Microsoft details how iPad app development compares to Windows 8

Microsoft details how iPad app development compares to Windows 8

Summary: In an apparent attempt to attract iPad developers, Microsoft has posted a case study comparing iPad app development to Windows 8 Metro-style tablet development.


Microsoft officials have posted to the Windows Dev Center a design case study that compares and contrasts iPad app development with Windows 8 Metro-style app development.

(click on image above to enlarge)

"In this case study we want to help designers and developers who are familiar with iOS to reimagine their apps using Metro style design principles. We show you how to translate common user interface and experience patterns found in iPad apps to Windows 8 Metro style apps," explain the case study authors in their introduction.

The case study isn't a how-to. It is more of a visual comparison, showing how an iOS-based photo journal app works and looks on the iPad as compared to a Windows 8 tablet. The brief article focuses on the differences in layout and navigation; commands and actions; orientation and views; notifications; and touch gestures.

The article also touches on contracts. Microsoft officials first outlined the contracts concept publicly at the Build conference in September 2011. Since then, they've published a bit more guidance on contracts to the Windows Dev Center.

A Windows 8 contract, as Microsoft describes it, "is like an agreement between Windows and one or more apps. Contracts define the requirements that apps must meet to participate in these unique Windows interactions." Developers of Metro-style apps -- a k a WinRT-based apps -- are encouraged to make use of these contracts.

In a March 2012 piece on app contracts and extensions, the team itemized the different available Windows 8 contracts. These include:

App to app picking: Designed to "help users pick files from one app directly from within another app"

Play To: Helps users play digital media to connected DLNA devices from within an app

Search: Adds a search pane to an app "so users can search not only your app's content but content from other apps as well," according to Microsoft's description. "Users can also transfer the search query itself to other apps."

Settings: Provides in-context access to settings that affect the user's experience with an app

Share: Meant to help users share content from your app with another app or service, and vice versa. "Participating in the Share contract means that you don't have to write extra code or provide other developers with an SDK for your app just to share content," Microsoft officials explained.

If you've heard Windows execs claim that "the more apps you put on Windows 8, the more powerful and richer your experience gets," it's their hope that new Windows 8 apps will incorporate contracts that is behind this claim.

A couple more quick links of potential interest to Windows 8 developers and wannabes:

(Thanks to Softie Harry Mower for the link to the iPad vs. Windows 8 case study.)

Topics: Windows, Apps, iPad, Microsoft, Mobility, Operating Systems, Software


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Windows 8 tablets factored in my decision not to buy the new iPad

    While the improvements in the new iPad are not worth $600 to an iPad 2 owner like me, I have to admit that I'm holding off on further Apple purchases until Windows 8 comes out. iPad has not been as productive a device at work as I had hoped though it has been a great entertainment device. When Windows 8 tablets come out, I'm hoping to get an entertainment device that also allows me to be productive.

    So far, everything I've seen from Microsoft about Windows 8 is very encouraging.

    EDITED so as not to offend DannyO_0x98
    • rather than wait

      you should use android instead of these inferior products.
      The Linux Geek
      • Android is good...

        I love my Asus Transformer and dock. It's been the closest and happiest merger of a desktop working environment and entertainment tablet yet. I work and play and, for the most part, I'm happy...

        That said, if Asus releases a Windows tablet that is constructed to dock similarily I'll happily jump ship. ICS's version of multitasking isn't bad for what tablets are now, but really don't measure up in the same way Windows 8 achieves it. It's an organic evolution of the desktop experience into the tablet interface, and I can't wait to get my hands on one.
      • No thanks

        I see Windows 8 as having the potential to combine the best of iOS and Android. Since the iPad 3 will not fix what I find wrong with the iPad 2 (I did not get the productivity on the iPad 2 that I expected) then waiting for Windows 8 is easy.

        For people who don't have a tablet today and are looking for primarily a media consumption device without big productivity expectations, the iPad 3 would probably be a fantastic purchase.

        EDITED so as not to offend DannyO_0x98
      • LG is not a developer

        I've published apps for the iPhone and WP7 and the Windows development experience is significantly better. In fact, the only reason I had to develop an app for the iToys was to make sure a standard HTML 5 app ran correctly, as Apple still won't implement autoplay for video and audio unless you sell it through their store.

        Not really interested in Android as it inevitably becomes which version I'm developing for and a series of complaints from people where the app doesn't quite work on their version.

