New SDK for HP TouchSmart software development – out now!

November 16, 2009 8:30 am


Today HP is announcing a new Software Development Kit for helping you write apps that play well in the HP TouchSmart “shell” environment. The new SDK still contains the general guidelines that outline both what makes a good app that’s optimized for touch interaction and the general rules you have to play by in order to “fit” into the HP TouchSmart shell.

But this time around there’s more: For the first time there is also documentation for a WPF library that you can use to more quickly write an app that heeds all of the rules that need to be followed. This library has actually existed for a few releases already, but it was not documented until now (for HP TouchSmart 3.0).

There are also two sample applications. One that demonstrates the basics of the WPF library (and that shows you what the shell does to the apps on a pretty detailed level – it’s great for seeing what registered messages are sent to the app, how the app gets sized, etc.) and one that’s a little game. To round out things, there’s some skeleton sample app code as well, so you can get started quickly with your app idea.

Here are a few screenshots of the two sample apps:


“Hello world” Wide-interactive tile



“Hello world” Large tile



Notification with CircleX icon



Notification with CircleCheck icon



“Hello Mole” Wide-interactive tile


The documentation is provided in two forms: PDF for easy printing and reading offline as well as in Windows Help format for easy searching and looking at class library details.

You’ll notice that most of this only applies to WPF development. If you’re not using WPF yet (why aren’t you? – it’s a great platform), the general guidelines still apply and work. The shell is actually technology agnostic, since all it cares about, really, is the window (handle) your app produces. As long as your technology stack produces a Win32 window, you can “play”. The essence of that is something I’ve talked about before.

So where can you get this newfangled contraption? Head right over to to start downloading. There’s still a license agreement in the installer (to make the lawyers happy), but I believe you can now download the thing without having to consent to the agreement first.

4 Responses to “New SDK for HP TouchSmart software development – out now!”

Steve wrote a comment on November 18, 2009

Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I’m excited about developing on my TS, but I noticed that the Readme included in the SDK says ‘Express Editions are not currently supported’.

Can you elaborate on this? Is it that you absolutely need the full version, or some features won’t work, or there’s a small workaround, or that’s just them covering their legal bases?

I could download a 90 day trial of the full version, I suppose. Any idea if the 2010 VS Beta works with this?

Thanks again.

GeekTieGuy wrote a comment on November 18, 2009

Hey Steve,

I’m not sure what about the SDK makes it limited to non-Express editions. There are some limitations in the Express editions, such as the inability to load plugins, but I don’t think that is why in this case.

The download is pretty small, so I would just download and try installing. If you have any problems, let me know and I can investigate.

Things should work with VS2010 Beta 2, just make sure you target the .NET Framework 3.5 if you write a WPF app.


Steve wrote a comment on November 19, 2009

Thanks. I tried it with 2008 Express Edition last night and everything seemed to work. I’ll let you know if I find anything I simply can’t do with E.E., but for now it looks good.

The SDK is very nice, btw, for anybody who wants to try this out. I modified the Whack-a-Mole app and put it in my TouchSmart software, and then made a very simple app using the template. Couldn’t have been much easier.

One question I did have was about the key for the xml registration file. Is there some ‘official’ way to generate a unique key? I just copied and slightly modified one of the others and it worked, but I know that won’t cut it if I want to release an app.

GeekTieGuy wrote a comment on December 17, 2009

Hey Steve, sorry to leave you hanging for so long. The “key” is a GUID, so you should use the Microsoft GuidGen tool (or something like it). It’s actually the AppID, so it’s pretty important to get right, like you say.

Care to comment?

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