Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Windows 8, WinRT, .NET 4.5 and more

Last week at the Build conference in Anaheim CA lots of new announcements have been made. The big things were Windows 8, Metro Style Apps and WinRT. But also .NET 4.5, ASP.NET MVC 4 and other new stuff came up.

Sadly I had to stay at home and did not get all the information from the remarkable experts who were speaking at Build (and did not get the cool tablet). But after I read a lot of Blogs and talked to a lot of friends (some have been there) I will write in this post what the most important news is to me.

Windows 8 has two modes. The Desktop mode addressing the business needs using keyboard and mouse (this is where all our Win7 Apps are running in the future) and the new Metro style mode addressing the lifestyle needs with touch etc.
Therefore there are also two development stacks. The big picture is shown below.

On the right side there is the Desktop mode stack in blue with .NET 4.5, C# ?, Silverlight 5, WPF ?, HTML 5, etc. Pretty much the same as we’re having today.
On the left side in green there is the new Metro style mode stack with WinRT, C# 5, XAML, HTML 5 etc. that brings the big news.

Also WinRT is not completely new. WinRT covers a great part of the Win32 functionality and many of the .NET 4.5 libraries are also (unmanaged) WinRT libraries. But stuff like WinForms etc. will definitely not be part of WinRT and can be found just in the Desktop App part where the full .NET 4.5 framework is located.
A thin managed layer gives the developer the C# programming API. With C++ this layer is not needed what could be an advantages for some critical scenarios. JavaScript uses the Chakra Engine to access WinRT.
Fast and fluid is what we heard a lot when someone talks about Metro style apps. There is a good chance that the WinRT APIs are mostly asynchronous. The C# 5 features will help as to handle this approach.

HTML/JavaScript Metro style apps are not typical web programming and are not cross platform. Furthermore they will be build specially for Windows 8 using the WinRT APIs.
XAML/C# Metro style apps are neither Silverlight nor WPF. They are something new using the WinRT APIs. Silverlight and WPF Apps are still present on the Desktop App side.

Business thoughts
Pretty cool all this new possibilities (Metro style apps) and all the old ones (Desktop apps) are also still working (even WinForms). Pretty cool that I can use all my existing knowlege to build the app of the future by only learning a few new things (WinRT).
As a developer employed by a software vendor working on one product I'm probably really happy. I can choose the technology I'm familiar with and addresses my needs best.
Being a .NET consultant at Trivadis it's not just fun because my boss expects me to do whatever my next customer prefers and therefore I do have to know just everything. And what about a service and maintenance team if every app comes in another technology?
Am I completely wrong by thinking the wide range of technologies ends up in superficial knowledge and in a next step in bad quality? Probably it would have been a good idea to make the world a little bit easier!

1 comment:

F Quednau said...

Making the world easier would mean to disppoint exactly those customers who want choice of technology, I guess our call is to improve on the knowledge share and transfer that we have in our company.