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February 22, 2016

Windows App Studio February 2016 update – agenda layout, searching in apps, and other new features

The Windows App Studio team is excited to announce a new update to the service that went live this morning, and this update is packed with robust new features.  This update is the first of 2016 and contains new features, some bug fixes, and improvements in the user experience and documentation. With over 200 million Windows 10 devices out in the wild, Windows App Studio provides a great way to reach them directly with your content.

One of the major themes that we’ve been focusing on lately is providing great solutions for small businesses, creatives, and content producers that want to showcase their work.  With that goal in mind, many of the new features are designed to help showcase information and provide more advanced user-focused features so you can better engage with your customers and audience.

New feature highlights:

Grouped layout – Windows App Studio now supports grouping data based on a data point.  This feature lets users represent their in groups based on certain criteria.  This could be used when displaying a list of products grouped by brand or other data point.  It can also be used to group things based on date or time.  For example when used for the events template, this lets the user create an agenda or schedule.  This feature introduces a lot more flexibility into how you can display your data.


Date & Date/Time data type – We introduced two new data types for our collections: Date and Date/Time (Date + Time w/ minutes precision).  This allows you to append date and time info to any collection entry, which in turn enables a lot more experiences such as organizing information by time.  To support this feature, there is a new date/time picker, new calendar formatting options, and new calendar actions so the end user can add events to their personal calendars. In addition to the collections data source, Date and DateTime data types can be used among all the data sources of Windows App Studio that have date times fields (RSS, WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), allowing you to take advantage of the DateTime formats and use these data sources with the new Grouped Layout.


Search within app –With this release, we’re delivering a long-requested feature: enabling search within an app generated in Windows App Studio.  This lets users search through an app to find specific content, which is particularly helpful when there is a lot of data.


Collection favorites –Now your end users can have the option to save any data from your collections as their favorites into a favorites section.  If you enable this for their users, as they browse your collections they can mark certain entries as their favorites to save for easy browsing later.


Service improvements – In this release cycle, we also improved the back end of the App Studio service to make your experience smoother.  This included updating the app generation model to use VS2015 Update 1 (which means developers can target more devices) and improved and updated how-to documentation.

We also are excited to announce that later this month we will kick off a contest to showcase the great Windows 10 apps you are creating with Windows App Studio.  For the contest, we will select the best Windows 10 apps that are published to the store, and 6 of them will be featured on the Windows App Studio homepage!  We are still finalizing some of the details on the contest and will post official rules and details in the next two weeks, so check back for it soon!

There are a ton of great features packed into this release and we only touched on the surface of everything these new features enable.  We’ll be going through some deep dives into each of these over the coming weeks.  As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on the new features.  So please let us know your thoughts on the forums or User Voice.