How The Bing Team Built Apps For Windows 8


Written by  Harpreet | 22 January 2013
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microsoft appsNow that Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 8 is out, the company is looking for ways to inspire developers to build apps for it. While there are some solid apps on Windows 8, the OS users could still use some more well designed and well thought out apps. Microsoft's Bing Team works on building News, Weather, Finance, Sports, Travel and Maps apps for Windows 8.

Microsoft recently shared, in a blog post, how the Bing team worked on these apps. The blog post is aimed at inspiring more developers to help them build world class applications for Windows 8.

Microsoft's Jigar Thakkar writes, "Several members of the Bing team formed an apps team approximately one year ago to deliver a set of apps powered by Bing for Windows 8. The focus of these apps is to keep users informed by delivering fast and fluid experiences, with content from multiple sources." He further added that all these apps were optimized for touch as well as tablet devices. Meanwhile the apps can also be enjoyed on systems using a  keyboard and a mouse. Thakkar claims that the company has spent several months to ensure each of these apps are "world-ready".

Here are some of the highlights shared in the blog post:

Platform - All the Bing apps, except for Maps, were written in HTML5, JavaScript and CSS. The Maps application was written with XAML/C#. It clearly shows how Microsoft is keen on making a point to the developers that they can build apps for Windows 8 using their existing skills in web technologies.

Custom Controls - The Bing development team had built several custom controls on the top of the existing UI controls that are provided with the standard Windows SDK. These custom controls were used in each and every application to give them a consistent look.

Using Key Windows 8 Features - Every app that the Bing team developed makes use of the key features available in Microsoft's latest operating system. This includes a rich snap mode experience that allows applications to be used side by side amongst other applications, support for live tiles, standard settings and globalized experience.

Windows 8 Contracts - The applications make use of Windows 8 contracts such as the Share contract that allows users to share any information they see with their contacts using other Windows 8 applications such as Mail, People etc. The applications also support Print contract to enable direct printing on any installed printers as well as the Search contract to allow users to find relevant information.

Performance: The team at Bing worked real hard on improving the performance of all these applications. The main work on improving the end-user experience took place in between the RTM release and then subsequent general availability of the operating system. Performance, as per Microsoft, is a key aspect for any developer writing applications for Windows 8 to provide a rich user experience.

Harpreet

Harpreet

Harpreet is a technology journalist based in India. He currently writes on Mobile, Technology and Startups. He is an avid reader and a passionate writer. Prior to ToolsJournal, Harpreet used to write for a major English news daily.

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