Windows 8

Microsoft shows what Windows 8 means for developers at CeBIT

Microsoft shows what Windows 8 means for developers at CeBIT

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As I told you in my earlier post from CeBIT, I visited also an event for Developers at CeBIT.

Microsoft Developer Evangelist F. Rieseberg and G. Logemann were talking about some important things while developing for Windows 8.

Components of a modern IT

First Microsoft told us a few words about the new form factors, which both Microsoft and we Developer have to deal with. This was to show us how important it is to use the Grid. The Grid is a huge tool to accomplish our apps to look on all devices the same, regardless of the screen resolution. The told us some areas which we should not use, as the are reserved for gestures or the back button.

Windows RunTime (WinRT) and code languages

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Microsoft explained us how easy it is to develop for the WinRT, using our already existing knowledge of our special languages. It is really easy to understand: Basic of the whole system is the kernel. On top of the kernel you have the WinRT APIs (for example communications, sensors). And with all supported languages you can call these APIs. You can develop Metro styled apps in C/C++, C# or VB (+ XAML), as well as in HTML/CSS or JavaScript.

Microsoft calls the WinRT APIs also the Metro style application APIs. These APIs are easy to understand.

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  • First we have the fundamental APIs: Application Services, Threading/Timers, Memory Management, Authentication, Cryptography and Globalization
  • On top of that are APIs for Media, Devices as well as Communications & Data
  • Finally on top of that all we have the UI

Desktop apps

In two sentences: You can develop apps or programs also for the desktop, but without the advantages of the WinRT. You will have to decide if you want a desktop app or a Metro style app.

Async development!

Only async. full stop. No, seriously, Microsoft declared they only want async apps. The UI has to be “fast and fluid” at every time the user is in the app. This is relatively easy if you are an .NET/C# developer. You know it already. In Windows 8 we have a simple keyword for it: “await”. Example: calling the FilePicker to hand over an image to the photo app, you will call it with the simple word await in front.

Process states

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Similar to Windows Phone, the used memory is controlled by the OS. This means when you app goes to background, you have to save the state of your app. Your apps has 5 seconds to handle all savings while going to suspended mode. While in suspending, your app runs no code.

You can create background tasks, but they need to be handled also for resuming. Imagine a download, you go to another app, return to your app. The background task has to resume while getting the right values from the download.

Another thing similar to Windows Phone: If the system runs to low memory, suspended apps will be terminated without any warning/notification. In this case all unsaved date is lost. It is up to us developers to save all data correctly within the 5 seconds until our app is suspended.

Q & A

At the end of the short event Microsoft took some questions. Two of them were interesting:

  • Q:  Is there a way to share data between a desktop app and a Metro styled app?
  • A:  Not locally. You have to use the cloud to do so.
  • Q: Will some of the features be available also for Windows Phone?
  • A: No comment.

What´s next?

Microsoft gave out feedback questions. Within this feedback questions we were asked whether we plan to develop Metro styled apps. If so, we should describe what app we are planning to. Microsoft will contact us developers before events which are suitable for our app ideas.

I tried to keep this post as short as possible. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to post a comment below.

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My CeBIT 2012 review

My CeBIT 2012 review

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Yesterday I was with a colleague at Hannover (Germany), to visit the CeBIT fair of this year. We started there in the morning, looking around what is new and cool.

The first things we looked at where some German ministries, but that was not so interesting. Then we watched a keynote for IPv6 and security, but the speaker was way too boring to stay there longer than the 15 minutes we rested there. We were moving around, having a look what Google does (promoting G+ for pages and a coffee bar), had a look at some German web content provider, but there was nothing really exciting there. Finally, we arrived at hall 4, where Microsoft had its presence.

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As you can see, the stand of Microsoft is big, in fact it is one of the biggest I have seen there.

So what did Microsoft present?

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  • Cloud Computing (Windows Azure, Microsoft CRM Online, Windows Intune and Office)
  • Productivity and Collaboration with Office & Co. (Microsoft Exchange, Lync, Sharepoint, Project, Office and Office 365)
  • ERP and CRM Solutions with Microsoft Dynamics
  • Data Management, Business Intelligence (BI), Integration (SQL Server 2012, BizTalk Server, Sharepoint Server, Silverlight and Visual Studio 2010)
  • Client and Server (Windows Server, System Center, Small Business Server 2011, Forefront)
  • and of course they did a preview of Windows 8

While presenting this things above, of course there was even more to discover:

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Above you can see another view on a part of the Microsoft stand, where you were able to play around with some Ultrabooks and Windows 7. But that was not interesting for me, as I know Windows 7, and the Ultrabooks are nice to look at but more interesting was to get a view on a Windows 8 tablet. Microsoft used the Build Slates to demonstrate. Sadly you could get your hands on only after you made an appointment, and of course they did not have any appointment left before the afternoon/evening. So I decided to go to the Windows Phone part.

