Ultrabook: There are a few ways in which to determine if a system supports the sensors, and if so, which sensors:

      • Computer Management/Device Manager: Find the Computer Management App on the Windows UI Start Menu (if it isn’t there you can view “All Apps” by right-clicking in the window and then click on the “All Apps” icon in the lower right-hand side of the window. Once the Device Manager is up, look for “Sensors” in the device tree as shown in Figure 6.


      Fig 6: Sensors and Proximity devices in Device Manager.

      • Sensor Diagnostic Tool: If you want to get finer detail regarding each sensor and possibly even have some control over some of the sensor parameters (for testing purposes) you can run the Sensor Diagnostic Tool – it is part of the Windows Driver Kit ( WDK). The Sensor Diagnostic tool uses the Sensor and Location API for data retrieval, event handling, report intervals, changing sensitivity, and property retrieval. The tool can also be used to write the sensor data to a CSV file. I should note, however that the Sensor Diagnostic Tool really exists to aid with the development of Windows Drivers; its true use is to help with the testing and optimization of Windows Drivers. This tool can be found in the following folder once you have installed the Windows Driver Kit: C:\Program Files (x86)\Windows Kits\8.0\Tools\x86\Sesnsordiagnotictool as shown in Figure 7.


      Fig 7: Sensor Diagnostic Tool (sensordiagnostictool.exe)

      Figure 8 shows the Sensor Diagnostic Tool that comes with the WDK talking to this Ivy Bridge Ultrabook’s sensors:


      Fig 8: Sensor Diagnostic Tool run on an Ivy Bridge Software Development Platform + USB Sensor Hub

      The following table shown in Figure 9 provides information about the new sensors that are recommended for the Ultrabook (and required for convertibles). It will be up to the OEMs which sensors are included for their specific models/usages.


      Fig 9: Sensor information table.


      Performance Speed & Software Development:

      This feels like a high performance machine in a small package, and an interesting middle ground between a slate and a laptop. 

      • Loads Visual Studio 2012 in about 2 seconds (amazing speed) and builds of average-sized projects are also just 6 seconds on my stopwatch. Not bad at all.
      • System shuts down in 3 seconds
      • How about a reboot of the system:
        • 3 second to the windows lock screen
        • another 2 seconds to login to windows. So in total 5 seconds you can logon to Windows8 from cold start. This a machine I can use to develop, test and write about Windows 8 code. All in all, this machine is clearly a contender.  More to come in a subsequent review once I’ve lived with it for a while.
      • Processor i7 at 2.49GHz – It’s a physical Dual Core with Hyper threading so that’s 4 logical processors as shown in Figure 10.


      Fig 10: Task manager showing 4 logical processor information


      I could develop real serious applications on an Ultrabook and i see it as the future of today’s laptops. It pains me to say it as I have been carrying around 10lb laptops in the name of power for over a decade. In the coming days, I will publish more information around how Windows 8 developers can use this type of device to develop Windows 8 Modern UI style apps.

      Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe my readers will enjoy. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

      25 Reasons to develop Microsoft Design Style Apps in C#/XAML

      Windows 8 introduces Microsoft Design Style as a new a development paradigm on the Microsoft platform. Windows store apps can be developed using .NET/XAML, C++/XAML or HTML5/Java Script technologies. Now, the tricky question is “which technology should people choose to develop Windows store apps?”. For me, I chose C#/XAML. Here I wanted to walk through some of the key reasons for the choice of technology. Also,  as a Windows Store App developer, there are some things XAML developers should know that will save them serious time.

      1. Easy to find .NET developers

      It’s easy to find .NET developers for development and maintenance of Windows Store Apps. Also, Windows 8 provides no-compromise options to developers to choose JavaScript/HTML5, C#/XAML, and C++/XAML without giving up on features and support. But i would choose C++ if i am developing an application that has to perform at the highest level with good memory management.

      2. Bind to Anything

      The power of XAML really starts at its native ability to data bind. Nothing data binds like XAML – one way, two way, one time, and to almost any property. Not only is it built-in, not only is it powerful, not only is it fast, but it’s simple. Check out this snippet:


      In the code above, I am binding the Text property of of the TextBox to the Value property of the Slider. All of the event listening and value conversion is done for me. I just write it up with a syntax that is easy to understand (although you have to get it correct).

