The Midweek Download: Oct. 10th Edition – Countdown to Windows 8 GA & Tips and Tools for Building Windows 8 Apps

In this edition of The Midweek Download, we’ve got stories on Windows 8 General Availability, the Multilingual App Toolkit for developing Windows 8 apps, plus tips for designing Windows Phone apps.

Countdown to Windows 8…On Oct. 26, Windows 8 will be available to people worldwide. And we’re excited! To celebrate, we have several events taking place in cities all around the world. Just a few weeks ago, we held a coding marathon with developers in Bangalore, India—which set the Guinness World Record for Most Participants in a Software Development Marathon in One Location. Coming up, there are launch events happening in cities around the world including Shanghai, Tokyo, Paris, New York City and many more. Don’t worry if you didn’t get an invite, we’ll be doing a live webcast of the event, too! To see what else is in store, head over to this post from Brandon LeBlanc on Blogging Windows.

Updating our built-in apps for Windows 8. We’re super excited to be approaching general availability (GA) of Windows 8 and Windows RT. With thousands of new apps in the Store, there are a lot to choose from, and tens of thousands of developers have been very busy around the world creating new apps. Across Microsoft, we’ve been busy since August adding new features and improving the apps that come with Windows, and will be updating these apps before GA. Gabriel Aul from our program management team details the lineup of built-in apps and their features in his post on Building Windows 8.

Multilingual App Toolkit for developing Windows Store apps using Visual Studio 2012. Windows 8 was designed to work better in more locales all over the world. Working with developers like you, we can complete these globalized experiences by releasing apps that are relevant in more locations around the world. By translating using machine translation or localizing using a human translator, you can make your Windows Store app available in more languages and reach more markets and larger audiences. While making apps available on a global scale has always been a priority, with Windows 8 this process is easier than ever. Learn more about this toolkit at the Windows 8 app developer blog.

The evolution of Windows Phone memory management. Earlier this year, Mike Battista posted some great info about how to develop apps for lower-memory phones. There’s also some excellent best practice guidance on the Windows Phone Dev Center. In this post on The Windows Phone Developer Blog, Andrew Whitechapel provides the big picture so you can understand the reasoning behind the guidance we’ve provided and help ensure your apps continue to work well while the Windows Phone memory management story evolves.

Tips on designing a great Windows Phone app. On Oct. 4, Larry Lieberman brought Windows Phone designer Jon Bell into the studio of Inside Windows Phone to talk about what makes an app design good or bad and how to make it better. Jon, by the way, is also a developer, which we think makes his take all the more interesting. In the video, Jon explains our design team’s philosophy of “fierce reduction” and how to make the best use of animation, pivots and other hallmark Windows Phone visual elements. Check it out at The Windows Phone Developer Blog, and make sure to look over some of the design-related resources Larry also calls out on the Channel 9 site.

Microsoft Research Digits: 3D vision wearable computing concept. The 25th ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) is underway this week in Cambridge, Massachusetts. UIST brings together researchers and practitioners from diverse areas that include traditional graphical and Web user interfaces, tangible and ubiquitous computing, virtual and augmented reality, multimedia, new input and output devices and more. That’s a good check list against some of the work that goes on in Microsoft Research. Check out the video below and read more on Next at Microsoft.

Announcing improvements to the Windows Azure Portal. On Monday, Scott Guthrie announced the release of a number of enhancements to the new Windows Azure Management Portal. All of these improvements are now live in production and available to start using immediately. Check out Scott’s blog for a detailed walk-through of these features.

Catch Windows Azure at TwilioCon, Oct. 16-18 in San Francisco. TwilioCon is right around the corner and we’re very excited to participate in several ways! Scott Guthrie will join Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson on the main stages Wednesday October 17th at 9:00 am (PST) for Jeff’s keynote address. Expect a fantastic demo of how Twilio apps and Windows Azure work better together and, as always, a red polo. Twilio and Windows Azure are happy to offer 25% off registration for members of the Windows Azure community – get the scoop and the discount code at the Windows Azure blog.

In case you missed it earlier this week…

Microsoft helps W3C create single site for Web standards. Web innovations are emerging at a relentless pace, and Web developers face the daily challenge of finding the accurate information needed to build great websites that work across the gamut of browsers and devices. Too often, their quest can feel like a wild goose chase. Enter Web Platform Docs, a new centralized community resource for Web developers who use HTML5, CSS and other open Web standards to build websites. For the rest of the story, head over to Microsoft News Center and check out the video below from the Web Platform Docs community.

Microsoft continues collaboration with Toyota. Microsoft announced on Oct. 1 that Toyota Motor Corp. has chosen Microsoft’s technology platforms to build its communications and collaboration infrastructure for the Toyota family of companies worldwide. Microsoft will help Toyota provide these services to more than 200,000 employees around the world during the next two years. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., and other affiliates in North America began the deployment of Microsoft Office 365-dedicated cloud services as their exclusive environment in June 2012. In Japan and other overseas affiliates, Toyota will be leveraging a hybrid model, with on-premises editions of Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Lync and Windows Server. Read more about it over on the Microsoft News Center.

That’s it for this edition of The Midweek Download! Thanks for reading!

Posted by Jeff Meisner
Editor, The Official Microsoft Blog