The first day of the //build/windows conference ended. We’ve seen an exciting keynote from Steven Sinofski. Windows 8 really rocks. Changing the world of computing.
Indeed, Windows 8 goes new ways from a usability standpoint. From the user interface there are many similarities with Windows Phone 7, but this is only the beginning. What’s similar is the integration of different calendars, photos from different places… Windows Phone 7 is a start how touch can be used with tiles, panorama… It’s really a start with WP7. Windows 8 extends this by a huge factor. Touch becomes great new possibilities. And this for a lot of different form factors. It was great to see that many different devices with different form factors on stage running Windows 8.
The new UI makes sense with every form factor. I’m happy using it on my big TV screen, to my workplace PC, notebooks, tablets, to the mobile phone. Probably on my big TV screen I prefer using Kinect gestures or touching a remote device instead of walking to the screen and touching it. Developing programs with Visual Studio I’m sure I will use the keyboard for a long time to go instead of using touch gestures and the on-screen keyboard. However, on the developer device touch is an important factor as well. Applications will be written with touch first. It looks like keyboard and mouse gestures are coming automatically using the Windows 8 controls. I really love touch on my slate-size devices and the mobile phone.
The new Windows API – Windows Runtime (WinRT) – that’s implemented native within the operating system is the new API to get to the features of the operating system. This API doesn’t look similar to the dated Windows API but more like the .NET Framework. It looks like a cleanup of the .NET Framework.
Use what you know
.NET, WPF, and Silverlight developers still can use XAML, C#, and Visual Basic to create Metro style apps. Maybe it’s not Silverlight and not WPF. Silverlight had the code name WPF/E – no matter how it’s named now, it’s still XAML.
C++ becomes more important than it was in the previous years with features from the new C++ standards that can be used. In the code samples I’ve also seen some C++/CLI syntax to make use of the WinRT. I need to check into this. C++ with XAML.
Do what you’ve always imagined
I don’t know if that’s what we’ve imagined to do, but Windows 8 looks like a bright way to go. In the old days of computing applications made some things possible. That’s not enough anymore. Now it’s necessary to make things easy for the user. This is where the Metro style shines. Some of the attributes that should be supported by metro style applications are fast and fluid, snap and scale, contracts for communication between applications, alive tiles… I will blog more about this later.
Windows 8 also gets an app store. Metro style applications that are installed from this store roam with the user, no matter on what system he’s logging in. The app store will also be available for old Win32 applications that then can be found more easily. For these applications the app store just offers a listing, and the store gets the advantage that immediately thousands of applications can be available.
The cloud plays an important part with Windows 8. Not only with the app store, but all application settings can be stored in the cloud. A user no longer needs to configure application settings with every system.
I’ve already tried some apps and started writing Windows 8 metro style applications on my new Samsung. It’s really exciting, the future is Metro.
More information coming soon.