      3. Resolution Independence

      XAML has always had resolution independency. And, here’s what it means. Let’s say you have a 17 inch monitor with 1024×768 resolution. The XAML app looks perfect. You upgrade to the same size (17 inches) but higher pixel density (1680×1050). What happens to your app? Because of XAML’s resolution independency, it looks completely the same – just clearer, sharper.


      Resolution dependency would have caused the application to get smaller. But we don’t buy high resolution to get application thumbnails. We get high resolution so applications are crisp and clear. Size values in XAML are not pixels, they are device-independent units.

      4. Dependency Properties

      A XAML UI could have a hundred controls, easily – especially in the visual tree. XAML controls could have a hundred properties, easily – especially with attached properties. 100×100 is 10,000 properties. That’s a lot, huh? Fortunately, XAML solves this with Dependency Properties.

      Dependency Properties can be inherited from parent controls. They can be attached by outside assemblies. They can be animated and automated. Plus they fire change events. But, even better is – they take up no memory until they are actually set. Brilliant.

      MSDN: The purpose of dependency properties is to provide a way to compute the value of a property based on the value of other inputs. These other inputs might include system properties such as themes and user preference, just-in-time property determination mechanisms such as data binding and animations/storyboards, multiple-use templates such as resources and styles, or values known through parent-child relationships with other elements in the element tree. In addition, a dependency property can be implemented to provide self-contained validation, default values, callbacks that monitor changes to other properties, and a system that can coerce property values based on potentially runtime information. Derived classes can also change some specific characteristics of an existing property by overriding dependency property metadata, rather than overriding the actual implementation of existing properties or creating new properties.

      5. Platform Adoption

      Name a Microsoft platform. Xbox? Windows Phone? Windows Embedded? Windows Desktop? Windows Microsoft Design Style? Silverlight? Every one has something in common: XAML. Some platforms support other UI technologies, but XAML is the common denominator.

      XAML has a strategic value to developers and enterprises alike because the developed skillset is reusable across the Microsoft stack. From WPF to Silverlight to Microsoft Design Style, XAML is pervasive. One reason XAML is great is because of its wide platform adoption.

      6. Object Oriented Programming

      HTML5 and JavaScript are powerful. Granted. But unit testing, inheritance, polymorphism, architectural reuse, and pervasive design patters are enabled by object oriented languages like C++, C#, and Visual Basic. If it is up to me, and it is, I want OOP so my projects are logical, testable, and scalable.

      7. State

      XAML applications are persistent (stateful). It means static methods and properties work. It means in memory references work. And, it means MVVM works. XAML applications maintain state which helps developers maintain sanity – and  prevents the many hacks like state stores. More.


      8. Expression Blend

      Since WPF, XAML designers and developers have enjoyed Expression Blend (part of the Expression Suite of tools). Expression Blend provides a visual and designer interface to accomplish complex actions and interactions in XAML UIs. Nothing compares.

      Many developers have avoided Blend because of the initial learning curve. The reality is, whatever can be accomplished in Blend could also be accomplished in Visual Studio. Similarly, whatever could be accomplished in Visual Studio could be accomplished in Notepad. Blend is worth it.

      9. Debugging

      C# developers have long used the debugging features in Visual Studio. Just set a breakpoint a build. Now with Intellitrace, there’s even more ways developers can debug an application. But XAML developers (evident in Silverlight 5) have the option to debug bindings right in the XAML.

      But it’s not just that. Only robust languages like C# give you full intellisense, symbolic refactoring, incredible code analysis, and complexity metrics. One of the reasons I choose XAML is because I choose C#. And I choose C# because it has everything.

      10. Vectors, Vectors, Vectors

      Vector and Bitmap Differences

      A key benefit of WPF (the first XAML) over WinForms was that WPF was a vector-based rendering engine. It could leverage GPU acceleration and scale indefinitely. All XAML is vector-based, can leverage GPU acceleration and scale indefinitely. Boom!

      MSDN: WPF uses vector graphics as its rendering data format. Vector graphics—which include Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), Windows metafiles (.wmf), and TrueType fonts—store rendering data and transmit it as a list of instructions that describe how to recreate an image using graphics primitives… One of the key benefits of vector graphics is the ability to scale to any size and resolution.

