BUILDing Enthusiasm for Windows 8
Microsoft's unveiling of Windows 8 brought back something missing from recent years: excitement.
I was at the September BUILD conference in Anaheim, Calif., all week. If I had to summarize the week in word, it would be this: Excitement.
Enthusiasm for Windows 8 basically spilled out the doors of the Anaheim Convention Center following the keynotes. Yes, some of that was due to the Samsung tablets Microsoft gifted to all attendees.
It was much more than that, though. There was a sense of anticipation about building new apps; a sense of the potential of the Windows 8 platform; a sense of new opportunities for doing really cool stuff on Windows-based machines. Not Apple devices, not Google or Amazon devices. Windows machines.
I found it interesting that developers at the show, for the most part, weren't using their Samsung tablets for, er, development. At first, this surprised me a bit; after all, they were stuffed with beefy processors and enough RAM to handle dev tasks, and came preloaded with early builds of Visual Studio 11 Express.
So how come most attendees weren't keen to write code on their new devices, even though they could? Then it hit me: Duh. They were using tablets the way you and I use tablets: checking e-mail, surfing the Web, social networking, playing games (even the predictably rudimentary ones available for a currently in-development OS).
And they were having fun doing it. If they were having fun using Windows 8, you can bet they were pondering ways of creating that sort of experience for their customers.
Windows 8 is a shiny, new Windows. That Microsoft was able to juice up its developer community to get behind it so strongly may be as important as the product itself.
Heck, I want a Windows 8 tablet myself. Might even wait in line for one.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.