Tag Archives: App Studio

Windows App Studio being sunset

We want to directly thank each of the users of Windows App Studio and we want to be sure you have a smooth transition off when Windows App Studio service ends on December 1, 2017. What will happen to App Studio afterwards? Windows Template Studio is the evolution of Windows App Studio. We took our learnings from the code generation engine and the existing wizard to provide a strong foundation for our code generation and developer experience in Windows Template Studio. Best of all, it is open source over at http://aka.ms/wts.

Details on the transition

Windows App Studio has been a free, online app creation tool that allowed enthusiasts and developers to quickly build complete Windows Universal Apps. Applications using Windows App Studio then could also be downloaded, extended and compiled with Visual Studio and submitted to the Windows Dev Center.

Any user of Windows App Studio will need to download your projects and data prior to December 1, 2017.

We’ll provide multiple email communications with users between now and December 1, 2017, but we want to be upfront and clear that you have a path forward to continue building great apps for Windows 10. We’re doing a phased approach with the sun setting process. Here are the three critical dates:

  • July 15, 2017
    • Only existing users can sign in
    • Finished application projects can be downloaded
    • No new dynamic collections data sources allowed to be created
    • Dynamic data will be allowed to be downloaded with a migration path provided
  • September 15, 2017
    • Application editor will stop working
    • Dynamic collections API will stop providing data to your existing applications
  • December 1, 2017
    • Windows App Studio will be shut down

Once again, we want to thank each of the users of Windows App Studio, and we view the smooth transition for users critical.

Windows App Studio June ’16 Release: Harnessing the wealth of the web with the new REST API Data Source

There are two things we love most here on the Windows App Studio team: First, we love adding new features that increase the capabilities of the apps you can create. Second, we love when we can deliver on your requests. With that in mind, we’re quite excited about today’s release because it enables a ton of new capabilities, and more importantly, we’re delivering on some of your longest standing requests for new features.

This massive update also provides a bit of insight into where we want to take Windows App Studio going forward. We spent a lot of time this year thinking about how we can provide the best value to you through this tool, and we came to the conclusion that helping you bring the wealth internet services into your UWP apps (with no coding!) and giving you multiple outlets to share your apps is the best place to start.

Here at Windows App Studio, we have the philosophy that anyone should be able to create an app, and that coding knowledge shouldn’t necessarily be a barrier to that. Creating documents on the computer was far more complex when the technology was introduced decades ago, but now it’s easier than ever (especially with Office365) and the use cases for documents are plentiful to the point where everyone has reasons to make them. Apps, especially Universal Windows Platform apps, should enjoy that same future. What was once complex should become easy and the use cases of apps should become far broader than they are today.

Today’s release represents an early step in our promise to you to bring the best of the world of apps to you, in an easy and fast way, so you can create with the minimal limits possible. Check out the new release here.

The New REST API Data Source

The major feature we’re releasing today is a REST API Data Source, which is one the most requested features in the history of Windows App Studio. Much like the current RSS Data Source, this feature is open ended, meaning you can connect it to almost any open REST API service available on the internet. REST APIs are the backbone of how data gets passed around the web. If these are new concepts to you, an easy way to think about it is that APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) let different pieces of software talk to one another and REST (Representational State Transfer) is an architecturally structured way of “packaging” those data communications.

For the first version of this release, we’re supporting GET commands for REST APIs (meaning it only pulls information) and have support for headers, as well. This data source is more complex than others, so we have a post with instructions on how to use it posted on our Windows App Studio blog, which you can find here.

There are REST APIs available for almost any type of data and almost every major service has an API for developers. For example, if you want to add event/concert listings to your app, you can use an API from a service like SeatGeek or SongKick to pull in event information for a region or filter you specify. The app you generate with this data will stay up to date each time it’s opened and makes a new request for data.

