Windows 8 Comments after Microsoft Conference in Anaheim

by Frank 19. September 2011 00:35

As expected, there are definitely some interesting things happening with the next version of windows.  One of the first things they addressed was the concern about the next version being slower and bloated.  They showed some stats of the same device running Windows 7 and then upgraded to Windows 8.  When it was running Windows 7 it was using 32 processes and over 400 MB of memory just after booting up.  When Windows 8 was installed, the processes went down to 29 and the memory down to 280 MB.

Overall, I like the way it looks.  They are trying to imitate apple, but also trying to address a lot of the shortcomings developers currently have with iOS devices.

Microsoft have said that any application that works on Windows 7 will still run on Windows 8.  However, for future development, Microsoft is moving from .NET to a new API called WinRT.  This is basically an API that is built into windows 8, so no more Frameworks to install.  I’m not sure how similar the calls will be between the two, but I’m guessing it would be considerable work to migrate.  Also, if we want to stick with VB, C#, or C++, we would have to change from using WinForms to the new XAML UI language, which basically allows you to scale for the different form factors.

However, they also are supporting App development using HTML5 and javascript which can integrate with the WinRT API on Windows 8.  I think this would be the wisest development language, as it would be consistent with Apple, Google, etc.

So we are back to the beginning. All our early Windows applications were programmed strictly to the Windows API . Then Microsoft came up with .NET and moved stuff outside of the API. Made it more complex, more difficult and expensive to program, support and maintain. Plus, lots of organizations refused to implement and roll-out and maintain the .NET Framework. Let’s not forget all the weird security and compatibility problems caused by .NET, yet another security layer for Windows networks and another headache for network administrators.

From our viewpoint, dropping the requirement for the .NET Framework can only be a good thing. However, this new Windows 8 architecture means we will have to rewrite a whole bunch of code in  our existing .NET applications. Multiple that effort by hundreds of thousands (the number of Windows .NET developers all around the world) or even millions and you have billions of dollars earmarked for code redesign/rewrite, not new features or new products. Money we wouldn’t have to spend if all of our applications were web based instead of being .NET and Windows based. Hindsight is a wonderful thing.

We applaud Microsoft for investing in a better version of Windows but wonder if it ever considers the massive costs it inflicts on its partners and customers?


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