Since launching 14 months ago the response to Windows App Studio Beta has been nothing short of incredible. From small business owners to skilled developers learning the basics of our platform, our more than 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. And, App Studio is being used in schools around the world to teach the basics of app building and coding, and with many small businesses to build out their app presence.
With today’s release of Windows App Studio beta, we are introducing several new, highly requested features.
Windows Phone 8.1 Sideloading
When generating a Windows App Studio app, choose universal 8.1, turn on the slider for installable package, scan the certificate and the app, and check it out on your Windows Phone device. You can quickly test the new app you’ve created and share it with other App Studio members.
9 new languages added
Windows App Studio’s home page, How-To documentation, and app generation are now available in 9 additional languages including Chinese (simplified and traditional), English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. If you choose one of these 10 fully-supported languages for publication, the .appx package will include a localized resource file that will be used in the App Bar text, as well as the About Page. For additional language support, visit our How-To page to learn how to add your own resource files.
New Page Layouts
New app layouts are built specifically for PCs and tablets and allow you to assign multiple columns of data instead of the single pane that is usually used for Phone apps. The universal Windows apps you create in App Studio will be better optimized for phone, tablet, and PC.
We’ve also added a new Detail Layout optimized for text that uses a solid background and allows end users to change the font size to improve reading in apps. This layout will open a page in a modal-like window with better margins.
The Image Detail Layout will show your image at full-screen and will adapt to the landscape-portrait mode of your device. Also, the text associated with the image is now opaque to further enhance the look of your pictures.
Static Collections and Html
The data sources that allow for offline use (HTML and Static Collection DataSources) store data inside a C# class that can make it difficult to update the content once it has been generated. Now, all static resources are stored as json or html files in the Shared/Assets/Data folder, which allows for easier modification of generated code that displays content in the app.
Data Bind in Design Time
If you have tried to make modifications to the XAML code that App Studio generates, you may have found that you need to run the application to see your changes. In this release, we leverage XAML capabilities to add data binding at design time. This will allow you to make modifications to the layouts and see the real data, even with Blend.
Note that this works not only for static collections, but also for dynamic ones as well.
Although our “Data assembly” is not Xamarin-ready yet, we have been refactoring the generated code to make it easier to build using the Xamarin PCL profile.
For more helpful tips, check out the home page of Windows App Studio Beta. You’ll notice we’ve added App Studio News, which provides links to training videos delivered by power users around the world, presentations on specific features, and articles highlighting App Studio users.