      11. Attached Properties

      Dependency Properties made it in my first list. But I was remiss to not mention Attached Properties. Like Dependency Properties, they are property bags and can be bound and animated. But, unlike Dependency Properties, Attached Properties can be “attached” to controls (any control) without the control’s knowledge.

      Attached Properties let developers extend control behavior or store information. Canvas.* and Grid.* are familiar attached properties. Literally, they extend controls to meet the developer’s needs, easily.

      Hint: there is a built-in Visual Studio C# snippet (propa) that creates the basic structure of an attached property for you.

      imageMSDN: One scenario that calls for the creation of an attached property is to enable an object to specify a unique value for a property that is defined in a different class object model. The defining class can read this value at run time after the various objects are created in relationships in an object tree.

      Remember the pain

      Native and third party controls deliver 99% of what your applications needs. With attached properties you extend behaviors without work-around or non-standard implementations. Problem solved.

      12. Control Templates

      Control templates remind me of OuterHtml but without losing the functionality of the element. XAML developers, using Control Templates, turn controls (visually) into anything without losing its underlying behaviors. It’s like a Transformer (the good kind!).

      As a result, we see scroll bars looking like candles, radio buttons like chilies, and textboxes like televisions. Textboxes can be Images, Grids can be Radio Buttons, whatever you need! The real advantage is when you want to “tweak” a control by inheriting its template and adding some extra something your application needs. If you can dream it, XAML can do it.

      imageMSDN: In the XAML framework for Microsoft design style apps, you create a control template when you want to customize a control’s visual structure and visual behavior. Controls have many properties, such as Background, Foreground, and FontFamily, that you can set to specify different aspects of the control’s appearance. But the changes that you can make by setting these properties are limited. You can use the ControlTemplate class to create a template that provides additional customization. Here we show you how to create a ControlTemplate to customize the appearance of a CheckBox control.

      Remember the pain

      Native and third party controls provide significant benefit to your project but do not match the overall look and feel. With control templates, you can “skin” controls to fit your model. Problem solved.

      13. Data Template Selectors

      Data templates are fundamentally your ability to show data. If you are repeating data in some type of items control or individually in a content control, it’s the data template that defines how the data appears. Just set it or select it.

      imageMSDN: You can place a DataTemplate as the direct child of an ItemTemplate property element in XAML. You can also define a DataTemplate as a resource and then reference the resource as the value of the ItemTemplate property. The XAML usage that defines the content for creating a data template is not exposed as a settable property. It is special behavior built into the XAML processing of a DataTemplate object element.

      Even cooler? Let’s say you have a list of mixed data types – like dogs, cats, and birds. You may have a data template for each. It’s the data template selector that allows you to use ANY logic you want to determine which data template is used for a record. Go selectors!

      imageMSDN: The base DataTemplateSelector class is not used as an object element in XAML. However, it is a common scenario to derive a custom DataTemplateSelector, map a xmlns prefix for the custom class and its namespace/assembly, and then refer to an instance of the custom class as defined in a Resources block in XAML. This makes it possible to refer to the custom template selector class by x:Key, and use that reference to set the value of properties such as ItemTemplateSelector in XAML templates and particular visual states.

      Remember the pain

      You show the same data in multiple places in your application. Because data templates can be a shared resource, you don’t have to repeat yourself. Some lists contain a mixture of item types, using data template selectors you can swap the data template before it is applied. Problem solved.

      14. Linq & Lambda

      To understand Linq & Lambda is to understand what makes them different. Regardless, they have been part of the .Net family since Framework 3.5 (Visual Studio 2008). Although there is a learning curve, developers who use them swear by them for enumerable operations like sorting, filtering, and so much more. There are technical reasons why they improve on traditional techniques. Linq (Language integrated query) has exposed databases, XAML, objects, even custom sources like Twitter to .Net developers with super-easy interoperability.

      imageMSDN: LINQ introduces standard, easily-learned patterns for querying and updating data, and the technology can be extended to support potentially any kind of data store. Visual Studio 2008 includes LINQ provider assemblies that enable the use of LINQ with .NET Framework collections, SQL Server databases, ADO.NET Datasets, and XML documents.

