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Windows 8 Roundup 474

Posted by samzenpus
from the whole-lot-of-new-going-on dept.
There has been no shortage of Windows 8 news today. MrSeb writes: "Earlier this morning, at the Build Windows conference in Anaheim, California, Microsoft made it patently clear that 'To the cloud!' is not merely a throwaway phrase: it is the entire future of the company. Every single one of Microsoft's services, platforms, and form factors will now begin its hasty, leave-no-prisoners-behind transition to the always-on, internet-connected cloud." netbuzz pointed out that even the famous Blue Screen of Death will get a new look. Lastly mikejuk writes: "While everyone else is looking at the surface detail of Windows 8 there are some deep changes going on. Perhaps the biggest is that Metro now provides an alternative environment that doesn't use the age old Win32 API. This means no more overlapping windows — yes Metro really does take the windows out of Windows."
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Windows 8 Roundup

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  • by Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:07PM (#37404678)
    and I thought Microsoft was irrelevant before.
    • Re:The cloud... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:43PM (#37404960)

      and I thought Microsoft was irrelevant before.

      Ah, the internet, where 90% market share means you just don't matter.

      • by DJRumpy (1345787)

        I thought the same thing but more from a company perspective, where they limit and restrict just about everything one does on the internet. This doesn't seem like a sound business move, or it will severely limit the need to upgrade from a business perspective at least. IS Security groups are already frowning on cloud services where I work.

      • by BrentH (1154987)
        Well, he uploaded his comment to the cloud, didnt he?
      • by symbolset (646467) *
        Ah, Microsoft, where 90% market share means you just don't have to care.
  • by Dunbal (464142) *
    We're really spamming the Windows 8 articles recently. Yeah no thanks, Windows 7 works just fine. It's the new XP - didn't you know?
    • What's Windows?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Penguinisto (415985)

      I think it's a project by Microsoft to see if they can hype things out (like they did with Windows 7) and get massive results (like Windows 7)... sort of like emulating the Apple rumor mill, but instead of leaving the world to speculate, MSFT is trying to fuel the fire itself.

      OTOH, I think it will backfire, mostly because I think they mis-read the reason Windows 7 was moderately successful: Windows 7 didn't become popular by the hype machine; it became moderately successful because the last decent version o

      • by PCM2 (4486)

        One tactic I have noticed firsthand from early evaluations of pre-release Microsoft products is that they hype you up on lots of stuff, then tell you "it's just a preview release." So you get all excited, then you start to notice flaws... things seem a little half-baked... you have questions. Criticisms, even. But you kind of convince yourself "it's only a preview." Maybe you mention your reservations on some online forum, but someone immediately shouts you down: "Look you asshole, it's just a preview, ever

    • Re:Oh my (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Miamicanes (730264) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:54PM (#37405050)

      > Windows 7 works just fine. It's the new XP - didn't you know?

      It's sad, but you're probably right. Microsoft today is kind of like a rock star who's made so much cash, he's just going to be weird and do whatever the fsck he feels like doing from now on. If Microsoft is hyping "Metro" in an effort to generate developer excitement, they're having the exact opposite effect. Everyone *I* know is like, "WTF, has Microsoft gone completely batshit insane?"

      It's almost like Microsoft's entire developer elite just hit their mid-40s, had a midlife crisis, realized they have enough cash to spend the rest of their lives coding for fun, retired en masse, and handed over the company to a marketing department that thinks making Windows look like a tablet UI so it can run phone apps better is somehow a good idea.

      • All of this is because Steve Ballmer is gone. He kept the company sane and on the correct path I tell you what.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by afidel (530433)
        Considering we have give about 12% of our workforce ipads which are barely usable for "real" work I think MS is looking at things in completely the right way. I know I have little use for a tablet at work, but about 25-30% of my user base probably does and probably 80% wouldn't mind having one at home.
    • by tqk (413719)

      We're really spamming the Windows 8 articles recently. Yeah no thanks, Windows 7 works just fine.

      Oh, admit it. You're desperately wanting to upgrade just for the new, revamped BSOD!

      In other news, Win8 still BSODs.

      What's a vamp again?

