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This Week at BUILD

September 15, 2011

So here we are nearing the end of the BUILD conference and I decided to take a break and spill out some of my thoughts about what I have seen and heard.  To start off, it’s been a great deal of fun.  I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with several other MVP’s and Microsoft folks.  The weather has been beautiful, like only California can do it.  Don’t forget the new slate everyone got.  🙂

If you were not able to watch the keynotes, I highly suggest taking a look.  You can watch them, and all of the sessions for that matter, over on the BUILD website (http://buildwindows.com).  During the keynotes we finally got a look Microsoft’s vision and the Metro story for Windows 8.  Windows 8 is a complete restructuring of how things work and are developed.  There is a new foundation, which in not .NET, called the Windows RunTime (WinRT).  We still have C# and VB that sit on top of that and have added C++ and HTML/JS to the stack.  Managed code will still be around, a preview of .NET 4.5 was released, but it really sits on the back burner.  I could spend a ton of time going into some of the details, and I will start digging a bit more later, but for now I would suggest hitting the developers site: http://dev.windows.com .  You can even download the preview build, which includes a preview of VS 11 and a bunch of other goodies.

Overall, I’m very pleased and excited about what I saw.  It opens up a new tablet market for us developers and the App store is going to give us the opportunity to market to a wide user base.  While not the right choice for every application, seeing and hearing about the Metro design at the desktop is really interesting.  I have a lot of questions about how things are going to end up, but I keep having to remind myself that this is only a CTP and things could look completely different by the time they get to a release.

So what about Silverlight?  As a Silverlight MVP, I can’t really post about Win 8 without talking about the Silverlight story (if we had bylaws, I sure that would be in there).  First things first, as far as Silverlight on Win 8, it’s not really a viable solution.  Win 8 runs the browser in two different modes: Metro and desktop.  If you launch IE from the Metro interface (assuming that’s what most consumers will do) it does not support plugins.  No plugins = no Silverlight.  Now plugins are supported from the desktop IE, but that’s not a decent story to try and sell to your users.  Of course, this also means Flash won’t run either from Metro.  So I’ll be interested to see if this story changes.  But for now, you can assume no Silverlight on Win 8, even though its possible.

However, we are only at a CTP of Win 8 and a release date for the beta, much less the RTM, was not even mentioned.  So on that basis alone, you can figure you have at least a year before Win 8 with RTM.  Then you have to look at market adoption.  Win 7 just recently overtook Win XP.  It takes time to roll a new OS to the masses.  Then we will have to see if the enterprise picks it up.  If you look at the trends, the last OS adoptions looked like this:  Win 98, skip Win ME, Win XP, skip Vista, Win 7.  Given the slow adoption rates of the enterprise and recent history, they might even skip over Win 8 and wait till Win 9.  Regardless, Silverlight is still a valuable solution for several more years.

So what’s next for this Silverlight guy?  Well I’m going to start looking into Win 8.  They have added a ton a great features in the XAML stack and it’s worth looking into.  They have also added some cool features around Live that I really like.  However Win 8 is in the future and Silverlight is the present.  So I plan to start taking some of the cool things developed for Win 8 and start making Silverlight versions of them.  In fact, look for a series from me called “Win 8 on Silverlight” where we will start digging into some of these things.

Well that’s my two cents on the subject.  Back to learning some more Metro, maybe even some HTML5. Winking smile

Filed in: BUILD, Win8 • Tags: ,

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