      Lambda expressions are anonymous methods that build expression trees to accomplish some task. I think Lambdas are *the* sufficient reason for picking XAML, period. What I mean is, the productivity gains, the reduction code, they are all amazing. I could stop here. But I won’t.

      imageMSDN: When you use method-based syntax to call the Where method in the Enumerable class (as you do in LINQ to Objects and LINQ to XML) the parameter is a delegate type System.Func<T, TResult>. A lambda expression is the most convenient way to create that delegate. When you call the same method in, for example, the System.Linq.Queryable class (as you do in LINQ to SQL) then the parameter type is an System.Linq.Expressions.Expression<Func> where Func is any Func delegates with up to sixteen input parameters. Again, a lambda expression is just a very concise way to construct that expression tree. The lambdas allow the Where calls to look similar although in fact the type of object created from the lambda is different.

      Remember the pain

      Working with collections is a common task. You frequently have to filter, bubble sort, and distinct your lists. The work isn’t hard but the code is long and confusing to maintain. With Linq and Lambda the same solutions are just a few characters. Maintenance is easier. problem solved.

      15. It’s not standards-based

      Anyone noticed the return of browser wars? It frustrates developers and is expensive for companies. Why? Because browser subtleties are not ironed out, they are positioned as differentiators. And so it goes.

      This will never end you know. The HTML5 peace & harmony dream is a little naïve and a little stupid. Why? Because everyone wants to make their mark. Everyone wants to make their buck. And everyone sees themselves in a crusader.

      The disadvantage to HTML is specification; as noble and as comprehensive as it may be, it will always be incomplete, always in despite, and always speculative. The tides of opinion may prefer one implementation over another, but it will never matter. Non-standard is the density of standards.

      XAML, on the other hand, is less like democracy and more a dictatorship. The analogy is bitter but the reality is sweet. There is always a consensus, and it is what it is. It’s like comfort food. There is never wiggle room. Implementation is consistent across platforms.  Period.

      Remember the pain

      Writing HTML and JavaScript that worked the same on all systems and all browsers meant a lot of extra development and, eventually, the lowest common denominator. Your lines of code exploded. XAML applications are all the same and always look the same. Problem solved.

      16. Model view view model (MVVM)

      One of the most popular and easy to use design patterns is Model View View Model (MVVM). Believe it or not, MVVM is from XAML! True. Check out this article snippet:

      MSDN Mag: In 2005, John Gossman, currently one of the WPF and Silverlight Architects at Microsoft, unveiled the Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) pattern on his blog. MVVM is identical to Fowler’s Presentation Model, in that both patterns feature an abstraction of a View, which contains a View’s state and behavior. Fowler introduced Presentation Model as a means of creating a UI platform-independent abstraction of a View, whereas Gossman introduced MVVM as a standardized way to leverage core features of WPF to simplify the creation of user interfaces. In that sense, I consider MVVM to be a specialization of the more general PM pattern, tailor-made for the WPF and Silverlight platforms.

      It’s easy to love MVVM. It’s appeal explains its popularularity. It’s abstraction and separation of duties is clean and simple. And, it goes with XAML like peanut butter and jelly.

      Remember the pain

      Adding data to your application used to mean adding complexity. But MVVM is a consistent, simple approach. Now there’s similarity across projects and development teams. Problem solved.

      17. Intellectual Property

      Intellectual property is a legal term, right? We’re all grown ups here. We know there is no software silver bullet to hide code or logic from prying eyes. Tempt the tech community and it’s game over. We can make it difficult, but that’s it. Let’s not pretend.

      So, this is a real problem. You or your company is paying real money to build a real product. Your solution, your approach, your code – it’s all property and it’s all worthwhile and worth money.

      If you take your keys with you when you into the mall. If you lock your house when you go on vacation. Any of those, then you understand the value of risk and value. You’ve spent the money and time. Why give it away?

      Having said that, we want to make it freaking difficult. 99% of all the IP snoops will stop at the first (maybe second) gate they hit. .Net developers have enjoyed dotfuscator for a long time. It makes .Net code run faster,sure, but also nearly impossible to reflect (reverse-engineer).

      Boom. JavaScript has a similar obfuscator, but really is just a minify engine. Minify. That helps. Good for JavaScript, but .Net obfuscation is significant, improves performance, provides error reporting, and so much more. Give me a choice. I choose .Ne obfuscation to protect my software investment.

