Windows 8 Development - Environment

02 June 2014


For those of you that are not fans of Windows 8 (this includes me), this will be disappointing. But, you cannot use Windows7 to develop Windows Store Applications. This led me to run Ubuntu as my primary OS and run Windows 8.1 via VirtualBox whenever I work on Windows Store applications. I have found the transition from Windows 7 to Ubuntu to be a much smoother transition for me personally than being frustrated over waiting for Windows 8 to respond. This setup is working well for me and I can quickly switch between Windows 7 and 8.1 while keeping all of my browser tabs and documents open in Ubuntu. Obviously, this will not work in companies were the IT department has restrictions. But, it is worth mentioning.

Windows 8 Store Applications

To create a Windows 8 Store application, you must use Visual Studio 2012 on Windows 8 or 8.1. You cannot create a Windows 8 application from VS2013. However, you can maintain a Windows 8 app from Visual Studio 2013. I find this extremely puzzling. In a consumer/home environment, the upgrade from 8 to 8.1 was pushed out via automatic updates. Therefore, this inconvenience is not an issue. But, in a corporate environment where the “Enterprise” version of the OS is installed, the IT department has to manage the upgrade. This takes time, and landed my team into the situation where we were asked to created it for 8.1 only to find out that it would be at least two months until their devices were updated. This meant an unexpected Amazon order for the cheapest hardware we could find with a similar resolution to develop and demo on.

Windows 8.1 Store Applications

To develop applications for Windows 8.1, you must use Visual Studio 2013 on a computer running Windows 8.1. Windows 8 applications can run on Windows 8.1, but not the other way around. Again, in a corporate environment, this can lead to issues. However, with Windows 8.1, you can target both 8 and 8.1.