  • by BLToday (1777712) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:11PM (#37404718)

    So we're back to Windows 1.0 with no overlapping windows? How am I suppose to quickly look at two open applications? or drag and drop items?

    • by Hatta (162192)

      no overlapping windows? How am I suppose to quickly look at two open applications? or drag and drop items?

      This is no problem. Just hit Mod4-space [naquadah.org] to cycle through tiling layouts until you see one you like.

    • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:25PM (#37404854)

      The windows 8 tiles system supports true multitasking, and has a few window arrangements that let you have 1/2/3 (or 4?) applications on screen at once.

      Its actually pretty well though out, and should work pretty well for tablet users and netbooks.

      For those of us power users with big desktops and multiple screens with 10+ windows open... guess what... that's not going away. You just launch Explorer, and have a full desktop window manager.

      Seriously... what's with all the idiotic hate on this?

      Microsoft is only changing the DEFAULT window manager to be more consumer / tablet friendly. Good for them.

      The prosumer/business/productivity group will still have the more pro oriented traditional window manager for doing what we do.

      Nobody even half expects people working on an excel spreedsheet business projection drawing data from pdfs, web pages, and their email to do so using the new interface. Some things make sense to do in multiple overlapping windows. That's not going away.

      So stop flipping out about it.

      • I can answer that! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:31PM (#37404904)

        Seriously... what's with all the idiotic hate on this?

        Microsoft is only changing the DEFAULT window manager to be more consumer / tablet friendly. Good for them.

        Because Microsoft is changing the default behaviour in the new product. And the new default behaviour will be LESS effective for the users of the traditional Windows systems (desktops and laptops).

        Here's an idea. Why not leave the DEFAULT behaviour as it is already and add a new OPTION to change it to the tablet-friendly format for those who want it that way?

        • by Vancorps (746090)

          That's pretty simple, the majority of computer users don't benefit from the traditional environment. For typical sales guys which live in Outlook they'll actually be more effective as the things they use readily will be easily accessible.

          Usability is what Microsoft is after, they will make the easiest interface the default as they always have. More advanced features which we'll use on the regular will still be accessible and not really all that different from Windows 7, so what's with the complaining?

          • More advanced features which we'll use on the regular will still be accessible and not really all that different from Windows 7, so what's with the complaining?

            Again. Because Microsoft is changing the default behaviour in the new product. And the new default behaviour will be LESS effective for the users of the traditional Windows systems (desktops and laptops).

            For typical sales guys which live in Outlook they'll actually be more effective as the things they use readily will be easily accessible.

            So you say

        • by vux984 (928602)

          Because Microsoft is changing the default behaviour in the new product. And the new default behaviour will be LESS effective for the users of the traditional Windows systems (desktops and laptops).

          First, the classic desktop is an application tile in the new interface. They've added an abstraction layer. The old system is not "gone", its just one step away. Its not even an "either or" really... because you launch the classic desktop from Metro... and then switch to and from that and other metro tiles. Hell.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            1) Because the people who would most benefit from the "new" Window manager are the ones that would be least likely to find the option to turn it on.

            2) Because the full classic desktop manager is simply a "full screen" application. In other words, its a tile in the new system.

            The user does not need to "switch" to classic, they just launch it, because its an application.

            Which is stupid. The moment Win8 detects a touchscreen it could immediately opt to make Metro the standard; the moment it detects no touch ca

        • And the new default behaviour will be LESS effective for the users of the traditional Windows systems (desktops and laptops).

          Will it? I haven't used that specific UI, but tilling WMs are more effective than floating (i.e. "traditional"), in my opinion and of many other power users.
          Of course, it requires multiple workspaces to work well, which I don't know if this will have.

        • An even better idea--why not develop two distinctly different OSes like Apple...one for tablets/phones, and one for computers?

          I might be as wrong as "No wireless, less space than a Nomad, lame" on this one, but I just don't see the allure of mixing the two paradigms into one OS.

