Ramblings from the Microsoft Build Conference

There is likely to be a ton of articles written in the last 24 hours on Windows 8 and the announcements at the Build conference. There is a lot being presented. In fact, I’ve started working on a couple of articles and blog posts that will be posted in the near future.

I thought I’d simply bullet list a number of comments, words, and tidbits that came up in presentations and conversations at Microsoft’s Build conference. These are not intended to be comprehensive coverage, but rather simply talking points for what is coming from Microsoft. There is no order to these, I’m simply presenting information. This blog is posted to a couple of forums (VBForums and Codeguru/forums), so I’m sure some of the following will drive a few conversations.

Without further ado, here are some Build Bullets:

  • Windows 8 is releasing as a Developer Preview at dev.windows.com.
  • Windows 8 will evolve through the standard cycle of Developer Preview, then beta, then release candidate, and finally general availability. No dates have been posted to these phases; however, Microsoft has stated they are focusing on getting things done cleanly. There will be interim updates to fix bugs, security issues, and such.
  • Microsoft Blend works great with designing Xaml. The new version will support HTML in the exact same way. New version has a DOM explorer.
  • WinRT is the Windows Runtime. This is the new focus for future apps, although other models work. The following image illustrates the programming framework going forward:



  • There was no mention of the .NET CLR. Stay tuned to see what we can learn about it.



  • When building for Metro, every app gets per-user cloud storage for settings, state, and a small amounts of user content. Every app will get this out of the box.
  • Visual Studio 11 Express for Windows is being pre-released with the Windows 8 Preview.
  • The language you choose should be more independent of the type of application you want to do. In other words, you should be able to choose Visual Basic or C# and accomplish the same thing. (And yes, Visual Basic is still there!)
  • Microsoft avoided the use of the word “Facebook” in everything they presented. They used an application called Socialite. [email protected] was used for instant messaging.
  • New interface is focused on Touch. Microsoft has stated that they clearly understand that the Mouse is different from the keyboard, and similarly, touch is not the same as the mouse.
  • Description of what a Windows 8 experience should be:
    • Fast and fluid
    • Immersive and full-screen. (Focus on apps)
    • Touch-first with full keyboard and mouse
    • Web of apps working together
    • Same experience for all pc devices and architectures – no compromise across new form factors, desktops and laptops
  • There will be a Windows App store. It will also allow Win32 apps.
  • Windows 7 can boot from drives up to 2 terabyte. Windows 8 can boot from drives up to a 256 terabyte.
  • Multi-screen support in Windows 8 is improved. You could have a Metro window in one and a classic look in the other. All monitors can have a task bar. Each monitor’s task bar can be set to reflect only what is on that specific monitor.
  • ASP.NET MVC 4 Preview and ASP.NET 4.5 Preview are available for download now.
  • Using a live ID login, you can gain direct access to your machines from a remote browser.
  • You need to consider multiple screen sizes and multiple resolutions (DPI) so that your application will port between smaller devices (< 10″) as well as large devices (screens as high as 27″). You should build graphics that scale from 100% to 140% to 180% cleanly. (I’ve been saying this for a while!
  • Icons are yesterday’s way of representing apps. Tiles are the future. Tiles are the front door to your app. They should be a view (peek) into your application. Live tiles are more engaging. You should also consider adding secondary tiles to your application that allows people to pin to deeper levels within your application. For example, a weather application could allow a specific city’s weather to be pinned. A stock program could let you pin a specific symbol.
  • Ability to use cloud services from Visual Studio 11 has been added.
  • Ability to do better code management and debugging. Use of graphics and modeling of graphics from within Visual Studio was shown.
  • Visual Studio TFS is being made into a service on Azure.
  • Microsoft will ship jQuery mobile as a part of ASP.NET and Visual Studio 11.
  • Yes, C++ can be easily used to create Metro applications

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