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We plan to do a lot more work to this feature going forward to make it more powerful and a lot easier to use and provide easier integrations for the most popular REST APIs. The current state of the feature is definitely more complex than it will be going forward, but can be used by a non-developer right now without any major issues. So play around with it, look up API documentation of the service you’re integrating to make sure the requests are formatted correctly, and remember that you can’t truly break anything, so experiment freely. J

Hosted Web App Capability Declarations

Hosted Web Apps created with Windows App Studio are quite popular as it’s the fastest and easiest way to bring your web app to UWP. Today’s release expands on the feature and lets you declare capabilities of your app, letting you can take advantage of the Windows 10 OS features with your server-side code so your web app can act like a native Windows UWP. You can now enable things like Live Tiles, Notifications, Cortana, and a lot more.

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This release also includes a massive amount of smaller improvements and features. Since this is already a marathon of a blog post, here are the highlights:

Tool Improvements

Simulator Improvements: Redesigned detail pages, Carousel & Slider View.

Ordering & Paging: Configuration Wizards in Edit Section to allow users to configure ordering and paging in all data sources.

Dark & Light Themes: Revised and improved.

Generated App Improvements

New Shell Control: Improved navigation and nav pane.

New Detail Pages: Improved layouts, better reading and content display taking advantage of HTML Block.

New About page: Improved the About page.

Performance improvements: General improvements for apps. Reduced memory and increased loading speed.

Carousel & Slider View: Updates to these components in generated apps.

Pagination & Infinite Scroll: Allows loading of more content from data sources, removing the fixed number of items (forty) retrieved previously.

Ordering: Allows ordering of the content as established in the app configuration. This also leads to a better experience in Live Tiles (if you have a Live Tile based on a collection ordered by a date field, when you add a new row it will appear in the live tile).

Open Source Library and Control Improvements

The Windows App Studio Libraries have seen healthy adoption since we announced them at //build. We hit the first major milestone of merging a pull request from a member of the Windows App Studio community. The update improved the RSS Data Source so it can now properly handle the “yandex:full-text” property in feeds which are popular in Russia and other countries. Other library improvements are the following:

HtmlBlock: Added a new control to our XAML library that transforms HTML and renders it as XAML, which improves the readability of HTML content in the generated apps as well as the overall application performance.

InfiniteScroll: Created a new control to allow apps to make pagination for a rich user experience.

Animated GIFs:  Included support for Animated GIFs in our ImageEx control.

Carousel Redesign: Improved experience and better UX integration in carousel control.

Slider View: The older small carousel has been improved and got a name change for differentiation

REST API Data Source: The new data source is now in our libraries. This is a general purpose data source able to retrieve content from any REST API service. This data source allows ordering and paging.

Data Sources Ordering & Paging: All data sources now support Ordering & Paging.

Data Sources Language aware.

Other Things

Unfortunately, we have a bit of bad news this release as well. Due to policy changes by Instagram, we were forced to remove the Instagram data source. They no longer want their users’ content accessed outside of their 1st party apps without explicit permission, so they shut off the capability of other apps to consume Instagram content if the apps do not get prior approval. Sadly, this means that all current implementations of the Instagram data source no longer work and should be removed from your apps and projects.

We hope that you love the new features in this Windows App Studio release and we can’t wait to keep up the work and take this tool to the next level. For us to do that best, we need your help. So please let us know your thoughts and requests on the forum and User Voice, and if you’d like to contribute code to the Windows App Studio libraries, please do!  You can find the libraries on our GitHub Page.

Thanks for reading and happy app building!  We can’t wait to see all the creative things you’ll make.

Windows App Studio December 2015 Update

It’s the end of the year and the holiday season in many parts of the world, so we have one more release this year to celebrate all the App Studio enhancements in 2015, such as the launch of Windows 10 and the November Update. Today’s Windows App Studio Beta update brings some exciting new features that we can’t wait for you to use. There are a couple of big new features, some significant design related improvements, and fun and useful new templates.

The new features in this release focus on things that help empower small businesses, professionals, and organizations to create great apps for Windows and better connect with their customers.

