Microsoft is releasing "Project Siena" today, a Windows 8.1 app that lets you easily create your own Windows app. It’s designed as a quick tool for building Windows 8-style apps without any programming skills. It’s also a touch-friendly way to create apps from a tablet, rather than using the desktop equivalents. Although potential developers won’t get the full power of tools like Visual Studio, that’s not really the point. Siena is designed to create apps that are more document-like and highly visual, with a canvas for inserting images, buttons, shapes, videos, and more.
It’s very similar to Microsoft’s Windows Phone App Studio that lets anyone create apps on the web. Siena can embed data sources from Excel, Azure, REST, RSS, and even SharePoint, so it’s immediately a quick way to create your own personalized and custom RSS reader. There’s a lot of control over the visual elements, including color, font size, fill, and other visuals, but the app is fairly basic overall. The interesting part here is that anyone can create a Windows 8.1 app and then immediately publish and share it with others as an installer package. Project Siena launches in beta preview today for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 users.