        • by terjeber (856226) on Thursday September 15, 2011 @07:01AM (#37407952)

          According to Google, more than 90% of users do not know that they can use search functionality in Windows. The majority of Windows (computer) users are barely able to distinguish between a document, a website, an email and an application, it is all a blur to them. The typical computer user thinks that if he drags the small icon from the URL bar in IE/Firefox/Chrome to his desktop he has "saved" the webpage to his computer, he doesn't know the difference between a link, a shortcut and a document.

          Microsoft should attempt to make computers easier to use for these people, they are the vast majority of computer users. They need help. The fact that you get to click once more time than you would when starting Windows should not factor into that issue at all. As a power user you are able to make it work. It is optional after all.

      • The problem, at least as I understand it from reading the linked article, is that the system will be completely schizophrenic. There will be metro apps that don't support resizing or overlapping windows, and that only run in the metro environment. And there will be conventional apps that do support movable, resizeable, overlapping windows, and that only run on the desktop environment. And you have to actively switch between the two environments. If you want to have some applications of each type, both r
      • "For those of us power users with big desktops and multiple screens with 10+ windows open... guess what... that's not going away. You just launch Explorer, and have a full desktop window manager."

        except if you dl the actual dev preview you will see that no, you can not just dismiss metro like the xp/vista/7 theme. explorer IS metro now. your 'desktop' app is just a task bar and wallpaper. the start menu is not the normal metro ui start screen. also you will have a metro ui panel docked on the right hand sid

      • by afidel (530433)
        But from the day 1 keynote I took away that Metro apps by default will sleep when not on the screen, that's kind of backwards as a default at least from a desktop perspective.
      • It's a messaging problem. People don't like change. Hopefully the company sticks with "you'll get over it."
  • This is cool (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:14PM (#37404744)

    It looks increasingly like Windows 7 will be the last version of Windows I ever have to use.

    • Re:This is cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nbetcher (973062) <nbetcher AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:22PM (#37404824)
      That's what most people said about XP when Vista was on the horizon.
      • by 0123456 (636235)

        That's what most people said about XP when Vista was on the horizon.

        True, I might have to look at it again around Windows 9 or 10.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Sitrix (973862)
        And most of those people stayed with XP till Windows7 came out... A lot of businesses did the same thing, simply stayed on XP and skipped Vista entirely. At work we are already making plans to skip Windows 8 unless Microsoft gives us ability to make our workstations more business oriented rather then having them look like a bunch of touchscreen home PC's.
      • Had Vista stuck around and Win 7 not come to the rescue, people would still be saying that about Vista.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by black3d (1648913)

      Indeed. Tried Win8 out yesterday. Extremely disappointed with the forced nature of the Metro UI and how it takes over .. everything. Must admit I'm a fan of the ribbon changes to Explorer, et al. It's just a shame it's all hidden behind this horrible Metro UI that I never want to see. It's a shame that it's so difficult to switch apps if you want to "search" or actually use Explorer.

      "What's that? You want to look up something on Wikipedia in Internet Explorer, then go bac

      • by vux984 (928602)

        Metro will be good on tablets which is what its aiming for. And I already like it more than iOS on the ipad.

        Nobody should seriously be using the metro interface while writing an artical in word while referencing websites, email, pdfs, etc... that's just asinine.

        Use explorer where it makes more sense. Its not going away anytime soon, and if it does go away it will be replaced with something just as powerful... its absurd to think we are going to be forced into metro.

        • Re:This is cool (Score:4, Insightful)

          by black3d (1648913) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:58PM (#37405084)

          Vux - I completely agree. It's more the point that it forces you to. If you hit F3 to search, you're taken to the Metro search interface. You're now forced to pick one of their search "targets" and to use their interface. You can't even see your application as you're now in a full-screen Metro interface, so it's going to take at least three clicks to get back to your program (one in the lower left corner to bring up the Start screen, then one on Desktop to open the desktop "gadget", then one on your application).

          If, heaven forbid, you use Internet Explorer (which sadly, many users still do as the default browser on their PCs), it's also now a full-screen metro "app". If in the above example, you followed search to a Wikipedia link, you're now in a full-screen IE session with your original application several clicks away (and several clicks to get back to your IE to make sure you read something correctly, etc).

