In 2011 I heard the first rumors about Windows 8 and knew immediately what my next book would be about. Unlike Designing Silverlight Business Applications that captured years of experience writing Line of Business (LOB) apps in Silverlight, this book would be an introduction to an entirely new platform. My goal was to take what I knew and loved about Silverlight, find its similarities in the new platform, and then highlight what I felt were some amazing developer experiences. It was important to get to market fast, so through several iterations of the Windows 8 releases (including changes to terminology) that required substantial rewrites of content and a rapid release cycle, I managed to release Building Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML as Windows 8 was released to the world.
By necessity, this book introduced developers to the new platform but didn’t dig into best practices (there were none yet) or get very deep (there simply wasn’t time). I vowed to release another book that would fill in the missing pieces and provide a comprehensive overview of the entire Windows Runtime. Because anyone can read the documentation and reference the API, my intent with this book was to make it example-driven and provide thousands of lines of code for you to integrate and use to kick-start your own Windows Store apps. The result, according to Principal Program Manager Lead for the XAML Platform at Microsoft Corporation Tim Heuer, is that:
“This book doesn’t just focus on singular concepts, it also provides end-to-end perspective on building an app in WinRT. It is one of those essential tools for Windows developers that will help you complete your software goals sooner than without it!”
I was relieved at the thought of not rewriting most of the book three times, as I had to do with the first one, but Microsoft once again proved too fast for me. What sounded at first like a relatively minor release (Windows 8.1) managed to integrate enough changes to warrant revisiting every one of the ten chapters I had completed to date. With an eye on //BUILD in 2014, I reached out to Windows Store expert and Wintellect colleague John Garland to help me finish the remaining chapters. John and I have worked on several projects together (and incidentally two of them won awards for their groundbreaking use of XAML for touch and mobile), and he helped write pilot code for several of our customers who were early Windows 8 adopters, so I knew he was the right person to bring a fresh set of example projects and content-rich chapters. As a bonus, he is also well-versed in cloud technology and brought this firsthand knowledge to bear in the chapters that deal with connecting to Azure.
With Windows 8.1 and the Windows Runtime, Microsoft has successfully demonstrated their commitment to the development ecosystem by providing us with a rich, vast array of APIs, SDKs, and tools for building incredible apps that run on a variety of devices. I was absolutely amazed when I discovered how easy it was to connect to a web cam, open a web socket, download files in the background, or profile my app to find “hot spots” that I could target to improve performance using WinRT. I was delighted to find that Portable Class Libraries (PCL), something I evangelized heavy as a solution to target multiple platforms in the Silverlight and WPF days, was evolving to embrace Windows Store apps. The first class support for mature design patterns like MVVM makes it easier than ever to write stable, reusable code that runs on a variety of target devices.
“Programming the Windows Runtime by Example is a must-have book for any professional developer building apps for WinRT/Win8.1, especially the LOB space for modern apps on Windows 8.1. For me it is the reference I provide my team building LOB applications for WinRT. Jeremy and John have done a great job putting together a great reference and educational book on professional development for the WinRT platform.” – David J. Kelley, CTO and Microsoft MVP
In Building Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML, I shared my intent to guide you through the process of learning the new territory quickly to begin building amazing new applications using skills you already have with C# and XAML. In this book, it is our goal to take you beyond that initial exposure and help you dive deep into all the various APIs WinRT makes available. Our goal was to hit virtually any scenario possible using the Windows Runtime—not just provide code snippets, but full projects you can use to experiment, learn, and use as a starting point for your own apps. The most rewarding feedback I received from my first book was hearing from authors sharing with me their excitement having their first Windows 8 apps approved for the Store. I hope this book not only helps take those apps to the next level, nor simply inspires your imagination, but empowers you to implement solutions you only dreamed possible using this incredible new platform. I know I speak for both John and myself when I say we look forward to hearing back from you about what you were able to achieve with Visual Studio, Windows 8.1, and this reference on your desk.
Don’t take my word for it – download the sample chapter (PDF) and read the full forward and table of contents along with a chapter about networking. Visit the code website to download the full source code. Finally, when you are ready, invest in your copy and let us know what you think!