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Android to Windows 8 | Part 1

Setting up the Development Environment

Over the past several weeks I’ve been working on some content I’m excited to finally share with you through a series of blog posts. This series will introduce you to Windows 8 development from an Android developer’s perspective. Through the course of the series you’ll create your first app. It won’t be anything pretty, but you’ll learn the ins and outs of the development environment, how to create a simple user interface, and how to perform navigation. Along the way you’ll see some Android Hints that will help make it easier for you to transition your existing skills to the Windows platform. You’ll also see some Visual Studio Tips to make you more productive in your development environment. Good luck!

Your first task when it comes to Windows 8 development is getting your development environment up and running. It’s a three step process:

Install Windows 8
You can’t create Windows Store apps on anything but Windows 8. You have several options. If you’re running a Windows 7 machine, you can either upgrade your existing install, create a separate partition for you Windows 8 install, or create a bootable vhd with Windows 8. If you’re running Max OS X you can use Boot Camp to create a Windows 8 partition for dual booting, or you can use software like Parallels to run a Windows 8 VM inside of OS X. On a Mac I prefer Parallels as it allows me to easily move back and forth between a Windows and Mac environment. If you go down this road make sure you have plenty of RAM on your machine. My MacBook Air has 8 GB of RAM and it works well for me.

Install Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8
Download and install Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows 8 from http://aka.ms/getvs12now. Visual Studio is the IDE, similar to Eclipse, that you’ll use for creating Windows Store applications. Please note, there are a five Visual Studio Express products available. Make sure you download and install the one specifically for Windows 8.

There are two options for installation, a web installer and a disk image. A description of each is below, choose the one that works best for you:

  1. Web Installer – this is a small initial download that will download the necessary components during the installation process. Download at http://bit.ly/XLyHZ5.
  2. Disk Image (iso) – This is the full installer, no additional downloads are required. Download at http://bit.ly/YdGiz4.

Get a developer license for Windows 8
A developer license lets you install, develop, test, and evaluate Windows Store apps before the Windows Store tests and certifies them. Licenses are free, acquisition is automatic and you can acquire as many as you need. You will need a Microsoft account to obtain your developer license. You can read more about Microsoft accounts and sign up for one, if you don’t already have one, at http://bit.ly/Nt0efj. Getting the license is easy. The first time you run Visual Studio 2012 on your development machine you will be prompted to obtain a developer license. Developer licenses expire every 30 days, and Visual Studio will prompt you to renew your developer license if it has expired.

That’s it! You’re good to go. In the next lesson you’ll learn how to create your first Windows Store project.

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More Stories By Adam Grocholski

Hey there! My name is Adam Grocholski, and I'm a Technical Evangelist at Microsoft where I spend time focusing on Windows, Windows Phone, and Windows Azure. I live in the frozen tundra of Minnesota and run thinkfirstcodelater.com. You can also follow me on twitter at @codel8r.