Microsoft: Building Metro apps for ARM the same as for Intel PCs

As company preps Windows OS to run on ARM hardware, it assures developers that their x86/64 experience will translate

Microsoft vows that developing a Metro-style application for upcoming Windows ARM PCs is the same as developing Metro applications for PCs running Intel processors.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Microsoft corporate vice president Jason Zander pledges an identical development experience. "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," Zander said. "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," Zander added.

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Microsoft's upcoming Visual Studio 2012 IDE will support ARM development, Zander stressed. "Regardless of whether you're using JavaScript, C++, Visual Basic, or C#, if you've built a Metro-style app that targets x86/x64, then you already know how to build one that targets ARM," Zander said. "You use the same Metro-style project templates, which provide the starting point for building an app."

Metro is the tablet-style look and feel set to appear in Windows 8 and Windows RT, which is the version of Windows for ARM. Microsoft has not announced a formal release date for the OSes, but they could arrive in a few months. Metro is already available for the Windows Phone OS and Xbox games.

With Visual Studio itself still consigned to only running on Intel machines, developers will need to leverage remote debugging, Zander said. They must first install Remote Tools for Visual Studio RC (Release Candidate) onto the ARM device. A developer license for ARM also is needed. "Visual Studio will package and deploy your app and then launch it on the ARM device. Making all this happen requires a fair bit of work in MSBuild, the compilers, and the package wizard, but this all happens transparently and allows you to just focus on building your app," he said

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