Android to Windows 8 Part 4: Running the Windows Store Application

March 19, 2013

Over the past several weeks I’ve been working on some content I’m excited to finally share with you through a series of blog posts. This series will introduce you to Windows 8 development from an Android developer’s perspective. Through the course of the series you’ll create your first app. It won’t be anything pretty, but you’ll learn the ins and outs of the development environment, how to create a simple user interface, and how to perform navigation. Along the way you’ll see some Android Hints that will help make it easier for you to transition your existing skills to the Windows platform. You’ll also see some Visual Studio Tips to make you more productive in your development environment. Good luck!

In the last lesson you explored the Windows Store project Visual Studio created for you. Now it’s time to run and see what it looks like. There are three different ways you can run the application:

  1. On your local development machine.
  2. In the Visual Studio simulator.
  3. On a remote machine.

In this lesson you’ll learn how to run the application in each of these ways.

Local Machine

To run the application on your local development machine, simply click the button in the toolbar. This will do the following:

  1. Build your app.
  2. Package your app.
  3. Deploy (install) your app to your local machine.
  4. Start the app.

Of course, there’s not much to see yet, but at least your app is running! If you go back to your Windows 8 Start Screen and scroll all the way to the right, you’ll see your app is installed.

Visual Studio Simulator

If you don’t want to deploy your app to your machine, you also have the option to use the simulator included with Visual Studio 2012. The Simulator is much like the emulator you can use with Eclipse and Android. Unlike the Android emulator, you don’t need to go through the process of creating a virtual device (AVD) – that’s already done for you.

To run your app in the simulator do the following:

  1. Click the arrow on the right hand side of the
    button in the toolbar.
  2. Select Simulator from the dropdown.
  3. Click the button in the toolbar.

This will do the following:

  1. Build your app.
  2. Package your app.
  3. Start the simulator.
  4. Deploy (install) your app to the simulator.
  5. Start the app in the simulator.

There are several reasons why you may want to run your app in the simulator as opposed to your local machine:

  1. The simulator allows you to simulate touch events, which is handy if your machine doesn’t have a touch capable monitor.
  2. The simulator allows you to change rotation from portrait to landscape to see how your app looks in various orientations.
  3. You don’t have to clutter up your dev machine with apps while you’re testing.

Remote Machine

Your third option is to run your app on a remote machine that is on the same network as your local development machine.

ANDROID HINT

This is similar to using a real Android device for testing.

 

This can be a little tricky to set up, but well worth the effort if you want to test your apps on ARM based devices (i.e. Microsoft Surface RT). Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Download and install the remote debugging tools from the Microsoft download center here: http://bit.ly/NJVxyq. Make sure you download the tools appropriate for the OS on the remote machine you’ll be using:
  • Windows 8 (x86) – Remote Tools for Visual Studio (x86)
  • Windows 8 (x64) – Remote Tools for Visual Studio (x64)
  • Windows 8 (ARM) – Remote Tools for Visual Studio (ARM)
  1. On the Start menu of the remote machine, choose Remote Debugger. When you start the remote debugger for the first time, the Configure Remote Debugging dialog appears.

  2. If the Windows Service API is not installed, choose the Install button.
  3. Select the type of networks that you want the remote debugger to communicate with. You must select at least one network type.
  4. Choose Configure remote debugging to configure the firewall and start the Remote Debugging Monitor.
  5. Once the Remote Debugging Monitor is running you’ll see it on the desktop of your remote machine:

    (Yes, this one is running on a Microsoft Surface RT device)

Now that the Remote Debugger is running, you’re ready to deploy your app to the remote machine. In Visual Studio do the following:

  1. Click the arrow on the right hand side of the
    button in the toolbar.
  2. Select Remote Machine from the dropdown.
  3. In the Remote Debugger Connections dialog that displays, find the machine you just installed the remote debugging tools on and click Select.

  4. Click the in the toolbar.
  5. At this point Visual Studio will do the following:
  • Build your app.
  • Package your app.
  • Connect to the remote machine.
  • Deploy (install) your app to the remote machine.
  • Start the app on the remote machine.

If this is the first time you’ve connected to the remote machine from Visual Studio, you might see the following dialog:

Just like when running apps from Visual Studio on your local development machine, you need a developer license to run apps on a remote machine. The process for acquiring a license is identical to the process you used within Visual Studio. Go to the remote machine and follow steps on the screen.

VISUAL STUDIO TIP

You don’t have to press the toolbar button to run your app. After you’ve selected where you want your app to run (Local Machine, Simulator, or Remote Machine) you can press F6 to simply run the app or press F5 to run the app in debug mode to step through code.

 

That’s how you run your first Windows Store app! Of course there isn’t much to see yet. In the next lesson you’ll start building out the user interface.

 

Previous Posts in this Series

  1. Setting up the Development Environment
  2. Creating Your First Windows Store Project
  3. Exploring the Windows Store Project

Additional Resources