Skip to main content

Developing for WinRT and Windows8 – Basic Concepts

image I gave a bullet point overview about Build conference here in my last past. If you havn’t yet got Windows 8 Dev Preview up and running, go grab it here. There are several ways to get up and running with Windows 8.

In my case, I downloaded the ISO image of Developer preview with tools (the 4+ GB One), Extracted it to a USB drive and made the USB drive bootable, Booted from that and then installed Windows 8 on a Local HD Partition in my home machine. Now, it is dual bootable, Windows 8 and Windows 7, and all is well.

Let us get in to the business. Windows 8 comes with WinRT, a new object oriented native/unmanaged API for developing ‘Metro’ applications for Windows. WinRT APIs are expected to replace the Win32 APIs. WinRT projects types using meta data, and is fully object oriented, so you can access WinRT directly from managed languages like C#. Here are a couple of interesting reads about WinRT.

WinRT is going to the ‘the runtime’ for Windows, across multiple devices like PCs, Tablets etc. You can develop Windows Metro style applications on top of WinRT in


1 - C#/VB.NET and Xaml

    • Xaml libraries with WinRT are now re-written in C++, and don’t have any .NET dependencies
    • WinRT XAML is a subset of the earlier XAML libraries that was available with .NET, and doesn’t support some features like DataTriggers etc as of now
    • Presently, you can access only a subset of the .NET BCL/Runtime from your C#/VB.NET + XAML WinRT application.
      • This doesn’t even support .NET Client Profile, it is just .NET core profile with access to a minimum set of .NET namespaces, combined with XAML namespaces now in Windows.UI.
      • The entire CLR will be loaded at the time of execution, but you’ll be able to access only a subset of that. As simple as that. This is to ensure that you are running in a sandboxed environment, and CLR comes into play as a thin layer only for binding your calls to WinRT at run time. As WinRT is object oriented and has managed data, you are any way developing directly against WinRT

2 - C++ and XAML

    • If you are developing in C++ and XAML, your code will be compiled directly to an unmanaged library.
    • I assume this provides the maximum performance advantage, as your code is directly compiled to native code.

3 - Javascript + HTML5

    • From Javascript, you can call WinRT methods directly and in that sense it is native. The UI is rendered in HTML5. If your application is a Javascript + HTML5 application, it will be run in a ‘shell’ which uses the same rendering engine in IE10.

You may continue to develop .NET/C#/Silverlight applications for classic desktop scenarios, but if you need to develop Metro applications, then you have to develop against WinRT.

Other than the XAML UI services, Win RT also Provides APIs for

  • Communication – Sockets, Streams and all
  • Devices – Geolocation, Sensors, Near Field Communication etc
  • Media – Playback, Capture, Effects
  • Other OS Services – Application services, Threading, Memory Management, Authentication etc.

Popular posts from this blog

MVVM - Binding Multiple Radio Buttons To a single Enum Property in WPF

I had a property in my View Model, of an Enum type, and wanted to bind multiple radio buttons to this.

Firstly, I wrote a simple Enum to Bool converter, like this.

public class EnumToBoolConverter : IValueConverter { #region IValueConverter Members public object Convert(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture) { if (parameter.Equals(value)) return true; else return false; } public object ConvertBack(object value, Type targetType, object parameter, System.Globalization.CultureInfo culture) { return parameter; } #endregion }

And my enumeration is like

public enum CompanyTypes { Type1Comp, Type2Comp, Type3Comp } Now, in my XAML, I provided the enumeration as the ConverterParameter, of the Converter we wrote earlier, like

Creating a quick Todo listing app on Windows using IIS7, Node.js and Mongodb

As I mentioned in my last post, more and more organizations are leaning towards Web Oriented Architecture (WOA) which are highly scalable. If you were exploring cool, scalable options to build highly performing web applications, you know what Node.js is for.After following the recent post from Scott Hanselman, I was up and running quickly with Node.js. In this post, I’ll explain step by step how I’ve setup Node.js and Mongodb to create a simple Todo listing application.Setting up Node.jsThis is what I’ve done.1 – Goto, scroll down and download node.exe for Windows, and place it in your c:\node folder2 – Goto IIS Node project in Git at, download the correct ‘retail’ link of IIS Node zip file (I downloaded the already built retail package, otherwise you can download and build from the source).3 – Extract the zip file some where, and run the install.bat or install_iisexpress.bat depending on your IIS Version. If you don’t have IIS in…

Top 7 Coding Standards & Guideline Documents For C#/.NET Developers

Some time back, I collated a list of 7 Must Read, Free EBooks for .NET Developers, and a lot of people found it useful. So, I thought about putting together a list of Coding Standard guidelines/checklists for .NET /C# developers as well.As you may already know, it is easy to come up with a document - the key is in implementing these standards in your organization, through methods like internal trainings, Peer Reviews, Check in policies, Automated code review tools etc. You can have a look at FxCop and/or StyleCop for automating the review process to some extent, and can customize the rules based on your requirements.Anyway, here is a list of some good Coding Standard Documents. They are useful not just from a review perspective - going through these documents can definitely help you and me to iron out few hidden glitches we might have in the programming portion of our brain. So, here we go, the listing is not in any specific order.1 – IDesign C# Coding StandardsIDesign C# coding stand…