      Techniques to protect IP (oh yeah, these are built in to the obfuscators!) – and makes it obvious why JS minify is more like a toy than real Intellectual Property protection: Symbol renaming, Overload renaming, String encryption, Tamper detection, Flow obfuscation, ILDASM suppression, Reflection suppression, Decompile suppression, Resource encryption, and Assembly encryption.

      Remember the pain

      Your code is worth time and money and you didn’t spend it to teach everyone else your magic. Using obfuscation, your intellectual property is protected. Problem solved.

      18. Service Proxy Generation

      When I call a cloud service, data is returned to me. Sometimes it is a string I parse myself, deserializing XML or JSON. I love to use Json2Sharp to save time (check it out!).

      The process is easy and fast.  But the bulk of well-designed line-of-business services are SOAP, not REST. For a WSDL-defined service, adding a reference in Visual Studio automatically builds the proxies for to interoperate and leverage client-side, typed classes.

      Unless you are paid by the hour (or the line), you will love the code generation in Visual Studio. (called T4 templates). Now, the interoperability is something you can assume. Best of all, updates or changes to service signatures is as simple as a right-click “Update Service Reference”.

      imageMSDN: A WCF client consists of a proxy that enables an application to communicate with a WCF service, and an endpoint that matches an endpoint defined for the service. The proxy is generated on the client side in the app.config file and includes information about the types and methods that are exposed by the service. For services that expose multiple endpoints, the client can select the one that best fits its needs, for example, to communicate over HTTP and use Windows Authentication.

      Remember the pain

      Manually accessing services meant your application was brittle and needlessly complex. Using Visual Studio service proxy generation creates your code for robust interaction. Problem sovled.

      19. The Desktop

      If you are building a skill, why not unlock every Microsoft platform? XAML does that. Best of all, learning XAML gives you both the ability to write awesome, touch-ready Microsoft design style apps, windows phone apps, and web apps.

      But, also use XAML for Windows 8 desktop applications (in WPF); reuse your C# in services, leverage it in web sites. XAML makes the most of your skills – even unlocking the desktop for custom LOB applications.

      Remember the pain

      Adobe Air and tech like HTML are cool but limit you too much. With the .Net framework and XAML you have the skills to build on every Microsoft platform. Problem solved.

      20. A Culture of Design

      WPF enabled it, Silverlight made it real, and it continues today through Microsoft design style. Any app, in any tech, must meet the needs of users, the business, and efficiency. That’s custom software’s definition of success. The latter, however, is best handled through User Experience and design.

      XAML, more than most, intentionally targets designers to get involved early and often. Its separation of UI and implementation is a huge first step. But, Blend seals the deal. Blend delivers designers tooling  designers specific to UI layout and interactions.

      MSDN: Depending on your own role in the development process, you might not interact with XAML much. The degree to which you do interact with XAML files also depends on which development environment you are using, whether you use interactive design environment features such as toolboxes and property editors, and the scope and purpose of your Microsoft design style app. Nevertheless, it is likely that during development of the app, you will be editing a XAML file at the element level using a text or XML editor. Using this info, you can confidently edit XAML in a text or XML representation and maintain the validity of that XAML file’s declarations and purpose when it is consumed by tools, markup compile operations, or the run-time phase of your Microsoft design style app.

      And here’s my point. Now that we (Microsoft) have extended Blend to serve HTML developers, too, everyone benefits. I won’t attempt to equate the functionality of Blend for HTML to Blend for XAML, but who’s counting? XAML, however, is steeped in a culture of design. It is the go-to UI for anything cool (think Silverlight & Surface) that Microsoft creates.

      Reality check: many software projects don’t benefit from a budget that affords a designer. Or, many projects don’t benefit from a manager who values design. XAML’s culture of design is a self-fulfilling prophesy, a kind of positive peer pressure. Because XAML focuses on UX, XAML projects often reflect this predilection – even without a formal designer. It’s not ideal, but it’s better. Really better.

      Remember the pain

      Most apps are ugly. Just admit it. And your’s might be part of the problem. XAML enables better design, but also fosters it. Slowly we are seeing better UX. Problem solved.

      21. Separation of Concerns

      In software engineering separation of concerns has a few different meanings: To some it means scope creep. To others it means maintenance nightmare. To others it means job security. But, to a few, it means encapsulation, components, and testability.

      Wiki: In computer science, separation of concerns (SoC) is the process of separating a computer program into distinct features that overlap in functionality as little as possible.

