Developing Windows 8 Apps for the Windows Store offers an unprecedented opportunity for developers and partners! As reported earlier this month on Blogging Windows, more than 60 Million Windows 8 licenses have been sold and over 1,700 certified systems are available from our OEM partners for Windows 8 and Windows RT. All this activity certainly fuels eager demand by consumers and professionals alike for new Windows 8 Apps.
Do you have a great idea for a new Windows 8 App, but don’t yet have hardware for running Windows 8 and the associated development tools? In this article, I’ll walk you through the process of building your Windows 8 application development lab in the cloud for FREE by leveraging our Windows Azure FREE 90-Day Trial Offer.
Note: In this guide, we’ll be building a Windows 8 application development lab environment using Windows Server 2012 because Windows 8 is not currently supported for running as a VM on the Windows Azure cloud platform. By following the steps in this guide, you’ll be customizing Windows Server 2012 to behave like the Windows 8 client UI so that you can develop and test new Windows 8 Apps.
Using the process outlined in this article, you’ll be able to build a functional application development lab environment that will be accessible for approximately 375 hours of compute usage each month at no cost to you during the 90-Day Trial Offer period. You can use this lab environment to develop, test and submit your new Windows 8 Apps to the Windows Store.
After the 90-day trial period has ended, you can choose if you’d like to convert to a paid subscription. If you choose to convert to a paid subscription, this lab environment will cost approximately $0.16 USD per hour of compute usage ( that’s right – just 16 cents per hour ) plus associated storage and networking costs ( which can typically be less than $5 USD per month for a lab of this nature ). These estimated costs are based on published Pay-As-You-Go pricing for Windows Azure that is current as of this article’s date.
But wait, there’s more!
The following is required to complete this step-by-step guide:
In this step-by-step guide, you will learn how to:
Estimated time to complete: 45 minutes
Provision a new Windows Azure VM to run Windows Server 2012 as the basis of your Windows 8 App Development lab environment by performing the following steps:
In this exercise, you will configure Windows Server 2012 running in a Windows Azure Virtual Machine to use Windows 8-style user interface settings so that you can use this environment for developing and testing Windows 8 Apps.
In this exercise, you will logon to the virtual machine as the Developer user account configured in Exercise 2 and install the necessary Windows 8 App Development Tools for developing, testing and publishing new Windows 8 Apps.
Your virtual machine environment is now prepared for developing, testing and submitting new Windows 8 Apps!
Our functional Windows 8 App Dev lab environment is now complete, but if you’re like me, you won’t be using this lab environment 24x7 around-the-clock. As long as the virtual machine is provisioned, it will continue to accumulate compute hours against your Free 90-Day Windows Azure Trial account regardless of virtual machine state – even in a shutdown state!
To preserve as many of your free compute hours as possible for productive lab work, we can leverage the Windows Azure PowerShell module to de-provision the lab virtual machine when not in use and re-provision the lab virtual machine when it is needed again. In this exercise, I'll walk through the steps to spin our lab environment up and down on-demand using Windows PowerShell, but if you're using a non-Windows platform locally, you can also perform these same steps with our Windows Azure command-line tools.
Once you’ve configured the code snippets, you’ll be able to spin up your Windows 8 App Dev lab environment when needed in as little as 5-10 minutes!
Note: Prior to beginning this exercise, please ensure that you’ve downloaded, installed and configured the Windows Azure PowerShell module as outlined in the Getting Started article listed in the Prerequisite section of this step-by-step guide. For a step-by-step walkthrough of configuring PowerShell support for Azure, see Setting Up Management by Brian Lewis, one of my peer IT Pro Technical Evangelists.
Note: You can also manually de-provision existing virtual machines from the Windows Azure Management Portal web page by deleting a virtual machine. To manually re-provision a virtual machine, create a new virtual machine from the Windows Azure Management Portal web page by selecting the virtual hard disk in the gallery that was previously used by the virtual machine, rather than selecting an operating system image.
Your Windows 8 App Dev lab environment is complete! Starting building your new Windows 8 App by leveraging these FREE programs and resources as your next step!
Kudos to my friend and colleague, Adam Grocholski, for collaborating with me on the development of this Step-by-Step guide.
Be sure to check out these additional resources:
Keith Mayer is a Senior Technical Evangelist at Microsoft focused on Windows Infrastructure, Data Center Virtualization, Systems Management and Private Cloud. Keith has over 20 years of experience as a technical leader of complex IT projects, in diverse roles, such as Network Engineer, IT Manager, Technical Instructor and Consultant. He has consulted and trained thousands of IT Pros worldwide on design of enterprise technology solutions.
Keith is currently certified on several Microsoft technologies, including Private Cloud, System Center, Hyper-V, Windows, Windows Server, SharePoint and Exchange. He also holds other industry certifications from VMware, IBM, Cisco, Citrix, HP, CheckPoint, CompTIA and Interwoven.
You can contact Keith online at http://aka.ms/AskKeith.