Desktop apps can’t be created, but aspiring developers can get to grips with the UI without committing. However, to submit apps to the store you have to pay a fee

If you fancy developing for Windows 8 but don’t want the cost outlay, Microsoft is offering a solution

Microsoft is allowing developers to get in on Metro app development, for the low price of free. The only downside is that Visual Basic 11 won’t allow developers to create more traditional programs for the desktop side.

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Those who want to develop traditional desktop apps can use Visual C++ 2010 Express and Visual C# 2010, or pay the aforementioned huge outlay which costs between $400-500 according to Ars Technica. The Express, free, version creates Metro apps for Windows 8 and websites. Microsoft hasn’t missed an opportunity, by announcing it will also roll out a program in the future for Windows Phone development.

There has been some displeasure expressed over the fact that Microsoft isn’t supporting the desktop side of Windows 8 with the program, but I think Metro is the priority right now. The platform is unproven, and the company needs to incentivise developers to create apps for the UI. Desktop Windows 8 programs are going to do fine, as users who buy Windows 8 and don’t like Metro will just stay on that side. The message to developers has to be to create apps that work great on mobile platforms.

Free to develop, to submit?

However, as Ars Technica notes, developing is free but submitting them may not be. Windows Phone users have to pay $99 a year to submit apps, which are then subject to Microsoft’s approval. Developing apps is probably free, but will the company really let anyone submit an app? It’d be welcome if Microsoft allowed the first submission to be free and then, if accepted, charge for future apps. Like I’ve said, incentivise developers. Make the first submission free, and take a bigger cut because of that, and developers have nothing to lose. And if the platform is profitable for them, they’ll probably return and pay the submission fee.

The other issue is how apps will distribute among desktop and Metro Windows. For example, I don’t see a Metro version of Guild Wars 2 launching any time soon: it’s simply too complex to put in the simplistic interface.