Templates to speed up your app development

Applies to Windows and Windows Phone

Templates provide a starting point to help you create Windows Store apps and Windows Phone Store apps. Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 editions, including Microsoft Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows and Microsoft Expression Blend, come with a variety of project templates and item templates to help you develop your app faster. The topics in this section describe these project templates and item templates. To download a version of Visual Studio that supports Windows development, see Get the Tools.

Note  Windows Store app development in Visual Studio is supported only on Windows 8.1 and Windows 8. Windows 7 is not supported. In addition, developer licenses aren't available for Windows Server 2012, so you can't develop Windows Store apps on that operating system.

Choose what type of app you want to build

First, decide what programming language you want to use to build your app (JavaScript, Visual Basic, Visual C#, or Visual C++) . Then, choose whether you want to build an app for Windows, Windows Phone 8.1 or both. The New Project dialog box organizes templates into three groups: Windows Apps, Windows Phone Apps,and Universal Apps (for apps that target both Windows and Windows Phone 8.1. This image shows each group and the table that follows describes them.

Categories of Store apps

GroupDescription
Universal AppsBuild an app for Windows and Windows Phone 8.1 at the same time, and share code, user controls, styles, strings and other assets between them. If you think you might want to develop for both platforms in the near future, consider starting with this template. It'll be much easier to add support for one platform or another later.

Universal Windows apps use shared projects, but you can also use a Portable Class Library to accomplish something very similar. To learn more about the differences between these two approaches, see Sharing code accross platforms.

Windows AppsBuild an app that targets only Windows desktops and tablets. Later on, you might choose to create a version of your app for Windows Phone 8.1. You can do that by right-clicking the Windows Store project and then clicking Add Windows Phone 8.1. You might have to reorganize some of your code so that you can share code between platforms and benefit from the fact that many of these API's have converged.
Windows Phone AppsBuild an app that targets only Windows Phone 8.1. Later on, you might choose to create a version of your app for Windows desktop and tablet users. You can do that by right-clicking the Windows Phone project and then clicking Add Windows 8.1. You might have to reorganize some of your code so that you can share code between platforms and benefit from the fact that many of these API's have converged.

 

  • Applies to Windows Phone

Note  The names of some templates have (Windows Phone Silverlight) appended to the end. Consider using these templates if you've previously developed for Windows Phone 8 and just want to access some of the new features available to Windows Phone apps without having to significantly modify your existing code. You can use these templates to create apps only for Windows Phone 8.1. For more information about these templates and why you might use them, see Silverlight 8.1 apps for Windows Phone.

Pick a project template

After you choose a group, a list of project templates appear in the center pane. This image shows C# project templates in the Windows Phone Apps group.

New Project dialog box in Visual Studio

There are four project templates available for all four programming languages:

  • Blank App. A project with nothing in it.
  • Hub App. A project that displays content in a horizontally panning view. The Hub is intended to visually engage users by providing a variety of ways to access content. Examples include shopping apps, news apps, sports apps, and media hub apps.
  • Grid App. A project that displays groups of data in a grid. You can enable users to browse through categories to find content. This template is a great fit for a shopping, news, photo, or video app.
  • Split App. A project that displays a master/detail list. Consider using this one to create a news reader, sports score, or e-mail app.
  • Pivot App. A project that uses a Pivot control.

To learn more about these and other project templates that appear for each group, see either of the following topics:

If the Hub App, Split App, or Grid App, or Pivot app templates aren't appropriate for your app, you probably want to start with the Blank App template. You might think a blank template isn't much of a start, but, after you create a blank project, you can add a variety of item templates that you can use as starting points for pages in your app.

Add items to your project by using item templates

After you create your project, you can add item templates to it. You add these by clicking Project > Add New Item or by right-clicking the project in Solution Explorer and then clicking Add > New Item.

In Visual Studio, you should see something like this:

Add New Item dialog box

In Visual C#, Visual Basic, and Visual C++, the Hub App, Grid App, and Split App project templates are actually made up of item templates, and most item templates correspond to pages within your app. For example, if you want a basic app page with a title and recommended margins and styles, you could start with a Blank App project template and add a Basic Page item template. That Basic Page template could be the starting page for your app, and you could add more item templates to create other pages in your app.

To learn more about item templates, see either of the following topics:

We recommend that you spend a few minutes exploring the item templates in the Add New Item dialog box. Aside from app pages like Basic Page and file types like XML File, there are several contracts available to get you started with extending the capabilities of your app, including sharing data and search results, and opening files.

What's next?

If you've picked your programming language and know what kind of app you want to create, your next step is to start creating your first app. Here's more info about what to do next:

JavaScript and HTML Visual C# or Visual Basic and XAMLVisual C++ and XAMLVisual C++ and DirectX
Create your first Windows Runtime app using JavaScript Create your first Windows Runtime app using C# or Visual Basic Create your first Windows Store app using C++ Create your first Windows Store app using DirectX

 

 

 

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