Windows 8

Poll: Would it be easier to develop for one Microsoft OS?

If Windows 8 is going to span multiple device types, would it be easier for you to work with one OS? Let us know by taking this poll.

With the Windows 8 Developer Preview, it has become clear that Microsoft wants one OS for tablets and desktops. Based on my experience using the Windows 8 Preview, traditional desktop apps really felt like they were given short shrift, and the touch metaphors for tablets did not translate well to the keyboard/mouse combination.

While it is a tough call to decide if you should develop Metro/WinRT apps or "legacy" applications moving forwards, Metro/WinRT does give us the opportunity to develop one application to span multiple devices. (Take the poll: Will you write Web, legacy, or Metro apps for Windows 8?) And if Microsoft decides to make Windows 8 its phone and game console OS, the market gets even wider.

J.Ja

About

Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.

10 comments
Realvdude
Realvdude

and what functionality it is going to be expected to support on different devices. I think the first obvious thing is screen real estate; from 20+", to 7-10", to 3-5" inches, is going to require many applications to have either limited functions, or different UI for each device. In all likelihood it will be a combination of both. As Justin points out with his comment about touch metaphors, there can also be an issue with user input.

xmetal
xmetal like.author.displayName 1 Like

Experience tells me that no matter what is done there will still be differences large enough to require specific fixes for each new version of Windows we choose to support. Developers of any large application that have had to rework it so it continues to install and run on the next version of Windows will be very aware of this testing and re-coding process. Given its complexity, Windows is amazingly backward compatible between releases (at least for the non-server versions of 95/98/NT/2000/ME/XP/Vista/7) but that does not mean re-coding is not required (in some cases it is small, in others, as with XP --> Vista/7 it may be large, and in all cases the entire application should be regression tested). If you are writing a new app targeting just Windows 8 you might be happy (I'm not in that business). If you need to continue to support XP and up (ie: the Windows versions that are still supported by Microsoft) then Windows 8 is going to add to your testing and development pain, giving you more work to do, particularly if you have a dedicated testing team. Each version of Windows we add multiplies all testing by a factor, and we (in testing and dev) are very happy when we can drop a Windows version (which in our case is when Microsoft stops extended support).

TAPhilo
TAPhilo

Having a "One OS to Rule Them All", to borrow a phrase, only works in movies. In REALITY, trying to have one item do EVERYTHING means it just does everything "OKAY", does NOTHING really "GOOD". You ALWAYS have to compromise and tweaking one item to make it better will always lower the usefulness of another part of the thing. You will not take a Prius to haul a boat around mountains - you BUY a truck that is designed to do that job. The same should be of any OS - you build it to match the needs. Regardless (continuing the vehicle metaphore) - you cannot take a Prius chassis and make it behave like a truck. You COULD take a Truck chassis and put a Prius body on it - but it certainly would never work like a Prius!

Mike Page
Mike Page

I like the idea of being able to develop native metro apps on a desktop PC then install them on mobile and tablet devices. I also like being able to write desktop applications that run on desktop and notebook computers. The desktop metaphor does not work well on small screens. The Metro interface does not work well on large screens. Providing that Win 8 eventually makes using desktop applications easy then it gives you the best of both worlds.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson like.author.displayName 1 Like

Can we sell only for on OS, support only one OS, lock our customer base to one OS. No.... So back in the real world?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer like.author.displayName 1 Like

AutoCAD seems to do well enough with their 'Windows only' approach.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Seeing as we can't without a shedload of work support more than one version of windows, never mind multiple versions of windows backoffice and automation products, the idea that we could then wupport multiple platforms is and always has been a bad joke. In fact it's bass ackwards, if we had cross platform development, cross version would be fairly trivial. The customer advantages of such a thing are 'obvious' the advantage to a vendor, somewhat more problematic.

belli_bettens
belli_bettens

They can't even pull it off for a smartphone vs tablet (android, iOS), let alone that they can do it for a tablet vs desktop. That's even a bigger difference!

dogknees
dogknees

That the API is built to scale automatically and effectively to all display types from the smallest phone to a wall of Ultra HD monitors.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer like.author.displayName 1 Like

As a user, I'm leaning toward it being easier to use an OS that's tailored for a specific hardware platform. I eagerly await developer feedback.

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