This past weekend, Skyline Technologies held a Windows 8 Store app developer camp. As I stated in a previous post , our associates were directly involved in what apps to build. We collectively decided on six different apps with teams ranging from four to eight developers. We also had a team of designers that helped make the apps have a great look and feel. This was a very organic process in order to provide a great learning experience and a chance to work with colleagues outside of traditional engagements.

I believe Skyline Technologies has nailed it with this camp. It offered a fun environment for learning a cutting edge technology. It brought associates together and helped team build in a great way, as this post on our camps discusses. There is still work left to do before associates get their hands on a Windows Surface RT device because we need to get these apps to the Windows Store! The passion I witnessed over the weekend has continued as I’ve already seen teams sending emails, scheduling review meetings and staying on top of the finishing tasks.

As a teaser, each app falls into one of the categories listed below.

  • Games
  • Productivity
  • Recreational / Leisure
  • Sports
  • Child Organizations
  • Non-profit for community stewardship

For app technology stack, three are HTML, CSS and Javascript based and three are based on XAML and C#. I tried to gather as much feedback from the teams as I could. Most of the feedback from the XAML based teams was along the lines of, “I feel like I’m just doing XAML and C# and picking up bits specific about Windows 8”.  This drives home the point that if you know those languages already, you can get up to speed on making Windows 8 Store apps with your existing skill set. On the HTML, CSS and Javascript side there seemed to be more of a learning curve. I believe this is because WinJS is brand new and required research to figure out certain things. Also, for developers that may be used to an object-oriented language some of the patterns differ or are not needed in a functional language, which can bring up interesting architectural decisions. Finally, custom CSS that has been introduced for Windows 8 required reference material to often be used.

It’s worth mentioning that all of the teams used TFSpreview and we didn’t have any issues. It was great to see some of our project managers / scrum masters trying out the new features and tools.

I’ll have a wrap up post once the apps make it to the Windows Store so that everyone can check out what they offer, but in the mean time here are some photographs of the weekend.

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