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At the Windows Phone part, I had to wait a couple of minutes to get my hands on. First I could not believe what I saw there, but it was true: Nokia Lumia 900. Here are some hands-on shots:

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The device has similar specs to the HTC Titan, it is only slightly smaller in screen size and has the equal good haptic of the  Lumia 800. Paired with the fact that Nokia offers a bunch of very useful apps with its Windows Phones for free, I am really thinking about swapping my Titan into a Lumia 900. With this Nokia device it is really hard to stay on the Titan.

After playing around with the Lumia 900, we recognized that there is also an Xbox part. My colleague (who is originally an Apple fanboy) recently  bought an Xbox and a Kinect, so he could not resist to play Fruit Ninja:

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Microsoft also presented Dance Central 2 and another Kinect game – I will talk about this in another post.

As we finally could tear away from Microsoft´s stand, we were looking into the other halls. Dell, IBM, HP, nothing spectacular than already available products or talking about server racks and vending machines. After a short break it was time for me to turn to hall 8, where Microsoft did a CeBIT special about “Developing for Windows 8”.

My colleague was turning another bit around while I was there. He told me that he was at AVM´s stand, where he had a look to an LTE router, and visited an cellular carrier, where they were  demonstrating LTE.

My conclusion: it was a bit disappointing for me as there was not so much interesting stuff as I hoped (especially from the hardware part), but my experience yesterday confirmed my thought that it is difficult to see something new, because all was presented already on MWC last week and not all vendors and companies are heading to CeBIT afterwards. Microsoft did an excellent job in my eyes by presenting some interesting information about their products, and the did also include developers. So for this part I can only say: all thumbs up!

Note: thanks to @dominiksichling for supporting me yesterday and let me use photo/video where he is shown for my blog post(s).

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Microsoft is telling us how Windows 8 is ready for business

Yesterday at CeBIT in Germany, Kevin Turner (COO of Microsoft), told us how Windows 8 is ready for business use right from the start. He explicitly invited IT pros to test the recently announced Windows 8 Consumer Preview.

CeBIT12_Microsoft Keynote, Kevin Turner

No compromise experience

“Windows 8 will deliver no compromise experiences on a range of devices from tablets and PCs to desktops. It will give people functionality they love and the enterprise-grade capabilities that IT departments demand,” Turner said. “We encourage IT professionals to begin using it to get a firsthand experience of how Windows 8 will give people a beautiful, fast and fluid experience with the mobility and familiarity they need to effortlessly move between what they want to do and what they need to do.”

Microsoft recently often says, that there is no compromise about the user experience. As IT pros like system admins are focusing more on the productivity of the networks and systems they are maintaining, this will get interesting only to be interesting in second place.

Easy integration in existing system structures

This is one of the goals of Microsoft in business use. To reach this goal, Microsoft has focused on a few things.

  • First thing is of course a great user experience. The Metro interface is introduced to be productive on touch based devices as well as with mouse and keyboard.
  • Tablets are the second focus. There are so many things where tablets can be used in daily business, like on presentations, showing a customer a preview of recent products and so on. The big advantage here is that Microsoft was able to integrate the possibility of existing Windows 7 software.
  • Mobility is important: Microsoft solution to this is Windows To Go. A whole Windows installation on a little USB-Device, so users can be equipped with a full, customized Windows copy for working on the go – existing hardware can be reused without being forced to install a new OS.
  • Security is always important, especially in business area. With Trusted Boot and improved BitLocker drive encryption, AppLocker and claim-based access control help protect corporate data across the client device, the network and back-end infrastructure, says Microsoft.
  • Virtualization and management is made easy with Windows 8. Be it the well prepared Windows 8 OS itself, or the additional included Hyper-V technology: Windows 8 will help IT pros to integrate the new Windows devices easily into existing infrastructures.

So this is a short overview of the features coming to businesses. A good amount will also focus on apps/software and their integration as well as their backwards compatibility. The time will tell, how the new concept of Microsoft will be adopted also by IT pros for their daily business.

If you want to read more about this and watch a video about the possibilities, you can read a blog post of Erwin Visser, who has demonstrated some of the above points at the CeBIT.

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