So as I’ve been preparing for my presentation at the upcoming Chicago Code Mastery event I’ve gotten to put a significant amount of time into both the XAML and HTML5/js sides of WinRT design/development with Blend 5 and VS 2012.
While I can’t say the XAML side of things has gained much over the previous versions, the HTML5/js half of Blend5 is truly amazing. In the past designing for a .js application was one step shy of brutal on a design team. With Blend 5 we finally have a WYSIWYG editor that
- lets you see and style dynamic code driven content (and also lets you interact with the code to bring up hidden content areas),
- doesn’t make a horrible mess of your CSS or HTML,
- and uses the same render engine as the platform your final code will be running on (ie10 also drives the WinRT display).
Blend as a whole has also picked up a few cool Win8 centric features. The Platform panel lets you render your app in the 4 different viewmodes (landscape, portrait, snapped, filled) as well as a variety of resolutions, there is support for Win8′s app bar, and pre-built ex-metro themed transition animations.
I do have one big chunk of caution to this story and that is setting up my environment was pretty awful. Take a look at the guidelines from Microsoft’s VS compatibility page:
That last line under Not Supported is rough when that’s the only copy of Windows 8 you have. The VM I ended up with is running the 64bit enterprise preview from sometime early last year. FOR REALS. I will be running a demo off of it in the Microsoft Chicago office in 2 weeks, “Authenticate Me” warnings all a-blazin.
Check back in a few weeks for the code samples and other goodies I’m creating for my demo!