Microsoft makes series of updates to Windows App Studio beta

Sean Dudley
Sean Dudley
By Sean Dudley on 17 October 2014
Microsoft makes series of updates to Windows App Studio beta

Microsoft has unveiled a series of new features for Windows App Studio beta.

14 months on from the launch of the online app creation tool, two million users have created just under 1 million app projects and published almost 50,000 apps to the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store.

As well as being suitable for small business owners and developers, the studio is also being used in schools globally to teach and develop app building and coding skills.

Among the new features is Windows Phone 8.1 Sideloading. When generating a Windows App Studio app, users can select universal 8.1, turn on the slider for installable package, scan the certificate and the app, and check it out on a Windows Phone device. The app can then be tested and shared with other App Studio members.

Nine languages have been added to the studio, and new app layouts specifically for PCs and tablets have been built, allowing users to assign multiple columns of data rather than the single pane that is usually used for Windows Phone apps. The apps created in the App studio will also be better optimised for phone, tablet and PC.

A new Detail Layout has been added, which is optimised for text and uses a solid background. This helps end users to change font sizes and improve reading in apps.

Previously, the data sources that allow for offline use stored data in a C# class, meaning it was difficult to update content once it had been generated. Now, apps’ static resources are stored as json or html, filed in the Shared/Assets/Data folder, making the modification of generated code easier.

Other improvements include the leveraging of XAML capabilities to add data binding during the design tie, and the refactoring of generated code to make it easier to build apps using the Xamarin PCL profile.

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