You’ve probably heard about the new Windows on ARM PCs that will be coming to market with Windows 8. If you’ve been following the TechEd North America coverage, then you’ve also seen these devices in the keynote. In this post, we’re going to cover what this all means for developers.
For an introduction to Windows on ARM, I recommend reading Steven Sinofsky’s post on the “Building Windows 8” blog: Building Windows for the ARM processor architecture. As Steven mentions, ARM testing devices are currently available to a small partner program. However all developers can start preparing their Metro style apps for ARM PCs today.
In this blog post, I’ll walk you through developing an application to run on an ARM PC. What you’ll find is that developing an app for Windows on ARM is the same as developing a Metro style app for x86/64 PCs; that is, the same Metro style app will run on either hardware. Also, many Visual Studio paradigms you’ve come to know from building other application types (designing, testing, debugging, etc.) will carry over to your experience of building Metro style apps. In addition to the walkthrough below, I’ve also recorded a video so you can see this in action:
As Windows hardware has evolved over the years, we've been updating Visual Studio to help you build applications that target each version. For example, today you can use Visual Studio to build apps that run on x86 and x64 PCs. You can also use Visual Studio to build apps that run on ARM hardware, including Windows Phone and Windows Embedded Compact. With Windows 8, you will now be able to build apps that target Windows on ARM. (To clarify, Visual Studio itself will not run on ARM, but it will enable you to build apps that run on ARM devices.) For those interested, I've provided details on the engineering process at the end of this post, including some history on how we were able to leverage our experience with other chips in the past.