          I understand it's for tablets. That's great. But forcing it on desktop users as at present is asinine. I hope to be shown in beta that we have the option to not use Metro at all. That hasn't been mentioned yet. What we've been told is that we're going to have to "change the way you do a lot of things" and that we need to "interact with the screen" more. That suggests they are going to force this Metro crapware on top of everything.

          • by vux984 (928602)

            If you hit F3 to search, you're taken to the Metro search interface.

            And its these little quirks that i think need to be cleaned up between now and release or its going to be another Vista.

            If you are in the explorer windows interface, you should be able to search withotu leaving it. You should be able to open a web browser window without leaving it etc.

            I'm REALLY skeptical that they would force you to keep ending up on a metro tile if you start within the explorer desktop.

            Yes IE will run in Metro as

          • by gmueckl (950314)

            The Metro IE has a button (second or third one from the right in the lower bar) which allows to move the IE as it is into the desktop. You then end up with your website in the same IE window that you already know from Windows 7. And if you launch it from the desktop I believe it starts in that mode immediately, not in the Metro UI.

    • by microbee (682094)

      Why do you still have to use it now? What's holding you back?

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        Why do you still have to use it now? What's holding you back?

        At home, games and video editing, though I don't do either much anymore so I boot into Windows about once a month.
        At work, Word for documents incompatible with Open Office. But I normally put it off until I have to reboot for a kernel upgrade anyway.

  • >> Your PC ran into a problem that it couldn't handle, and now it needs to restart.

    Your software caused a giant fuck-up; don't try to blame the hardware.

    • Not always the hardware itself, sometimes the driver, but I'd say 90% or more of the BSODs I see at work are related to hardware. Very rare that it is purely a software issue.

      • by oodaloop (1229816)
        Strange then the desktop that crashed under windows runs better with Linux. I had no idea I downloaded better hardware!
        • This happened to me, but it was an hardware issue (with the DMA chip, IIRC) - Linux simply was able to detect and disable it.

      • Yep I saw a video to that effect on Channel 9 (admittedly a biased source). The problem so they say is that drivers live below the kernel/user land divide. So when things go screwy with the driver it is a kernel level fault and often knocks the whole OS down. It was a poor design, but sadly as with a lot of Windows warts it stuck around because of compatibility reasons. A lot that MS gets blamed and cursed for has reasons. They aren't ignoring that there is a problem, that the product at some levels is poo
        • by exomondo (1725132)

          So when things go screwy with the driver it is a kernel level fault and often knocks the whole OS down. It was a poor design

          And how would you have designed it at the time to get adequate performance? Why do you think pretty much all major OSes do the same thing?

        • That and the ability to support arbitrary functions of arbitrary hardware is where it first came from. Back in the NT days, nearly the entire graphics layer got put in the kernel to speed things up. These days they've managed to move more things in to user space, there are a number of kinds of drivers that are mostly either mostly user mode with a bit of a shim in the kernel, or entirely user mode and they talk to the hardware via something like a class driver in the kernel. It's helped a lot, but you can s

    • by Calos (2281322)

      To be fair, it could be either.

  • If only these 'clouds' or 'cloud services' actually had effective redundancy like they claim to and we didn't have so many 'clear sky' moments where they go down.
    • If only these 'clouds' or 'cloud services' actually had effective redundancy like they claim to and we didn't have so many 'clear sky' moments where they go down.

      Oh, come on, it's not like all the big Clouds got hacked this past weekend ... like Google and Amazon ... .... oh ... wait ...

  • "Are we really ready for a world where the devices we use for most of our waking hours can communicate behind our backs?"

    We're in that world now thanks to Windows. Our devices ALREADY communicate behind our backs. Trouble is, they are communicating with the criminals in Russia...

  • by vinn (4370) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:23PM (#37404832) Homepage Journal

    So here's what everyone is hearing in the Windows world about Win8: "We're changing Windows. A lot. It's gonna look completely different. It's gonna act completely different. A lot of the things you do today probably need to be thought about differently".

    Here's how IT management is interpreting that: "We might completely break Windows again. A lot. It's gonna confuse users. It's gonna make them less productive. Don't even think about using this product in a business environment without considering all of the extra support they're going to need."

