Microsoft Project Siena – Create a Windows 8.1 App with “zero” Lines of Code!

Developer Support

Rick McGuire, Senior Application Development Manager, spotlights a way to build and prototype applications using rich visuals, custom intelligence, and broad functionality, with no programming skills required.

How would you like to be able to build a fully functional Windows 8.1 application that can be distributed to your peers and business owners without writing a single line of code? Wouldn’t it be great if you could just drag and drop controls and automatically bind them to backend data sources like RSS feeds, Excel documents, Rest Services, Azure Mobile Services, and Bing Maps just to name a few?

Now you can – Project Siena is a simple Windows Modern Application that you can download from the Microsoft Store that will help you create functional Windows 8.1 applications without code. If you are comfortable using PowerPoint and Excel, you will be able to dive right in and use Siena. Most of the “logic” that drives your application leverages Microsoft Excel functions and operators, so this makes it easy for sorting, building lists in memory, Math, Boolean expressions, etc.

Siena has been around for a while now and is a great tool for developers, business analysts, just about anyone with a creative mind and basic knowledge of Excel and PowerPoint. Siena is more like using an office tool than a developer tool. To sum it up, Siena is a tool for creating a new category of modern, purpose-specific apps that enable new business scenarios for employees and customers.

With that said, Siena is not a replacement for developer tools, here are some things to consider when reaching for Siena.

Siena is NOT:

· A comprehensive developer tool (replacement for Visual Studio)

· A solution for business or mission-critical application needs

· A means for integrating/representing transactions & complex forms

· A way to develop a rich, data-intensive user interface

· A silver-bullet solution for all business scenarios

Siena IS just one of many tools available for prototyping, but I found that Siena is very simple to use and shines when you simply need to view and manipulate data from a Windows 8.1 application.

Below you can see where Siena sits with respect to some of the other tools for application development.

What are some of the advantages of using Project Siena?

· Faster time to develop POCs

· Optimized use of technology to solve business problems – demo working apps quickly

· Increased business innovation & creativity

· Increased productivity

I commonly demo and recommended this tool to my customers as a great way to prototype functional UI concepts for business users before committing to developing custom applications. I would definitely recommend adding this to your arsenal of tools for prototyping applications. It is a simple approach to have a Windows 8.1 application up and running in seconds!

I hope you take the time to download and explore Siena – perhaps we may even see some of your applications in the Microsoft Store soon?


Siena Resources

Project Siena Home Page:

Siena Product Team Sample Applications:

How to publish a Siena Application to the Windows Store:

How to publish a Siena Application to the Windows Store (Detailed):


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