Random Thoughts on Windows 8 and WinRT Development Platform

Last week went full of excitement. Microsoft announced a lot of new stuff at their long awaited BUILD conference. This post is a dump of my random thoughts and notes about Metro Style App, WinRT and Windows 8.

  • My first reaction when WinRT was announced was like: "Another platform, another framework? Really? I mean, really?". Then if you think about it, it is probably a necessary evil to make Windows a better platform. It is a logical step. They're definitely moving in the right direction.
  • Full screen, immersive apps! Finally!
  • Very good news for web developers. Now they can use their skills for building desktop applications as well. Furthermore, HTML 5 now seams like a universal, one-size-fits-all technology. It is already native for Web and now it is also native for Windows. Thinking about improving my HTML/CSS/JavaScript skills :)
  • Applications built using HTML 5 are still Windows applications, they are not going to run inside a normal browser. They use WinRT API and some HTML "extensions" for data templates and other stuff.
  • Like the idea of plug-in free environment.
  • Skills that I acquired being a C#/WPF/Silverlight developer are going to be very much relevant. It becomes native environment in the future Windows.
  • Classic desktop apps, .NET, WPF and Silverlight will run as usual. "Metro style" is just another class of apps.
  • Expression Blend now can be used for HTML. They are dramatically improving tooling for web stuff.
  • Don't like the word "Metro" for some reason... Just don't like it.
  • C++ folks finally got a nice GUI framework to their disposal.
  • Expression Blend designer was integrated inside Visual Studio. Although I use it very rarely, it is nice that the designer will behave the same way in Blend and VS, especially it is important in relation to design time data.
  • Although it was known long before the conference, but can't help mentioning the async stuff
  • Visual Studio: Very nice "find matching duplicates" feature, that finds duplicated code. Especially nice that code analysis will find duplicate code and give a warning.
  • Visual Studio: Great debugging tools for HTML. Particularly, live DOM explorer and live mapping to the server code (when you highlight a part of page and see its HTML and corresponding server code that generated that HTML). Again, they are dramatically improving tooling for web.
  • Nice agile tools in Visual Studio Team Foundation Server. Very easy and convenient for Scrum projects. Microsoft was using it internally for building Visual Studio in their Scrum team. We were recently evaluating tools for Scrum in our company. We settled with JIRA (GreenHopper), but this might change the game in the future.
  • After playing a bit with Windows 8 Developer Preview, can say that it's still very raw. Although I like bits and pieces, there are number of UX issues. For example, constantly switching between Metro mode and Desktop mode doesn't feel very natural and convenient. The fact that clicking the "Start" button brings up the Metro home screen instead of the start menu takes some getting used to.

Also here are a couple of interesting links:

Pavlo Glazkov

Pavlo Glazkov

Programmer. Full stack, with a focus on UI. JavaScript/TypeScript, Angular, Node.js, .NET

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