//Build/–Windows 8 Thoughts

By Anoop Madhusudanan

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Game on. After going through the Day 1 keynote for the Build event, I should say I’m pretty much convinced that Microsoft has got the equation correct. They corrected the Tablet part of the equation, and got the entire Cloud <-> Tablet stack in place, with proper platforms and a nice set of developer tools. And with out doubt, Windows 8 devices are going to be a definite competitor for iPad/iOS, and Microsoft has officially entered the post PC era.


Here are few quick observations, mainly on the developer side.

About Metro UI

    • Metro applications are now officially the first class applications that  can fully leverages the touch features of Windows 8.
    • The new start screen looks very refreshing, with dynamic tiles.

For Developers

    • Develop application in HTML5<->JS<->WinRT or XAML<->.NET<->WinRT
      • You can develop native Windows applications either using Javascript and HTML or using .NET and XAML. This also means, ability to access native WinRT APIs straight from Java script.
      • This is particularly interesting because Javascript development model suits a lot of cloud based applications, and now JS developers can develop first class Windows 8 applications.
    • Visual Studio vNext, .NET 4.5
    • IE10 Engine powers the JS/HTML5 Apps
    • A lot of asynchronous programming everywhere
  • Expression Blend 5 now supports editing HTML5, much like you use it for editing XAML.
  • To a great extent, your XAML assets can be reused across multiple devices – desktops, slates and phone.
  • Windows 8 Store
    • Transparent approval proces
    • Developers can publish applications right from Visual Studio.

New APIs and Extension Points

    • Charms
      • Apps can share charms, to inter-operate. For example, an “Insert Picture” dialog box can show you results from other applications that can handle the image/picture data type.
    • Direct Compute API
      • Enables you to leverage the power of GPU in your applications
    • Sensor Fusion API
      • A Single API for all your sensors like Accelerometer, magnetometer and gyroscope

Windows Live integration

    • The whole suite of Windows Live services are neatly integrated to Windows 8.
    • All these Windows Live applications (Mail, Calendar, Photos) are now developed in Javascript/HTML5 and is native.
    • You can connect multiple devices via Windows Live

Support for Wide Variety of Hardware

    • The hardware support for Windows 8 seems really awesome. The demos features Windows 8 running on a variety of hardware devices
    • New and improved features include
      • Multi monitor support with start button on all screens
      • Hyper V Support for client
      • USB 3 Support
      • Hardware acceleration for all applications
      • Malware detection in boot strapper
      • A boot mode called “Cold Boot“ which is super fast

You can download Windows 8 Developer Release and related development tools from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/home/ by 8 PM PST. Enjoy, happy coding!!

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