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Windows 8 Will Have Big Developer Impact

In case you haven't visited the homepage of VisualStudioMagazine.com, I'm here to tell you that Windows 8 is going to be big. Really big. And biggest most of all for developers.

From the moment Microsoft Corporate VP Mike Angiulo started flicking the Live Tile UI on a touch-sensitive tablet for an audience of partners in Tapei (watch the half-hour video here), it was obvious that Windows 8 isn't just another OS refresh. What I saw was a ground-up re-envisioning of how people interact with their PCs and devices. Yes, the traditional Windows 7 experience is still there, and a lot of Angiulo's initial pitch focused on tablet form factors. But there is no doubt that Microsoft is looking downfield with this OS. The new stuff we are seeing in Windows 8 is going to define the new normal. And the applications developers write for Windows 8 will need to reflect that.

Even more important for developers is the decision by Microsoft to make HTML 5 and JavaScript a first-class platform for Windows 8 applications. No, Microsoft isn't ditching Silverlight and WPF. Early reports from trusted folks like Mary Jo Foley and Paul Thurott point to some exciting things related to Silverlight-based application development, but those details remain firmly under wraps. But Microsoft is definitely adding HTML 5 and JavaScript to the mix.

As VSM columnist and Blue Badge Insights President Andrew Brust put it in a tweet this afternoon: "My theory on the Win8 HTML 5/JavaScript thing: Win8 will have 'apps' and it will have 'applications.' HTML 5/JavaScript for the former and .NET for the latter."

I'm looking forward to hearing how all this folds into the larger .NET message. There hasn't been a major Microsoft platform or OS launch in 10 years that hasn't leveraged heavily against the value proposition of .NET -- the tooling, the languages, the framework and, most of all, the widely available developer skill sets. And yet here we are, talking about HTML 5 and JavaScript, rather than Silverlight, XAML and the glory of managed code.

I'm sure all the messaging will work itself out. I'm certainly looking forward to hearing about the tooling that will enable Windows 8 HTML 5/JavaScript 'apps' and provide for compelling touch and mouse/keyboard application interfaces.

Posted by Michael Desmond on 06/03/2011 at 1:15 PM


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