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Windows 7 Downloads and Downsizing in Redmond

Even as Microsoft unleashes the Windows 7 release candidate for public download today, sadly some employees are facing layoffs. Most of us are familiar with the irony that hard work doesn't always prevent the pink slip, although it's unclear which product groups in Redmond will suffer staff reductions. 

The Windows 7 RC was posted on MSDN and TechNet for subscribers last week. Microsoft recommends that Windows 7 beta users register for a new product key and download the ISO image, rather than upgrade to the RC. Like the beta, the RC is only available in the Windows 7 Ultimate edition. It will expire June 1, 2010 and bi-hourly shutdowns will start on March 10, 2010, according to Microsoft. Download the Windows 7 RC here.

What does Windows 7 mean for developers? Like previous versions of Windows, Windows 7 is built using native C, C++ and COM APIs. The Windows 7 SDK consists of mainly native APIs and code samples.

Managed code developers again have their work cut out for them if they want to access application-level functionality. Despite the Foundation Libraries -- WPF, WCF, WF, CardSpace -- in .NET 3.0 (formerly WinFX) that shipped as the default framework with Vista, the native Win APIs and managed interoperability story from Microsoft remains in the early stages.

Microsoft is updating the managed wrappers in the Windows Vista Bridge for the native Windows 7 APIs and renaming it the Windows API Code Pack for the .NET Library, according to a post by Yochay Kiriaty, tech evangelist on the Developer and Platform Evangelism Team. The code pack isn't available yet, but you can find links to some .NET interop libraries (not officially supported by Microsoft) in the Windows 7 for Developers blog here.

The widely anticipated Windows Touch functionality in Windows 7 will be fully supported in Windows Presentation Foundation 4, Kiriaty wrote. In the interim, developers can use the limited multi-touch support in WPF 3.5, which is available in .NET 3.5 SP1.  

When can developers expect to develop more easily in managed code for Windows and Office apps? Express your thoughts below or contact me directly at [email protected].

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 05/05/2009

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