Recently, DataArt released a demo-app for Windows 8. The app represents DataArt as the company, provides contact information, lists office locations, tells about success stories and enumerates areas of industrial and technological expertise.
In summer 2011, a developer preview version of Windows 8 was released, and so was Visual Studio 2011. Shortly after that, we decided to make a demo application along the lines of what has already been done for iOS and Windows Phone 7.
On the main page of the created app there is a map that marks the geo-locations of different objects (e.g. DataArt clients). Windows 8 apps are all supposed to use the Metro UI style, and the majority of time and effort was spent on designing Custom Control with the map. We had to review the design carefully to ensure its compliance with the Windows 8 style and we were forced to admit that it needed some improvements to fit the style perfectly. It was not surprising, because most of the concept was borrowed from our demo applications for iOS, which was not connected with the Metro UI and the changes in design led to total rework of the main page with the map
However, while we were making the application, Microsoft released a version of Consumer Preview. Guided by the special documentation from Microsoft, we ported the application and the transition to RC - Release Candidate - was so much easier.
The final concept for the application was the following: general information was placed on the homepage, followed by a section for customers, employees, offices and the gallery. The application is implemented as a “hub with spikes”: the homepage has a list of items and you can dig into detailed information on each of these items by clicking them. Sections for customers and employees are equipped with filters and support semantic zoom. The application interface supports all display modes: portrait, landscape and attached mode.
The certification of the final product was pretty fast and we were receiving updates about the status of application from Microsoft within one or two days. During the process of certification, we had to fix a few small things pertaining to the Metro UI style.