        You can complain all you like about tiles (perhaps if we called them big, dynamic, animated icons people would be happy), but apps just look better on Win 8 and the interface guidelines make sense. Most importantly, my app will run on desktop, laptop, slate and phone.
    • I think being a Microsoft fanboy

      Was a larger factor. For one that has never like Apple products (your own words), saying that you'd rather have a windows tablet is normal. 90%+ of the Ford fans, hate Chevy Trucks. It is more about the love they feel towards their truck, as opposed to any real shortcoming with Chevy trucks. Or to put it in a more relevant way: those that slammed the iPhone for no Micro SD slot, no removable battery, and having to buy Apps from Apple's App store. Only to have them praise the Nokia Lumia 800, with no Micro SD slot, no removable battery, and having to buy Apps from the Microsoft App Store
      Jumpin Jack Flash
      • What?

        "For one that has never like Apple products (your own words)"

        I bought, and liked an iPhone 4 and an iPad 2. I even said so right in my post:
        "though it has been a great entertainment device" (talking about my iPad 2)

        And my iPhone 4 has been great as an entertainment device AND a productivity device. My iPhone 4 has given me absolutely everything I expected to get when I bought it. No complaints.

        Sorry buddy but you'll have to come up with something better than "you never like Apple products", a quote that you made up since those were never my words. I've never complained about no Micro SD slot, no removable battery, or having to buy apps for a curated app store.
      • toddbottom3

        You have consistently made claims under several screen names, starting with NonZealot, in each of your comments you make the claim that Windows is so much better. Unlike you i do not troll the internet making false claims to justify my purchases. You lengthy dissertations on how Windows Phone 7 was 100 times better than iOS, or Android, have been proven to be the rantings of a Zealous Fanboy several times. To a point that several Windows enthusiasts have even denounced you.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
      • Have proof?

        "You lengthy dissertations on how Windows Phone 7 was 100 times better than iOS, or Android"

        Can you link to all these lengthy posts I wrote about how much better WP7 was than iOS or Android? If not, I think it will be plain for all of ZDNet to see that every single post you make needs to be seriously questioned for accuracy.
    • Holdin' out

      I'm holding out to see what Windows 8 for ARm has to offer, too, before dropping $$ on an iPad or a Tranformer Prime. I'm open to all three.
      • I have no problem with that

        It is when a fanboy (Toddybottom, toddbottom, toddbottom3,etc.) makes the claim of being objective. This character has a long standing hatred of Apple, and Apple products. I may not like Microsoft's current, and past business practices, but there are situations that Microsoft's products simply fit the requirements better, and thus are the logical choice.
        Jumpin Jack Flash
    • ROI?

      Really? All capital expenditures above 200? 100? 500? When calculating the investment, do you adjust down from the purchase price to allow for an entertainment factor?

      Or maybe you've bought this as an asset of your small business (and are carefully logging personal and business use to properly deduct from taxes.) If so, I hope you are taking into account depreciation: I'd suggest a three year schedule. Though that raises the question, would you figure the ROI on one of the F's of FF & E (the iPad being an E, of course), such as a chair?

      Here's the - as the teen accountants would say - toe-tally aw-Sum thing: your ROI in years 3 through infinity are through the roof!!!!!! Just like my ROI did the elephant dance when a first-gen MacBook Air I got for free manifested itself as the best testing platform for some code I'm going to ship and get paid for shortly. Mind you, I don't think that way. I was just happy that I had on the shelf a slower, smaller device that matched what the users seem to have.

      Or are you just saying that you ended up using the iPad for work less than you anticipated and that disappointed you, and you chose to decorate the point with quasi-accounting because, ironically, you thought it made your opinion - about which I have no problem - more erudite and/or less mockable?
      • You got it exactly right

        "Or are you just saying that you ended up using the iPad for work less than you anticipated and that disappointed you"

        Sorry I offended you with my use of the term "ROI". What term would have made you feel better about my post? Here, I'll even edit that term out of my post. Hopefully that makes you all happy inside.
  • Good for MS. I hope this aids MS in it's attempts to gain

    some more traction in mobile. In the end competition is always healthy.

    Pagan jim
    James Quinn
  • But Windows 8 is no iPad

    The should also demonstrate how easy it is to writer viruses for Windows mean while iPad is still virus free
    • it's meanwile.

      one word.
      • It's actually, "meanwhile".


        Yeah, I know, probably a "typo".
    • As long as you're here, ZDNet isn't virus free

      William Farrel
    • Jailbreak

      Ipad two on ios 4.3.3 got pwnd by opening a pdf file, an old fashioned fly by download leak, been years since I have seen one of those !
  • Yes, let's develop on a platform that will be subject to viruses/malware

    Windows tablets will be subject to the same vulnerabilities as their desktop counterparts.

    When people start having their tablets act up in public and malfunction due to viruses and malware like regular Windows systems do I'm sure the Apple crowd is going to sympathize with them.