Town Hall Style, Windows 8 Development Shoot or Aim?

Had the first meeting of the year last night for the Orlando Windows Phone / Windows 8 Group and instead of going down the planned presenter lead meeting format it turned more into a "Town Hall" style with some good topics I thought I'd share.

Where does everyone go to learn how to build or develop for Windows 8.1?

As anyone who can use the web, you w ill find a number of popular blogs that have articles written on how to get started using this or that, including my own, but how relevant are they considering how fast Windows 8 development is moving and changing for that matter.  One attendee mentioned the LayoutAwarePage and how it was a thing and now its "just there".  Or how there were only 3 views to deal with and now there are many.

Brian, from the Orlando .NET User Group, likes Microsoft's Virtual Academy and also stated that when looking at blogs the first piece of information is the date the article was posted to know whether or not to keep going. is also another very well known resource for getting up to speed on almost any technology, and their catalog grows daily.

Monetization strategies for apps?

Of course, a very common topic.  How the heck do you make money on your apps?  Charge for them, ads, in app purchases, both, so on and so forth.  There has been a lot of conversation around this topic and sure enough the recent Flappy Bird app incident has everyone in a swirl to find the next big one.

Alex Perez, from Neuralnet, gave some insight into their experience on in app purchases how they attacked the issue.  Free with in app purchases was the most successful way, BUT you have to hook your users and make them want to keep coming back to the app is the key.

I don't this is a big secret, the secret is finding the hook -- right?

Should I build apps for Windows 8.1 now or wait to see what happens after BUILD 2014?

When Windows 8 hit the development community, a lot of the .NET community hit it learning the tools the new stuff throwing apps, blogging it etc. Some even went at the HTML/WinJS framework option reusing the libraries that were available building RSS readers, games, etc.

Then 8.1 hit and the game was changed. Tools got better, controls were added, more views, the OS was smaller, better, faster. Question on the floor - shoot or just aim?  

Strategies for sharing code?

I love the MVVM pattern for mobile development - Windows Phone, Windows 8.* and anything Xamarin supports.  With Portable Class Libraries and the lifted license restrictions and full support through Xamarin there is no reason not use it.  BUT, do not get caught in hours of trying to force something into the pattern simply to put it into the pattern.  Get the product out there, and rev. Refactor and release often.

Apps or Web?

It just depends right? What is the target audience, the device support, does it need connectivity, what is the skill set of the team you have and so on.  There is no right answer. The answer is -> know what questions to ask.

All great discussions, really enjoyed the format.  What are your thoughts on any or all of these issues, and have you tried this format at your local user group? Would you?

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Hi, I'm Shayne Boyer, I write this site, work on ASP.NET Core content and Open Source, speak at national and community events while helping teams architect web and cloud applications.