    Guess what? Based on what I've already seen, there's no way I'm even bringing this product into our environment for even a test basis until it's been out for over a year. If we're gonna have to completely retrain users how to do something, we're going to consider other things. That new Motorola Bionic with it's full screen dock and keyboard is looking more and more like something I want to own.

    • Retraining (Score:2, Insightful)

      by msobkow (48369)

      Funny how companies keep eating the retraining costs, while claiming those same training costs are the reason they don't deploy Linux desktops.

      • by Vancorps (746090)

        What retraining costs? I recently upgraded a whole slew of users from XP to Windows 7, those that noticed any difference were happier for the changes and were used to them inside of a day. The bigger retraining came with Office, not the OS and OpenOffice or LibreOffice are quite different from modern MS Office. They work in a pinch for a lot of people but not everybody.

        Of course if you're talking about admin training that's different and I haven't met too many admins lately that are Windows only, most depl

      • by jimicus (737525)

        If I'm being honest, I don't think it is the training costs that are the issue. I think it's dependencies.

        Let me explain.

        Every company I've ever worked in, yes they depend on Office (but could probably get by with Libre/OpenOffice). But dig beneath the surface and you find:

        • Adam in Accounts needed an application to track forecasted payments, late payments and due payments. The accounts package they use can sort-of do this but it's very crude and very nasty. Fortunately, the accounts package does have the abi
    • by ross.w (87751)
      Since here we're still on XP and only now considering migrating to Windows 7, I think it will be a lot longer than that. It won't be until Microsoft drops support for Windows 7 anyway. That's the only reason my company is ditching Windows XP.
  • by kirkb (158552) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:26PM (#37404868) Homepage
    • by antdude (79039)

      I remember Vista(?) was supposed to have different colors of screens of death.

  • Brilliant (Score:2, Interesting)

    by darkwing_bmf (178021)

    Cloud computing is the wave of the future. The idea of using a desktop PC as a primary computing device is increasingly becoming an anachronism. The wave of the future is ubiquitous computing capability not tied to one specific device. For instance, being able to listen to a song in your car on the way home from work, your phone while you walk to the mail box and through your home entertainment system when you walk in the door, with all the systems seamlessly interacting with each other so you never miss a

    • Re:Brilliant (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Suiggy (1544213) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:44PM (#37404970)

      The problem is that cloud computing tantamount to slavery computing, turning users into slaves. It takes away all control and concentrates it in the hands of large corporations.

      I'm all for ubiqutous computing, but unless I own and control all of the devices I use, and the software running on them, what's the point?

      I'm tired of being a slave. A slave to the dollar, a slave to the government, a slave to the company I need to work at to survive in this pitiful existence. I don't want some big corporation to take away my personal computing experience.

      I don't see how people are so blind as to think cloud computing is an improvement.

      • ^^^ Exactly. People have forgotten that PCs were revolutionary BECAUSE they devolved control and power away from centralized IT departments, and put it directly in the hands of end users who could skirt bureaucracy and do cool, new useful things without having to wade through months of committee meetings first. Those who don't remember the past are doomed to repea...NO CARRIER

      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Why couldn't you have your own cloud? (Ok, one answer is that you still wouldn't control the conduit.)

    • Its becoming an anachronism primarily because software developers (yes I am one) would much rather have their code running protected on hardware they control (but preferably don't own e.g. EC2 Azure) and acting as a service than letting you have control of it on your own cheap commodity hardware. Really this is plugging the 'digital hole'. Damn now I'm sounding like Stallman, see what they've done to me?

    • Fine. Let my desktop PC use UPnP to configure my router, let my router update my DDNS hostname, and let my Android phone & tablet sync directly with my desktop PC. Maybe add a server appliance running Samba into the equation. No need to screw with proprietary online services that either cost lots of money or can vanish tomorrow without warning. I guess we're the geezers now, but anyone old enough to remember dotcom services we depended upon disappearing overnight (or mid-afternoon), never to return, is

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      > For instance, being able to listen to a song in your car on the way home from work, your phone while you walk to the mail box and through your home entertainment system when you walk in the door, with all the systems seamlessly interacting with each other so you never miss a beat.

