Majority of the top 25 Windows Store apps are built in XAML, not WinJS

An interesting report came out today from ZDNet revealing a particular fact about Windows Store app development. According to the report, the majority of the top 25 apps in the Windows Store right now are built in XAML, not WinJS.

For those who are new to Windows Store app development, there are four distinct flavors you can choose to develop your app. These are C++/XAML, C#/VB.NET/XAML, and JavaScript/HTML. Then you have WinJS, which offers the Windows Library for JavaScript controls, so apps can be created in pure JavasScript. 

“If you’re new to XAML, that is Microsoft’s proprietary native app tooling. Based on Windows Presentation Framework from the Longhorn days, it’s also used by Silverlight and hence Windows Phone 7’s API. With Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, XAML was rewritten, although to developers it’s transparent whether you’re using the old .NET WPF/Silverlight or the new Windows 8 XAML,” ZDNet’s Matt Baxter-Reynolds explained in a blog post.

According to the report, the majority of the top apps right now in the Windows Store are built with XAML. In fact, 80% of the apps are built with XAML, while 12% utilize WinJS, and 8% utilize C++. For example, Facebook, Netflx, Hill Climb Racing, and Hangman Pro were all built using XAML. The only notable WinJS apps in the top-25 list are Microsoft Solitaire Collection, Viber, and Cut The Rope. Microsoft’s own apps, on the other hand, include the Bing suite of apps (News, Finance, Travel, etc), Camera, Mail, Calendar, Contacts, Reader, Skype, Store, and Xbox Live all utilize WinJS.

So it seems that the popular choice with Windows Store developers is the XAML language, while Microsoft themselves are sticking to WinJS. Not to toot our horn, but we coded our Windows 8.1 app using C#/XAML. For all you Windows Store app developers out there, which language do you code in and how do you feel about these results?

8 Responses

  1. dingl_ says:

    ZDNet’s Matt Baxter-Reynold.. Theres a person u leave out of your articles if you care about your
    own reputation. also last time I checked 4 choices are better than 1, So code however ya like

    It should also be noted the ‘Top 25’ apps are hardly even an indication of a good or bad app in the
    Windows Store, In fact most of the Top apps are horse sh– so I’m not sure what that says about
    the developers choices

    Out of the Top 25 apps, how many do I use? 1 of them… I think that says something and I’ve used
    most apps! I have plenty installed on my devices as well, Plenty of good apps

    Facebook(Dec 25 2013) multi-update
    Google(April 2013) 2 updates?
    TVCatchup(May 2013)
    Microsoft Solitare(Nov 22 2013) multi-update
    Monsters University(Sept 2013) 0 updates
    Netflix(Dec 19 2013) Very basic, uncreative bad app
    Wreck It Ralph(Sept 2013) 0 updates
    Special Enquiry Detail: Engaged to Kill(Dec 26 2013) 0 updates
    Hill Climb Racing(Dec 2013) 1 update
    Toy Story Smash It(Nov 2013) 1 update?
    Discpicable Me: Minion Rush(Jan 17 2014) multi-update
    Twitter(July 2013) 1 update? Very basic, shitty outdated app
    Viber(Dec 2013) 0 updates
    Avengers Initiatives(Dec 22 2013) 1 update
    Drift Mania: Street Outlaws Lite(Dec 2013) 0 updates
    Blockworld(Jan 2014) multi-update
    Amazon(Oct 2013) 1-2 updates?
    Cut The Rope(March 2013)
    Wheres My Mickey(Oct 2013)
    Jetpack Joyride(May 2013)
    Dropbox(Aug 2013) 1-2 updates
    YouTube Bookmarks(Dec 2013) 1 update, Pointless app, Hyper for YouTube? MetroTube, MegaTube etc etc
    Adobe Photoshop Express(Nov 1 2013) Very basic photo editing
    Hangman Pro(Jan 2014)

    Pretty sad state of quality& updates for most of these apps, tells me a lot about the developers

    • xankazo says:

      Really nice post. I agree, most developers have been incredibly lazy or inactive when it comes to Windows apps. Take Twitter for example, just ONE update since it was released despite all the bugs and lack of functionality it holds. On other platforms you can see updates every week for most of these apps.

  2. James says:

    Those statistics don’t make sense. It’s impossible to compare numbers between XAML and things like C++. XAML is the markup language used for UI, just like HTML is a UI markup language. The third UI option is DirectX. JavaScript, C++, C#, and VB are the programming languages used for all the logic of the application. For XAML and DirectX-based UIs, one can use C#, VB, or C++ (or a combination). For HTML-based UIs, one can use JavaScript, C#, VB, or C++ (or a combination).
    A more appropriate presentation of the data would be a pie chart of XAML vs. HTML vs DirectX, and separate statistics for each of the programming languages (since more than one can be used in the same app).

    • DS says:

      Yeah, OK. Now THAT makes sense. I was doubting the validity of the breakdown myself. Your comment clears things up. Ought to down-vote the original blog… ;)

  3. Ron says:

    XAML! The dev experience with xaml is awesome.

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