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Programming Surface RT tools and ease


New Member
First I'll fill you in on why I joined the Forum, I would like to program the Surface device, particularly the RT version. It has been over 15 years since I did any serious Windows programming and at one time was a very proficient C/C++ coder. I quit coding with windows 95 and a change of positions which didn't require it.

In the past few of years I have converted to almost all Apple products and began coding for the iPad and iPhone. Since then my proficiency and comfort in 'Objective C.' the iOS API and Xcode tools has developed to the intermediate levels.

However, now I find a need to begin writing apps for the MS Surface and after downloading the VStudio of the devices and reviewing my C++ skills I have found a few things and would like some advice.

1. The Visual Studio is robust and capable but actually lacks the abilities (Okay grace and appearance) of Apple's Xcode. It seems more complex, confusing and archaic when the two are compared.
2. The Surface API (Metro) seems to have a lot of documentation but no real direction focused on C++ as the base coding language. I do have Julian Templeman's 'Microsoft Visual C++/CLI Step by Step' book and it's a good help but the focus is not on the Metro API in C++. I could use a book more like 'Professional iOS Database Application Programming,' by Alessi Patrick from the Apple side. The focus here is on building apps and demonstrating the API calls necessary to do so.
3. I know the Surface and Win8 are relatively new, but where are the prototyping tools and other such external helps for designing apps.
4. No Visual Studio C++ programming for dummies with the Metro UI in mind

Overall I see Microsoft and Apple have changed sides over the past 15 years. In the past Microsoft provided superior programming and API tools for building apps (formally known as programs or executable files) over Apple. They were cheap, easy to run and made it easy to develop for the OS, while Apple was complex and exclusive. It seems now that Apple has taken the role of simplifying their OS(s) APIs and languages (just one Objective C) for development while MS has gone the opposite direction and not just opened the tools to other languages, but layered addition coding on top of the traditional C++ (Think XML, HTNL, C#, CLI, …).

What help do I need from the forum?
If I have to I will switch to C#, but why move to a higher and therefore slower code when I am already C++ literate. And why the Surface RT and not the Pro? The Pro is not as portable as the RT, and cost more. Weight and simplicity are also important and this is where the ARM processor version fits in.

  • C++ books focusing on the Metro UI for Surface.
  • Programming forums with the same focus.
  • Code examples again with the same focus.
  • Any special SQL embedded C++ Objects for the Metro/Surface UI

Thanks for all and any comments!


Well-Known Member
I don't have any background in programming, but if you haven't already, I highly suggest joining the XDA Developer forum for a lot more technical information. (It was that community that jailbroke the RT for side-loading ARM-recompiled apps.) Here is their Windows RT/8 subforum.


Active Member
Yes, xda developers is really where you want to look. Most of the developers and coders are in there. They could point you in the right direction.