      Look, your mother’s cookies are not the reason your are fat. But, they are an enabler that makes it possible. XAML is not the reason for separation of concerns, other technologies allow the same principles with distinct implementations, but the fundamental structure of XAML enables it, too. And when you end up knee deep in SoC, you end up liking it.

      Listen, I am not talking about the shallow separation of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. I am talking about symbolic separation in software. This is Aspect-oriented programming; it partitions code based on duty, vertical domain, or use case. One is a black box of function, one is a black box of activity.

      Your architect can choose one over the other based on the latest magazine cover. 😉 Either way, both are important – and show up frequently and rightly in larger projects. And, of course, both are equally enabled by XAML and the underlying OOP code.

      Soap box: I am *not* talking about reuse here. Budgets are frequently subjected to developers chasing reusability. But developers rarely accomplish it, fellow developers rarely know about reusable components, and calcification sets in fast – reducing reusability to an expensive pipe dream. Yes, work to eliminate redundant code when possible; but, please, don’t target endless reuse. Just complete your task card and deliver a working product. Be proud of completion, not complexity.  </speech>

      Remember the pain

      Repeating yourself in software is sometimes okay, but typically just introduces needless maintenance costs. With Seperation of Concerns you get less redundancy. Problem solved.

      22. Inline Invocation

      XAML isn’t really markup, you know. XAML is a declarative UI referencing CLR objects, not page content, text, or layout. For example, placing a <GridView/> in XAML really is invoking the GridView control. The control then manipulates presentation. Built-in or custom, XAML references controls. This is what makes XAML powerful, but it is also why XAML provides inline invocation.

      Consider these classes:


      Such a structure is common to create a containers with data. When PEOPLE is invoked, data is generated by its constructor. Since we can invoke classes directly in XAML, our PEOPLE constructor runs before we ever debug the app! This gives us real data that really binds in our design surface – executing transitions, bindings, and repeaters inside Visual Studio.

      Here’s how we do it:


      In the code above, we are invoking a new instance of People. That instance is placed in the DataContext property of the Page. But we leverage the “d:” prefix which indicates XAML intended only for design time. As a result of this approach we have design time data that we know wont pollute our runtime experience. (This is an excellent way to implement MVVM with Design-time data)

      But XAML also allows us to set properties after our invocation. Imagine the same scenario but without a constructor that creates sample data. We can, instead, create the sample data we need in our XAML directly. This helps us manage the data to suit our Page’s use case.

      Like this:


      In the code above, just like before, we are invoking the People list. But in addition, we are invoking our own Person members of the collection. With every invocation we have the ability to specify property values and use the resulting instances as our design time data context. I love it. You will, too.

      Remember the pain

      Design time data let’s you manipulate our UI with a real context. Otherwise, you have to run everytime you want to see a chance. With inline invocation design data is a snap. Problem solved.

      23. Drawing Objects

      Path illustrationNo need for canvas. No need for SVG containers. Just stinkin’ draw – anywhere. That’s right, and the drawing capabilities in XAML are (and have been) flexible and vector-based.

      MSDN: The Path class enables you to draw curves and complex shapes. These curves and shapes are described using Geometry objects. To use a Path, you create a Geometry and use it to set the Path object’s Data property.


      In the code above, you can see the value of a design tool like Blend, no? I know Data could do it, but some of us need tooling. Nonetheless, the data attribute contains the definition for the arc. The rest are styling properties you use to make it look just so.

      Line, Ellipse, and Rectangle are all wrappers for the Path element – so common shapes can be easily integrated by XAML developers. XAML can draw any 2/3d shape and leverage any transform to give the perspective or movement (which can leverage animation) you want.

      MSDN: Because they derive from UIElement, shape objects can be used inside panels and most controls. The Canvas panel is a particularly good choice for creating complex drawings because it supports absolute positioning of its child objects.

      Remember the pain

      Not everything in your UI is going to be a rectangle. When you need a custom shape, there’s no need for third party libraries. Complex drawing is part of XAML. Problem solved.

      24. Event and Data Triggers

      XAML has the Routed Event. Consider this: a Routed Event can raise an event like a button’s click event, but it can also travel upward through the XAML visual tree (called bubbling). This allows containers to register for their children’s events.