      > Obviously this won't happen with Windows 8 but at least it's step in the right direction.

      I wouldn't expect it to happen with any version of Windows. I don't see windows ever having that degree of integration. At least i

  • Sanity Check? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Is anyone actually stopping to say - "hang on a minute, what do people actually use?"

    The hype of "the valley" would have us believe that everyone was sitting with a tablet with everything in the cloud.

    The reality I see around me everyday is that everyone is sitting with a desktop/monitor/keyboard and is using a wide variety of local software. Not only are they doing that because it is "what has been", but also they are doing it because it is "what is required".

    Is all this hype added to everything just to s

    • by 0123456 (636235)

      The reality I see around me everyday is that everyone is sitting with a desktop/monitor/keyboard and is using a wide variety of local software.

      In the future everyone will plug in their phone when they get to work, and edit Excel spreadsheets in The Cloud using the touchscreen.

      I read it on /. so it must be true.

    • Is anyone actually stopping to say - "hang on a minute, what do people actually use?"

      That is a rather incomplete inquiry. The better questions to ask are why do people use the things they use? What goals are they trying to accomplish? How can we make their lives better?

  • I haven't seen any comments on security. Does WS8 improve security?
    • Not a lot of details yet, only one short (but tantalizing) talk at the general keynote today. Active Directory will now be paired up with some kind of security rules engine that can inspect claims (user attributes) and the contents of files and implement enterprise-wide access policies based on the values it finds. The example shown was someone putting a file with sensitive data in a public share. When an unauthorized user inspected that share, the sensitive file wasn't even shown.

    • It depends on what exactly you mean by "security". One fairly big thing of note that is directly relevant is that new-style ("Metro") apps run in a sandbox, quite similar to what you see on iOS and Android. By default, they don't get access to your entire FS - even for read - only to their own little corner ("isolated storage"). No network, either, nor cameras and most other hardware. App developer has to explicitly list features he needs in the app manifest when packaging it, and user needs to confirm that

  • Two things (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stewbacca (1033764) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @07:57PM (#37405074)

    I have two things:

    1 - Given Microsoft's track record for abject failure in the innovation department, does anyone really believe any of this hype?

    2 - Does anyone else think trying to be two things at once will just be one hot mess? Unlike Apple who does iOS very well, and OS X very well, this seems to be doomed to trying to be two things at once, while simply sucking at both. I think Apple dabbled with the concept with Lion but quickly realized that when I'm using a desktop, I want a desktop OS, not a 27" iPad.

    • by gmueckl (950314)

      Actually, this hits the nail on the head. The current state of the system is exactly the hybrid that you fear.

      The overall behaviour of the new UI is a trainwreck in its current form, although some some aspects are quite OK. The problem is that is the frequent switching between Metro and the normal desktop that gets forced on the user. Sometimes you get thrown out of Metro onto the desktop because the system wants to ask you a trivial question and brings up a regular window for that. Other times you are forc

  • Would have been nice to explain WTH Metro is in the summary, or provide an inline link to it.
  • by roc97007 (608802) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @08:18PM (#37405242) Journal

    Regarding the new improved BSOD: "After expressing emoticon-style sadness"

    Windows catches up with 1980's mac.

    Well, I guess it's a start.

  • by davide marney (231845) * <davide.marney@n e t m e d i a . o rg> on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @08:50PM (#37405444) Journal

    I'm at the BUILD conference, and my impression is that Windows 8 will be very competitive. The re-imagining effort is sweeping, and touches everything from the back end to Consumer devices. The big news is that HTML 5 is now a "native" programming platform for the client UI. There are two JS libraries, a pure JS library that implements the new Metro look-and-feel (WinJS), and a Windows/JS bridge library that exposes the Windows API (and hence the Windows-controlled hardware such as the camera) in Javascript (WinRT). Tooling improvements include terrific new debugging scenarios and a major upgrade to Expression Blend to be able to edit HTML/CSS as well as XAML.

    Basically, MS has taken the best ideas of the web development world, and leveraged them to massively improve the development experience for their next OS. If I wanted to write Windows-specific apps, Win8 is a huge improvement. It's an open question, however, whether people want to write Windows-specific apps as opposed to web-centric apps. Even then, Win8 will definitely shorten and simplify the transition from a web app to a Windows app.

