WP7 To WP8 Migration, Not Easy

Microsoft Cash Cow.John Marshall: “Existing WP7 apps will be recompiled to work under Metro, but nothing has been said whether this is a one time event or the developers will have the oppurtunity to continue to modify the WP7 code.”

Wow. That’s all I can say. Nokia bet the farm on Windows Phone 7, released the Lumia 900, and Microsoft does this?

Man, good thing they’re friends.


Windows 8 requires a developer license

Kunal Chowdhury: “The straight forward answer to this is “No”. You can’t develop and deploy your Windows 8 Metro applications in your Win 8 environment or Win 8 simulator unless you have a Developer License synched with the PC. If you try to deploy the app without the license, you will get the error “Error: DEP0100: Deployment failed due to a Developer Licensing issue.” as shown in the following screenshot:”

Hopefully you don’t have to take a test.


WinRT, a replacement for Win32

Duct tape makes the world go 'round!Paul Thurrott: “Microsoft has an unfortunately inaccurate high-level diagram showing the relation between WinRT and the environments its replacing (which are shown as IE, Win32, and .NET). But the important thing to note is that there’s the NT kernel and then, right on top of it (like Win32) is WinRT. This WinRT has an application model and three boxes of capabilities that are expressed by APIs (Communications & Data, Graphics & Media, and Devices & Printing). “Above” WinRT is the two sets of presentation layer/programming language couples: XAML and various high level programming languages (C#, VB, and so on) and HTML/CSS and JavaScript, respectively. (DirectX is left out, but this sits on top of WinRT too.)”

In an earlier post, Windows 8 Speculation, I had diagrammed some options for WinRT. It looks like Microsoft went with the middle choice, making WinRT a peer to Win32. This is a very good thing.

Now I’m pretty excited to see what the API’s look like.


Windows 8 Speculation

Duct tape makes the world go 'round!A co-worker, thanks Sudeep, turned me on to a great Windows 8 article on Ars Technica and that got me thinking. The article talks about an updated set of API’s for C++ applications and a new set of managed .Net API’s that get closer to the machine, which is a great thing. It sounds like we’ll have peer un-managed and managed layers, but…

What about the Windows API?

The article talks about WinRT, the new C++ API’s, and DirectUI, the un-managed API’s, but it doesn’t say a word about the “old” Windows API’s. There are tons of applications written against that set of API’s so they cannot go away, at least for now. That begs the question “What about the Windows API?”

The answer is, it will be there, but where? It’s time Microsoft moved toward a modern model right down in the OS. These transitions are never easy, but it can be done. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple and we were given OS X Apple made a decision to move toward Objective-C and Cocoa as their modern model and support the old C-style Mac API’s(Carbon) so legacy applications, like Photoshop, could move to the new OS. At that time Apple said they would abandon that support in the future, and they managed to support it for about 10 years. With Snow Leopard they decided not to bring all of Carbon forward, which was painful for Adobe and others. I guess my point is the old Windows API will need to stay around for a while, and the transition to WinRT could be painful, but definitely doable. Part of Microsoft’s strength, and weakness, has always been backward compatibility. It looks like they’re finally ready to make a bold change. Good for us.

How will it look?

That’s a great question. I wish I had a definitive answer, but I could see three possible scenarios, maybe there are more?

Here’s what I think could happen.(Click for a larger image.)

Windows 8 Speculation

Business Microsoft

On Windows 8

Wired: “They were told that all their experience, all their knowledge and every program they have written in the past would be useless on Windows 8.”

I think there’s been a lot of undue FUD surrounding the little demo of the new Windows 8 shell Microsoft released. I saw the demo and my first reaction was, “Hey, they’re learning from their mobile experience.” Then I instantly thought, “Wait, is this a shell on top of a shell? Is this Microsoft Bob all over again? Reminds me of Active Desktop.” Yes, those thoughts crossed my mind. I hope this isn’t a shell on top of a shell. I hope they find a way, like Apple, to meld it into the desktop experience. I can’t imagine it would be a shell on a shell. That just doesn’t make a lick of sense and would be confusing to users. I say Microsoft will do the right thing and make it work for both novices and experts alike, it will be a part of the shell. Steven Sinofsky is a smart guy.

The other thing I call BS on is developers believing Microsoft is going to abandon .Net or FORCE them to create applications in HTML. Do you think Visio, Word, Excel, or even Visual Studio will be rewritten in HTML? I think not. I’ve heard Microsoft is making a push back into C and C++. Bravo. Embrace the computer I say. In the last 10 years Microsoft has made great strides on .Net, I can’t see them abandoning that. It’s basically a development path for the masses as well as a way for Professional Developers to accelerate time to market. Microsoft has always been very good about maintaining backward compatibility. I don’t think developers should worry too much.

I’d reserve judgement of Windows 8 until we see Release Candidate bits. If the new shell is still a shell within a shell, then I’d worry a bit.


Windows Jumps the Shark

Within Windows: “In Windows 8, Ribbon usage is accelerating again, and Microsoft’s next major OS will include this UI in the most visible of all possible places, Windows Explorer. In early builds of Windows 8, this Ribbon UI is only half-finished and, frankly, of dubious value. In fact, based on the divergent ways in which various related UI elements are repeated around the window frame, we get the idea that the use of the Ribbon in Explorer is, in fact, quite controversial inside the halls of Microsoft’s Redmond campus.”

I honestly hope this is an April Fools joke, but somehow I don’t think it is. I’m one of those curmudgeons that thinks the Ribbon is hideous and one of the worst things Microsoft ever did to Office.

Good thing I like keyboard shortcuts.