      MSDN: A routed event is a CLR event that is backed by an instance of the RoutedEvent class and registered with the WPF event system. The RoutedEvent instance obtained from registration is typically retained as a public static readonly field member of the class that registers and thus “owns” the routed event.

      Here’s how Triggers look:


      But even better than Routed Events are Routed Event Triggers. On XAML controls, developers leverage Routed Event Triggers to listen and react to Routed Events. Routed Event Triggers can then start or restart waiting storyboards. In this way, developers can declare a response to user action(s) without code behind. The execution engine builds the implementation.

      MSDN: EventTrigger s apply a set of actions when the specified routed event occurs. For example, you may want to use EventTriggers to start a set of animations when the mouse pointer is over a certain user interface (UI) control.

      Remember the pain

      Interacting with the user is important but not always worth an additional code base. Using Event Triggers, your XAML can declare storyboard interactions directly. Problem solved.

      25. Cascading Styles

      XAML’s “cascading styles” are so much more than simple CSS classes. Remember in #22 where we discussed how XAML elements actually invoke CLR objects? <Style> is the same. And just like inheritance in Object Oriented Programming is a goliath benefit, Style inheritance is the ultimate!

      Aside: I talked bout BasedOn in a previous article

      Consider this:


      In the code above, I am creating two TextBox styles – each of the two (good/green and bad/red) inherit from the base. This allows me to maintain the complexity within the base, then adjustment it in the concrete styles that are based on it.

      Unlike CSS, I do not use multiple or nested styles or classes (confusing developers with an invisible priority tree), just the style I want. And every style can have a base or lineage of bases that create rich, themed and skinned interfaces that I can control programatically.

      MSDN: There are several ways that styles in WPF can be extended or inherited. Styles can be based on other styles through this property. When you use this property, the new style will inherit the values of the original style that are not explicitly redefined in the new style.

      Remember the pain

      Themes, skins, and styles are important to create a rich application but can make things complex and confusing. With style inheritence, we control the style tree intuitively. Problem solved.

      XAML developers can save time by knowing the deltas between the previous XAML development experience and what to expect in Microsoft design style. 

      1. The binding Mode is not TwoWay by default. OneWay is, even for TextBoxes. That means Mode=TwoWay needs to become something you type by default. Otherwise, you might start thinking that simple binding does not work when it really works just fine.
      2. The ImageBrush’s TileMode is missing because TileBrush is missing. The RadialGradientBrush and VisualBrush are missing. You can burn hours looking for these (like I did). As a result, you will be using more images than you typically would in your designs.
      3. There is no ability to PriorityBinding or MultiBinding in Microsoft design style(this was also true in SL). Combine that with missing StringFormat and TargetNullValue, though, and you will be using more converters than you might otherwise. Leverage MVVM for formatting, too.
      4. Like Silverlight, Loaded is the only RoutedEvent supported in EventTriggers. The error when trying any other event is confusing. In the end, it means most of your animation will be handled through VisualStates more than animating the style.
      5. At least in the Release Candidate, the editor reports a WindowsUIXamlBindingWrapper exception when attempting to bind anything to a control’s DataContext. This is only a design-time issue; You can continue developing – but with lots of blue underlines.
      6. It is not possible to bind the ColumnSpan or RowSpan of a DataGridViewItem to any value inside the DataGrid’s ItemTemplate or DataContext for to support VariableSizedWrapGrid. Instead, you must inherit from GridView, overriding PrepareContainerForItemOverride(). Note: I will blog about this one soon because it is complicated.
      7. To animate properties that cannot be hardware accelerated, you must set EnableDependentAnimation which explicitly allows this, and acknowledges the resulting animation is CPU-based. Otherwise, your animations are ignored (no error).
      8. There is a new method argument property called CallerMemberNameAttribute (you might not have even known that arguments could have their own attributes) which sniffs out the calling method or property’s name. This is useful to implement INotifyPropertyChanged. Cool.
      9. To implement a Flyout you need to use the Popup control
      10. To implement a Flyout/Popup you need to write the “placement” logic
      11. RequestedTheme in App.xaml cannot be set per-page
      12. Search for Callisto if you are looking for a date picker
      13. You cannot debug bindings like in SL5 (commonly asked)
      14. Color Picker is not available with the default controls provided in Windows Store Apps project.