    • Buzzword Bingo veteran Davide Marney brings us this contemporary rendition of word salad without mentioning any of our three Buzzkills "vertical cloud synergy." Congratulations Davide! Please step up and claim your prize: a free download of Windows 8 Developer Preview (applause)
  • WinRT corrections (Score:5, Informative)

    by shutdown -p now (807394) on Wednesday September 14, 2011 @11:37PM (#37406314) Journal

    The article linked from TFA has got quite a few things regarding WinRT wrong. Point by point:

    Windows Run Time, WinRT- a C++ object-oriented API.

    It's not a C++ API. It's a COM-based API/ABI that can be accessed from any language that knows what a raw function pointer is. It's relatively easier to do that from C++, because COM vtables map nicely to C++ vtables. But WinRT ABI itself is intentionally designed to be projected to different languages, adapting along the way. C++ has its own projection, but so do .NET and JS.

    Applications can choose to use either the old Win32 API or the new WinRT but not both.

    Wrong. You can use Win32 APIs in Metro apps - some of them are not available (largely because they are pointless in the sandbox, or deal with the old UI concepts), but some are. If you open windows header files - "windows.h" and friends - they now have blocks of code that look like this:

    #if WINAPI_FAMILY_PARTITION(WINAPI_PARTITION_DESKTOP)
    ...
    #endif /* WINAPI_FAMILY_PARTITION(WINAPI_PARTITION_DESKTOP) */

    #if WINAPI_FAMILY_PARTITION(WINAPI_PARTITION_APP)
    ...
    #endif /* WINAPI_FAMILY_PARTITION(WINAPI_PARTITION_APP) */

    Desktop partition is what's available to non-Metro apps running on the classic desktop. App partition is what's available to Metro apps.

    Furthermore, classic apps can actually use WinRT (while retaining full access to Win32 APIs). Not all of WinRT will work - specifically, most of UI stuff won't - but huge chunks of WinRT are not UI-related and are accessible. Examples include I/O and networking libraries, XML parser, XSLT engine, new device and multimedia APIs etc.

    Of course WinRT is delivered to the programmer via XAML (or HTML)

    WinRT is not "delivered via XAML", and most definitely not "via HTML". WinRT includes a UI library (Windows.UI.* namespaces), which allow you to use XAML as a declarative markup language for your UI (but you don't have to, strictly speaking). This is what is normally used by Metro C++ and .NET apps. JS apps don't use WinRT for UI at all - they use HTML5/CSS3, rendered by chromeless IE. They do get access to non-UI parts of WinRT, but they don't have to use it, and in any case it's completely orthogonal to their (HTML5) UI.

    There is also no more need for P/invoke. As Win32 isn't being used there is nothing to invoke. There is no API lurking beneath the covers. So anything that you used to do via P/Invoke you will now have to find a way to do via WinRT.

    You absolutely can P/Invoke from a .NET Metro app. For one thing, you can P/Invoke to call any of Win32 API functions that are available to Metro apps, as described earlier. Furthermore, you can write a C++ DLL (e.g. for perf), bundle it with your app, and call it from C# as usual via P/Invoke.

    Now, in practice, you probably won't, for the simple reason that pretty much everything that a Metro app can do is covered by WinRT APIs. So why would you mess around with P/Invoke declarations when you already have an object-oriented API that can be used directly? Mixed C#/C++ scenarios are also better supported that way - you can make a private WinRT component DLL in C++, and reference it from C#. Your WinRT C++ classes automagically become visible as .NET classes, no P/Invoke declarations needed.

    In fact, you could even go the other way around - write a WinRT component DLL in C#, and reference it from C++. And then both of those can be used in JS, so you can really mix all three if you want.

    When you create a Page object with WinRT and run it then it expands to fill the entire screen real estate

    By default, yes, but you can have two Metro apps run side by side.

    If you want overlapping windows and dialog

How many QA engineers does it take to screw in a lightbulb? 3: 1 to screw it in and 2 to say "I told you so" when it doesn't work.

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