  • WordPress Data Source – We introduced a new WordPress data source that lets you connect your app to your WordPress blog. It pulls in content and displays it beautifully in your app so you can free your blog from the web and get it in front of 110+ million Windows 10 users by publishing it to the Store.
  • Related Content – Did you ever want to show related content in a section (such as speaker information for an event listing in a Convention app, or comments from a blog post)? Now it can be easily done in Windows App Studio Beta. This feature opens up new use cases and we will show them off in new templates in the future.
  • Microsoft Advertising – It’s great to have people using and enjoying your app, but it’s even better when those eyeballs translate into revenue! Now included is the Microsoft Ad control, which means you can now place advertising in your app to make money from people using it.

Recognizing that great design is core to quality user experience, we also put time into building features that customize of the look and feel of the apps created in Windows App Studio. These features let you set the look and feel you want for each section of your app, taking advantage of media-rich designs. :

  • New Carousel Control – Sometimes you want to showcase a selection of images in your app. The Carousel lets you display a number of hero images in a single section that behave like a slideshow.
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  • Improved Section Design Features – We added a few more features to help make your apps look great. Now you can change the background and adjust the hero image for each section individually and choose how each section appears on the default/home section of your app.

What’s the best way to get started with these features? With the new templates we’re releasing! These templates show off the new features and make it easy for you to become familiar with and use them.

  • WordPress Template – Showcases the new WordPress data source and is an excellent way for you to break out of the web and bring your WordPress blog to the Windows platform and Store
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  • Events – This template uses the new Related Content feature to help you build an informative app for all of your event attendees.
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  • My Shop – Leverage our new design features in this template and show off your catalog of products. This template also adapts nicely to portfolio situations for photographers, artists, designers, and anyone who creates or sells content.
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We would love to hear your feedback on these new features and see the great ways you take advantage of them for the apps you build. As always, you can find us on the forums and User Voice. Also, if you have a great story to tell about your experience using App Studio, please tell us. Have a great rest of 2015 and we look forward to an exciting 2016.

Let’s build some apps!

-Windows App Studio Team

Windows App Studio Release – Windows 10 Store Package support and other new features

The Windows App Studio Windows 10 Store Support Release is now available, allowing you to easily create and publish a universal Windows app in record time with no code required. This release builds on the foundation created with July’s App Studio Windows 10 Preview release. You can directly submit your app to the Store through Dev Center, now with no intermediate step in Visual Studio required. In addition, this release brings a host of other new features.

New Features:

Windows 10 Store Package with Screen Shots

Windows App Studio now generates a Store package for your Windows 10 apps, including automatically created screenshots for the Store listing.

Immersive Simulator (full screen web view)

No one wants to preview their app only in a tiny viewport. Included with this release is a big full screen simulator into Windows App Studio. Now it’s easy check out the app you’re building and interact with it in a full screen mode as you’re working on it.

Windows App Studio Collection App

Wouldn’t it be great if you could easily manage the contents of a collection for an app without making any update to the app itself? Now you can with the newly released Windows App Studio Collection App available here. This app lets you easily manage the collections for all your apps in real time without the need to go to the Windows App Studio website. Update the data in the app and it will update the data in your relevant projects and apps with no additional actions required.
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Live Tiles Editor

You can now design dynamic Live Tiles for your Windows 10 apps from within Windows App Studio. This will work on any Windows 10 app you create with the exception of Hosted Web Apps. With this tool, you fully customize your Live Tiles to make your app more dynamic for your customers when they view it from the Start menu or on a Windows 10 mobile device.
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…and more, including:

  • Advanced theme and icon editors
  • Better sideloading support for Windows 10 apps
  • Hero Image Editor
  • Improvements to the UX in apps generated with added visual features
  • Initial Windows 10 IoT support
  • Windows App Studio NuGet packages
  • Source code on GitHub for libraries and sample apps

As many of you already know, with Universal Windows apps the same app can run on PCs, Mobile devices, and Raspberry Pi 2s and other IoT devices. Windows Universal apps generated in Windows App Studio will share all of this great functionality and they’ll run on a wide range of devices.

For those of you with existing Windows 8.1 projects in App Studio, with just a couple of mouse-clicks, you can upgrade your project to Windows 10. All you need to do is to navigate to your Windows 8.1 Projects page, and click on the “Convert” icon for any app(s) you’d like to upgrade. It really is that easy.

Enjoy the new Windows App Studio release and let’s go build some apps!