Having a flexible SDK is nice, but developers spent just as much time praising Microsoft's support infrastructure, starting with the Visual Studios 2012 software used to create Windows 8 apps.
"Visual Studio 2012 is the best IDE in the world for developing games," McKinney says. "No other IDE even comes close to the speed and power of Visual Studio." JamPot's Michael Barr agrees, saying that Visual Studio has "really nice debugging tools built-in and really nice test kit tools out of the box."
Microsoft's software evangelists earned a heap of praise from the Microsoft faithful as well. Every single developer we talked to worked closely with an evangelism team, and all say the mutual benefit is nothing short of heavenly.
"We have a good working relationship with the evangelism unit within Microsoft," says JamPot's Scott. "We work with those guys and they support their developers through things like providing devices and heads-ups when new things are coming out. If there are any problems, they feed it back into the organization. They're very easygoing guys to work with, and they're very open as well."
Microsoft's developer assistance doesn't end there. The company helps would-be Windows developers get a handle on Microsoft software through initiatives like BizSpark and DreamSpark, programs that dole out free subscriptions to premium-priced development tools for technology startups and students, respectively. Once you've got your hands on some development tools, the Windows Apps Dev Center provides an abundance of helpful documentation and a packed developer forum.
The company also holds free Windows developer camps all over the world on a near-daily basis, where developers can learn from experts in an interactive environment and then try their hands at what they've learned.
Want to learn how to create an app that's flawlessly, well, "Modern"? Microsoft has teamed with top design agencies around the globe to teach them the principles of the Modern U.I. Style interface, and it points inquiring developers in those agencies' direction when necessary. Sometimes, Microsoft even foots the bill for developers to receive up to 40 hours of design education from its agency partners.