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Windows 8 First Impressions.

By Richard Morris, Posted on March 27, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Although I’ve seen the latest offerings from Microsoft in the Windows OS stakes, I must say it’s a real eye opener to see it presented – and by non-Microsoft people!  It is conference time again for me, both preparing my sessions for the upcoming DevPartner Conferences in Chicago and York, and attending Dev Week in London.  This is my third year at this conference and I use the presentations here to spring board ideas into my conference sessions.

Anyone keeping abreast of the OS news from Microsoft will no doubt know there is a new OS on the block – Windows 8.   The new OS has, of course, a new UI. First impressions are that it is a combination Windows Mobile and Xbox!  Thankfully there is also a standard desktop environment as well, which for those of us without touch screen enabled laptops (note to boss, need new slate device :)) is good news.  Don’t get me wrong, the new interface is great, but as I’m swiping along and hunting for the back button I have a tendency to be up on my feet waving my hands erratically – well that’s what I have to do to get my Kinect to respond, and I did say it’s like the Xbox!

Joking aside (why?) it’s rather important to understand that Windows 8 has a new interface, and not a single application you have running under Windows (7/XP, etc.) will run under this new environment.  Now before you all start to panic, I did say there is a Windows desktop environment, and it’s under this that all your Synergy based applications will run. Panic over then.  All you need to do is install and go – click the start button and you are away.  So where has the program “start” button gone?  Disappeared, it is no longer, vanished!  All your programs will start from the new Windows 8 swishing tile start page.  If you have a lot of programs hanging off start button sub-menus then these will all appear as individual tiles on your new start page, which may be an installation consideration.  The desktop appears to work just nicely, and it’s where all of the traditional style applications are executed within, complete with all their associated Chrome (the windows, ribbon menus, buttons, etc.)  There are, of course, new or updated programs that utilise the new design architecture, Metro.  Metro is a new style of program UX (user experience).  Metro takes a while to get used to, but if you’ve been swishing through Xbox programs like LoveFilm, or the new BBC iPlayer app, you’ll be well versed in the navigation techniques of Metro styled programs.

It’s interesting that even the Microsoft people at his conference have no idea (or are not able to say) when Windows 8 will be officially released, but it’s most likely no time soon.

One great bit of news is that Metro is built on XAML – just like the WPF desktop developments I’ve been promoting for some years now.  Also, for those utilising my single page Visual State Managed design then this is the same approach used by Metro – well done MicrosoftJ

Now, I wonder if there will be any fancy data driven, Metro styled, slate device based, live & interactive demos at this year’s DevPartner conference – see “note to boss” above.  Check out the conference agenda (http://conference.synergex.com/) and make sure you have your seat booked to find out!


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