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Microsoft Creates Feedback Site for API Requests

An old Silverlight feature is the top vote-getter so far on UserVoice.

Many .NET developers are familiar with Microsoft's Visual Studio UserVoice Web site, a forum in which ideas are suggested, then voted on, by the community. But UserVoice is much broader than just the Visual Studio audience. There's also an ASP.NET forum, and a Windows Platform Developer (WPDev) forum. And now, there's one specifically for wanted or needed APIs.

It's called Missing Platform APIs, and is similar to the others: a developer posts a desire for a new product, or change to an existing one. Other developers then vote for the idea by clicking a button. Microsoft uses the number of votes to gauge an idea's popularity among its developer community. Usually, suggestions with enough votes get a response from Microsoft.

Microsoft posted a description of the kind of suggestions for which it's looking:

The most useful feedback will be in the form of requests for specific APIs or specific 3rd-party libraries, along with a general description of the scenario they help solve. These could be existing Windows APIs not currently permitted in Store Apps (Win32, COM, or .NET) or they could be APIs from other operating systems with no equivalents on Windows.

As of Monday afternoon, there were already more than 30 requests on the site. The most popular one at that time, with 70 votes, was the resurrection of DeepZoom, a Silverlight feature for enabling zooming and panning of high-resolution images.

Another top suggestion was an API for wireless radio states, giving developers access to the status of Bluetooth, Cellular, and Wi-Fi signals. The poster, Daniel Gary, complained that developers currently have to catch an exception to determine if Bluetooth is enabled or not. "Unacceptable," he said. The 66 developers who had voted by that time agreed with him.

Microsoft often incorporates changes to products based on UserVoice feedback -- for instance, the last release of the .NET Framework, version 4.5.1, included a number of requests. Other times, though, requests are denied -- making the CodeLens feature of Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate, for instance, available at lower levels received 3,468 votes on the site, but Microsoft chose to keep it available only in Ultimate.

The top vote-getting item on the WPDev forum, with nearly 9,000 votes, is to provide a backup API for texting. Microsoft's Cliff Simpkins says the idea is "Under Review".

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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