Are we really in the dark about Windows 8?

 

“If pleasures are greatest in anticipation, just remember that this is also true of trouble,“ stated writer Elbert Hubbard.

 

There is a certain element of healthy anticipation that surrounds the unknown, be it the plot of an upcoming movie or the next version of Windows. At times, though this can translate into unhealthy frustration. This appears to be the true of many eagerly awaiting the next release of Windows. There have been countless bytes flying around the Internet with discussions on what will be added, what will be dropped, the future of Silverlight and the role of HTML5. SDTimes Editor-in-Chief David Rubenstein recently highlighted many of these frustrations in an article entitled “In the Dark about Microsoft Technologies.”

Indeed, we hear this frustration from many Syncfusion customers as they prepare to make major investments on the Windows platform. But – is it really the case that we do not know much about Windows 8? Is there reason to be troubled? I think not.

We know the following for sure:

· Windows 8 will run on different form factors ranging from iPad-sized tablets to very large screens

· Windows 8 will have a different start menu system based on the tile user interface (UI) offered on the Windows Phone 7 devices.

· Windows 8 is unlikely to run on phone-sized devices. The Windows Phone 7.x OS exists for that purpose.

· The new UI will be touch friendly but certainly not limited to touch. You will not be discarding your mouse and keyboard anytime soon.

· There is almost certainly a new Windowing platform (the Jupiter framework) that will be built on a tightly operating system integrated XAML stack. The skills for developing on this platform will likely carry over from the other XAML based platforms.

· Jupiter may also take a step towards the unification of rich client and web based deployment models (WPF and Silverlight) - not the technologies but the model itself may be unified under one common code base. If your WPF or Silverlight application is structured well there should be no trouble migrating to another XAML based framework should you decide to do so.

· .NET is definitely not going away. Why would Microsoft suddenly dump one of the most successful application development platforms of all time?

· Silverlight applications will work forever on Windows even if future development dramatically slows down (there is little indication that this is the case). WPF applications will work for a long time on Windows. Considering that applications written in C++ or Visual Basic more than a decade ago still work on Windows 7 with only minor tweaks, I am not very concerned about this aspect.

· Everything we know about Silverlight and WPF will likely carry over to the new framework. I anticipate only minimal developer training to take advantage of the new framework.

· HTML5 will be a viable way to build applications for Windows 8. This is true of Windows 7 and many other platforms today. Any updates to Internet Explorer and Windows that make it easier to target and deploy HTML5 applications will be a big win for everyone. Note – if you are a rich client developer with no current interest in HTML5, Javascript and jQuery, now is the time to head over to Amazon and catch up.J

Windows 8 is an exciting release for Microsoft and everyone who works within their ecosystem. I am eager to see what Windows 8 has to offer but given Microsoft’s excellent track record with developers, not the least bit worried.

As a company, Syncfusion will continue to make solid investments on our web, desktop and mobile products. If you are a customer, rest assured that whatever comes down the pipe in September, Syncfusion will be ready with controls and frameworks that will enable you to ship rock solid applications on time.

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