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Microsoft details Live cloud integration with Windows 8 apps

In another Building Windows 8 blog post, Microsoft details how Windows 8 app developers can utalize single sign-on and SkyDrive integration to make apps more personal. As the cloud becomes more popular, Microsoft is utilizing it to make it easier to access content from almost anywhere.

“If you’re thinking about developing a Metro style app for Windows 8, this post shows how to enable single sign-on and access a user’s data on SkyDrive to make your Metro style app more personal,” Microsoft stated.

Microsoft identified two problems that app developers will face with Windows 8:

  • Enabling sign-in and sign-up for users. Users dislike having to sign in to websites and apps, yet developers know that engagement and loyalty to their app increases after a user has signed in. Sign-in allows you to personalize the user’s experience and to have your app remember the user’s data and customizations.
  • Easily bringing the user’s content into your app to power your experience. Seemingly simple tasks like asking the user to set a profile picture can quickly get complicated when you consider that users have their photos spread out across disparate devices and the cloud.

Microsoft addresses the problems using the follow two methods:

  • The user’s cloud-based identity is now an OS primitive that is universally accessible to apps and websites with user permission for single sign-on. This means your app can inherit the signed in state of a user and their identity, and you don’t have to worry about a separate authentication process. This becomes especially important to enable #2.
  • We’ve made access to the user’s content in the Live cloud available to apps using industry standard protocols such as OAuth for authentication and authorization, JSON as payloads for the data returned when accessing SkyDrive and Hotmail, and XMPP for interoperability with Windows Live Messenger. In addition, we offer the Live SDK for Windows 8 Developer Preview to make development on the WinRT easy, with integration into Visual Studio 11 Express.

Microsoft also mentions that developers should utilize the Live SDK. “The easiest way to use single sign-on with Windows Live ID and integrate SkyDrive content into your Metro style app is to leverage the Live SDK.”

Microsoft reiterates that integrating single-signon and user date from SkyDrive only requires a few lines of code. With these features added to an app, the app can be more personal and take full advantage of a user’s photos or documents in the cloud.

You can download the full source code for the sample app Microsoft demonstrated here.

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