Development Resources in the Windows SDK
By using the Windows Software Development Kit for Windows 8 (Windows SDK), you can develop both Windows Store apps and Windows desktop apps.
The Windows SDK supports the following models for developing Windows Store apps:
Managed XAML, with code-behind in C# or Visual Basic
Native XAML, with code-behind in C++
The Windows SDK supports the following models for developing Windows desktop apps:
Managed (.NET Framework)
The Windows SDK also includes many tools that you can use to build, test, analyze, and debug your apps. Some of these tools are described later in this topic.
The Windows SDK includes tools to help you build, debug, and deploy your Windows apps.
The following resources are for native language developers.
Every release of the Windows SDK includes the latest headers and libraries for Windows development. This version of the Windows SDK includes an updated set of headers and libraries from the earlier version of the Windows SDK. This is the same set of Windows headers and libraries that are included in Visual Studio 2012. Therefore, if you have already installed Visual Studio 2012, you do not have to update the Windows headers, libraries, and tools by using the Windows SDK.
The Windows SDK includes tools to help you build, debug, and deploy your Windows applications.
Windows Reference Assemblies
This release of the Windows SDK contains reference assemblies for FSRM, MMC, TabletPC, Windows Media Services, and Windows PowerShell.
A reference assembly is an assembly that is referenced by design-time tools, typically for examining the metadata that describes the types in the assembly.
The following resources are for managed language developers.
.NET Framework 4.5 Reference Assemblies
The Windows SDK includes the .NET Framework 4.5 reference assemblies. Users of external tools for managed development can obtain these assemblies by installing the Windows SDK. For more information about the reference assemblies, see Assemblies in the Common Language Runtime. This set of reference assemblies is included in Visual Studio 2012. Therefore, if you have already installed Visual Studio 2012, you don't have to update them by using the Windows SDK.
.NET Framework Hosting and Tools Development Headers and Libraries (HTDHL)
These native header files provide native access to the .NET Framework 4.5 runtime and let developers operate between managed and native environments. You can use the APIs to write custom native runtime hosts, compilers, disassemblers, obfuscators, debuggers, and profilers that target the .NET Framework 4.5.
The Windows SDK includes the .NET Framework 4.5 tools. This lets you create applications that target the .NET Framework 4.5.
You can build, test, analyze, and debug your applications by using the tools in the following table. Visual Studio includes some of these tools, and the Windows SDK includes all of these tools in addition to others. You can redistribute some of these tools together with your applications. For a list of redistributable tools, see Redistributables in the Windows SDK.
A runtime verification tool for native code that helps you find programming errors that can be difficult to identify with typical application testing. You can run the Application Verifier on your code to identify memory corruptions, uses of handles that aren't valid, issues with locks, issues with the use of the thread pool, and many other issues.
Tools that help you debug drivers, applications, and services that run on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, or Windows 8.
A collection of tools that provide detailed analysis of many performance problems, for example, application start times, start issues, deferred procedure calls and interrupt activity, system responsiveness issues, application resource usage, and interrupt storms.
A set of runtime dynamically linked libraries (DLLs) that you can include with your desktop app (or tool) to compile HLSL shaders for use in the Direct3D graphics pipeline. You can also use DirectX11 Compute to perform complex operations such as Scan and Fast Fourier Transforms (FFTs).
Tools that you can use to certify that your apps follow Windows conventions and standards.
Performance Analyzer for HTML5 App
A tool to help you identify potential performance issues in your app by analyzing it as it runs. By using this tool, you can better understand the performance characteristics of your app, in addition to how users are likely to perceive its performance on target hardware that's running Windows 8.