How to get your website ready for Windows 8

Get your website on the Windows 8 Start Screen

Once you ve clicked the pushpin you ll get a preview of the tile you re adding and the option of giving it a name

Once you've clicked the pushpin, you'll get a preview of the tile you're adding, and the option of giving it a name

There's also the option to use a larger PNG image – which can be generated automatically to customise a tile for a user or a section of a site. Tile images need to be 144x144 pixels, and if you're using this approach, you're also able to specify the colour of the tile on the Windows start screen. Microsoft has defined meta tags to help you do this, and

It's easy for users to pin a site to the Start screen from IE10. All they need to do is click the pin icon in the IE10 app bar. Once pinned, a site will be displayed in a small tile, and will display additional notification badges to show what's happening to a site – for example, showing how many email messages are waiting to be read, or if a chat service sees you as online or offline. Microsoft provides a set of badge icons (reminiscent of those you'll find on a BlackBerry, including the familiar alert "splat") for use with live tiles, with glyphs for mail, for playing or paused media, or for simply displaying the number of alerts. You can't create your own tile badges; you can only use the badges provided by Microsoft.

Badges and glyphs are defined using an XML file that's polled by Internet Explorer at regular intervals. All you need to do is add a meta tag to a page header, with a link to the XML file and the number of minutes between updates (if you don't put a value, the site will only be checked once a day). You can also update a badge directly form a web page, using JavaScript to control the badge.

Creating jumplists and charms

Similarly your pages can update jump lists when users visit sites, giving them quick access to custom pages or to regularly visited sections. Just remember that IE10 only supports one set of jump lists and polling data per domain name, so if you need to use more, split a site across multiple domain names.

Windows 8 s Share charm lets you send information from IE10 to any application that subscribes to the Windows share contract

Windows 8's Share charm lets you send information from IE10 to any application that subscribes to the Windows share contract

While jumplists arrived with IE9 and Windows 7, Windows 8's new Charms are the user interface for contracts that let applications share information, without needing to know anything about each other. You can add markup to your pages to control what's shared, with link previews for a site or a page. A link preview lets users choose images, while you control the text and the URL that's shared – making sure new users get the best view of your site.

If you've written a Windows 8 application, there's another useful feature that lets you link a page directly to an app. All you need are a couple of extra lines of markup. If the app isn't installed, they add a link from the application bar directly to the app in the Windows store – or if it's already installed they give users the option of launching the app rather than using the web page.

The next web

Microsoft regularly talks about Windows 8 being a Windows for the next decade. That means supporting new hardware and new ways of working, not just on the desktop, but also on the web. With IE10's new features it also starts to build the foundations for the next ten years of the web, adding touch support and tools for improved integration with both the desktop and with mobile devices (as Windows Phone 8 shares a lot of code with Windows 8, including Internet Explorer 10). Adding Windows 8 integration or touch to a site won't take much time, and gets you started building tomorrow's web, today.