Microsoft partner reveals intricacies of coding for both Win RT and Win 8

By Peter Gothard
13 Nov 2012 View Comments
Asus Vivo Tablet RT Windows 8

Getting to grips with Windows RT's development environments, and converting full-strength Windows 8 apps down to its cut-down RT partner is "nuanced" work that requires "quite a lot [that developers] will need to implement specifically", Microsoft cloud partner Aditi's CTO, Wade Wegner, has told Computing.

Speaking at Aditi Technologies' GoCloud 8 conference in London today, Wegner described Windows RT as "a new stack that's come out of the Windows division, and in many ways it's similar to the .net framework and platforms, but there are some nuances."

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"I was taking an old app that I'd built for WPF [Windows Presentation Foundation] and moving it into RT," said Wegner, "and I found that some of the things, for example painting stacking controls, didn't exist, and it would throw up exceptions like ‘not implemented'."

Wegner suggested that "there's still going to be quite a lot you'll have to implement specifically for in Windows RT run time when not just using the Windows 8 app itself".

However, Wegner believes that there is still hope as the RT platform evolves.

"A couple of things have been done to make it easier to build common base libraries that work across [both platforms], such as the portable class libraries," said Wegner.

"This is a way you can start to build a library of functionality, and then specify in what environments you want it to run. So you can say ‘I want this to run in Silverlight, Windows 8, and it will compile down to a subset of functionalities that can work across all those platforms."

The danger here, of course, could be that a deference to RT may hold back the Windows 8 environment's chances to reach its full potential.

Wegner remains optimistic, however.

"I don't think it's going to hold back a lot," he said. "I think the biggest driver here will be the market for people who want Windows RT applications. For example, it's painful to develop for iPad and iPhone. I don't like it. Yet lots of people develop for that because there's a huge opportunity to do it.

"I think if the market's there for Win RT devices – Surface and all the ARM devices in the tablet style – regardless of the challenges, people will use it."

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer admitted only yesterday that sales of Microsoft's Surface RT, which launched two weeks ago, have been "modest".

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