Remote Desktop App Available in Windows Store; Microsoft Offer 'Automating Windows 8 Apps' Testing Tips

At the Nokia Windows Phone 8 event in New York, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a bold prediction saying "that within a year from now, over 400 million devices, whether they are phones, PC's, tablets and laptops, will be running Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8."Adding, Ballmer said that he expects "the next app developer […]

At the Nokia Windows Phone 8 event in New York, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer made a bold prediction saying "that within a year from now, over 400 million devices, whether they are phones, PC's, tablets and laptops, will be running Windows 8 or Windows Phone 8."

Adding, Ballmer said that he expects "the next app developer to hit it really really big, will be a developer on Windows."

Later in the day, the company released a new Remote Desktop app for Windows 8, that offers a fresh approach for accessing your remote PCs and RemoteApp programs using a rich touch-friendly user interface (UI).

"Accessing your RemoteApp and Desktop Connections resources is very easy when using this app," Microsoft said.

In addition to the Remote Desktop app, the Remote Desktop Connection client, which has been available in Windows for many prior releases, has also been update for Windows Server 2012, as well as Windows 8.

Remote Desktop App for Windows 8

Here is the full feature-set:

  • "Organize all your remote connections in one central location with the most recent connections and published resources displayed as touch-friendly tiles.
  • Customize settings for all remote connections at once or individually by using the new Edit feature.
  • Connect to multiple remote desktops at the same time and keep an eye on your sessions while you multi-task with the Windows 8 Snap feature.
  • Easily interact with applications in your remote session by using the Touch Keyboard, Touch Pointer, and Zoom features.
  • Automatically detect and optimize your connection quality with RemoteFX for WAN transport enhancements.
  • Access corporate resources published via RemoteApp and Desktop Connections with your corporate email address.
  • Enjoy a fast and fluid experience in your remote session by using RemoteFX technologies, including RemoteFX Multi-Touch, RemoteFX Media Streaming, Remote Desktop Easy Print, and more," the company informed.

The Remote Desktop app is available in the Productivity section of the Windows Store.

Remote Desktop App Connected to a remote PC

Remote Desktop App Session view with app commands

How to connect and interact with remote PC?

"To make a new connection to a remote PC, go to the Home page and enter the name of the PC you wish to connect to in the PC name field. If you have previously connected to this remote PC, you can simply tap or click the PC's tile from the Home page. Either of the above actions will initiate the connection process, and you will be presented with the progress status for the connection. After all of the steps in the connection sequence have completed, you will be connected to the remote PC.

If you had an active connection to this remote PC, the above actions will simply switch you back to your active session.

After you're connected, all of your input actions will be directed to the remote PC (including keyboard, mouse, and touch) with one exception: touch and mouse interaction that occurs at the edge of the screen will always go to the local computer.

The Remote Desktop app has app commands that will let you invoke charms, app commands, and more on the remote PC. The overlay at the top of the screen indicates the name of the server that you are currently connected to. This overlay also acts as a command button to bring up the app commands. You can also bring up the app commands by swiping in from the top or bottom of the screen. Selecting the Home command will take you to the app's Home page. From the Home page you can start a connection to another PC or return to an already connected PC," Microsoft explained.

In another blog post, Microsoft explained and shared a number of tips, tools and techniques for "Automating the testing of Windows 8 apps."

"Automated testing can be a cost effective way to increase the level of verification of your app and ensure that the quality never drops. That said, it is important to remember that manual testing also plays a key role in verification. It provides the human element to the verification of your app. As such, a combination of automated and manual testing will give you a well-rounded approach to testing your app," posted Ashwin Needamangala, Principal Test Lead, Windows.

A typical app test automation workflow involves these steps:

  • "Installation: Automate the installation of your app.
  • Activation: Automate the activation of your app.
  • Runtime: Automate your app when it is running.
  • Lifecycle state: Automate your app being suspended, resumed, and terminated.
  • Uninstallation: Automate the uninstallation of your app," notes Needamangala.

In the screenshot below, Inspect tool running against the Bing News app:

Automating Testing of Windows 8 Apps: Inspect tool running against the Bing News app