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Windows Reimagined

By Steve Ives, Posted on September 14, 2011 at 12:18 am

Well, all I can say is “WOW”! The first day of the Microsoft BUILD conference is over, and it’s been a LONG day, and it’s been a BUSY day, and it’s been an EXCITING day. Wow!

I’m buzzed … and I’m really quite surprised by that statement. I arrived in Anaheim a little over 24 hours ago, and to be quite honest I was a little skeptical about the whole thing. As you may know from a couple of recent posts, I had started to do some research about what Windows 8 might mean to Synergex, and to our customers, and to our customers customers … and to be quite honest I had more questions than answers. I was more than a little concerned that Microsoft were all set to try to change the Windows world … which they are … but perhaps with less than the amount of (in my opinion) required consideration for existing customers, and applications, and technologies, and tools.

Specifically, I was concerned that there was a lot of talk about HTML5, and of CSS, and of JavaScript … but very little talk about XAML, and C#, and third-party languages like Synergy .NET, and so on. I was concerned that Microsoft were set to not only reimagine Windows, but also reimagine all of the development tools that are used to build Windows applications.

But … big sigh of relief … from me and several thousand other people in the room … although there is a definite emphasis on new development tools which will soon be available within the Microsoft development toolset, i.e. extended support for tools like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript,  there is also a consistent message that existing .NET toolsets are still completely valid and will continue to be so.

On the platform side … WOW! Most of the information to date has centered around videos of demos dating back to early June, and those demos were pretty impressive, Well, I can tell you that things have moved on quite significantly since then, and although Windows 8 is still only in a “Developer Preview” (i.e. pre-beta) state … it’s looking REALLY GOOD!

Of course there are bugs, of course there are glitches, but on the whole people at this conference are pretty excited about what is coming. And that includes the four Synergex employees that are here … after a long day at the conference, and a pretty good stint in the bar afterwards, we’re bouncing ideas around, and coming up with all of these “what if’s”, and seeing the real possibility of Synergy developers being able to fully participate in these exciting new technologies.

Of course some of the reason for this is as a direct consequence of the tens of thousands of man hours of work that have been invested in the various Synergy products in recent years. But also it is with the realization that there is more work still to be done, because the goal posts just got moved in a fairly significant way. But … because of where we know we are now, where we now know we need to be actually doesn’t seem that far away … WOW!

There are exciting times ahead … there are challenges also, but I firmly believe that we’re on the right track.

If you’re interested in the future of Windows then I would strongly recommend that you watch the keynote speech from todays conference, you can find it and many other interesting videos here:

https://www.buildwindows.com

By the way, I am writing this post on my new Samsung Windows 8 “Slate” PC. Those who know me would tell you that I develop on Windows, and Unix, and Linux, and OpenVMS … but I’m an Apple guy at heart. I have an iPhone, and an iPad, and a couple of Macs … and I LOVE those things. But … I think that Microsoft Windows 8 might just change the world. It’s an operating system for the PC, and that PC might just be a Slate (tablet). The point is that today I was convinced that the best of both worlds really can be built into one operating system that can run equally well on different types of devices. I LOVE my iPad but I can’t run hundreds of thousands of existing desktop apps on it, and despite good intentions iOS is jus WAY too restrictive. What Microsoft showed us and gave us today is really cool … it’s a tablet, but it’s also a PC … WOW!


2 responses to “Windows Reimagined”

  1. Jeff Gill says:

    Hi Steve

    This is really one that Microsoft must get right. Many of our Clients have already moved onto Macs running emulation to use our Synergy Application we have already interfaced to the iPad using a 3rd Party app for PDF notation and we are moving our Thin client to Delphi XE2 to not only take advantage of the multiplatform abilities but also to maximise the component technology we use when windows 8 becomes a reality. There are many parts of our turnkey Synergy Application that do not require a keyboard interface and our users may wait for W8 but if it is a disaster (Vista) then we will definately look for an alternative for these tablet type solutions and we wont go back.

    Cheers

    Jeff

  2. Steve Ives says:

    I couldn’t agree more, it is CRITICAL that Microsoft get this one right, and I believe that they know that. That’s likely one of the reasons that there has been no talk of dates yet. For sure a release date is still somewhat in the future, after all the current product is a developer preview, not even a beta release.

    I’ll be honest, there are some things about the current Developer Release that a lot of people at the build conference really disliked, but I suspect that many of those things are because Microsoft have set up the tablets that they gave out in a way which ensures that they can be used for testing and application development, but not really for every day use. They want the developers testing Windows 8 (just by using it, because for sure it is returning all kinds of telemetry data back to Microsoft) and more importantly … developing new Metro Style applications for the Windows 8 Application Store.

    So … the moral is … don’t get too upset by negative things that you might read on-line at the moment, because nobody yet has their hands on anything that will even resemble the final product that will ultimately ship.

    In my opinion, they’ve done a GREAT job thus far, and there is still plenty of time left for improvements.

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