Porting from iOS to Windows 8

Porting from iOS to Windows 8

By Softtalkblog

April 3rd 2013 at 5:00PM

Intel Developer Blog: Softtalkblog recommends tools and resources for porting apps

If you already have an app that you’ve developed for iOS, there are several good reasons to port it to Windows 8.

If your app is paid-for, a presence on more platforms enables you to tap into more markets, and also enables you to block any competitors who might move in on platforms you’ve overlooked.

If your app is free, a presence across multiple platforms means you can build up brand awareness, loyalty and stickiness across more platforms. Apps that use cloud-based data or synchronisation can benefit in particular from cross-platform availability, because they enable users to switch between the devices they own at any time, and continue their work or play seamlessly.

There are lots of ways to distribute Windows 8 apps, including through the Windows Store and through the Intel AppUp Center.

Porting apps from iOS to Windows 8 has its challenges, though. Here are some resources that can help you meet them:

•    The Intel HTML5 App Porter Tool: If you have code in Objective-C from your iOS app, you can convert it into HTML5 using this tool, which recognises the most commonly used iOS calls and converts them into HTML5 code, delivered with supporting libraries.

Obviously, not all code will be covered by this, but anything remaining is parcelled into a neat function that is annotated with the details on where it is called from, so you can easily focus your attention on the unique functions, rather than spending time on converting the piping and humdrum parts of your app.

•    Porting custom charts and graphs: Graphs and charts are often used in apps to communicate information, whether they’re business apps or consumer apps. As everything becomes gamified, interfaces are increasingly using charts to provide an update on progress at a glance.

This tutorial shows you how to create graphs using the Quartz 2D drawing engine and the Core Plot library, and then looks at how you can achieve the same effect on Windows 8 using the WinRT XAML Toolkit, which is available under the MIT Licence, and the Direct2D engine in DirectX.

•    Porting app life cycle, settings and search features: One of the tricky things with porting between iOS and Windows 8 is integrating the app with the rest of the device’s user interface, in particular with the features to activate or deactivate an app smoothly (ideally, without losing state or information), and the settings and search features.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how you can integrate your app with the Windows 8 operating system, including the search charm.

•    Porting the user interface from iOS to Windows 8: This tutorial shows you how you can port an app from iOS to Windows 8 using a worked example, and with particular regard to the app design guidelines from Microsoft for the Windows Store.

It includes the ability to search from the charms bar in Windows 8, which is where users will increasingly expect to be able to find the information they need within an app. As on iOS, Windows 8 apps need to be able to adapt to devices running in different orientations, and be able to switch orientation during use.

You can find more help for Windows 8 development at the Intel Developer Zone. What are the biggest challenges you’ve found with converting apps across platforms? Leave a comment below!

This blog post is written by Softtalkblog, and is sponsored by the Intel Developer Zone, which helps you to develop, market and sell software and apps for prominent platforms and emerging technologies powered by Intel Architecture.