Why Front-End Developers Should Build Apps for Windows 8
- The Open Web as a Platform
- Reasons to Build Windows Store Apps Using Web Technologies
- Final Thoughts
With Windows 8, it's possible to "go native" with the web, but the question remains: Should you? Does it make sense to develop for Windows 8 using HTML5, or should you use "tried-and-true" languages like C#, VB.NET, and C++? Does Windows 8 really make use of transferrable skills that front-end developers will benefit from, or is the platform so specific that all benefit goes out the window with the first API call?
I believe that every front-end developer can and should consider building apps for Windows 8, and in this article, I'll share why. I'll start by discussing how the web has evolved, and how Microsoft has embraced this evolution. Then, I'll give you three key reasons why I think building apps for Win8 is a no-brainer for front-end developers.
The Open Web as a Platform
Fast-forward 13 years. Today, there's no question that the web is a platform. Many of the things that we used to consider to be essential desktop applications now exist as web properties. And those original "essential desktop apps?" They're gone. Microsoft Streets and Trips? Now, we have Google Maps for that. Quicken? No sir, Mint.com is where it's at. What about Encarta, that old digital desktop encyclopedia? Can you say Wikipedia?
Even as the definition of computing expands to include mobile uses enabled by phones and tablets with more power than the Gateway computer I lugged off to college, the web continues to push and prod and assert itself on all devices. To begin with, most of today's top-drawer mobile browsers—Safari on iOS, Chrome for Android, IE10 on Windows Phone 8, and Firefox Mobile—are nearly as capable as their desktop counterparts.
With Windows 8, Microsoft has taken a similar approach, but they've bundled it right into the OS. For the first time, Redmond's flagship operating system enables developers to build mobile and desktop apps for the Windows Store using the front-end tools we know and love. While some out there might be skeptical of the claim that the web is a true application platform, there's no question that Microsoft has bought in. Let's talk now about a couple of reasons why you should, too.