D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

//Build/ Day 1 Recap and Thoughts

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:35 PM

So we’re into Day 2 of Build, and the keynote this morning is talking about server and cloud aspects of Windows 8. I’m looking forward to the sessions this afternoon to get some deeper dives.

But let’s reflect over yesterday first – Build Day 1. Yes, there was a tablet given away. But those focusing on the “new toy” are missing the bigger message, the larger paradigm shift, the impact on the future of what we’re seeing.

I sound melodramatic saying that, but its true – the way development for the Windows platform is going to change will be a huge evolutionary step. Let me explain.

Windows Phone Devs are Windows 8 Devs

There’s not a lot of people developing for Windows Phone (compared to web or Windows developers). And yet those that are will be in the best position to develop for Win 8. They’ve taken so many aspects of the WP7 development story that many times I was left thinking “Oh, yeah, I’ve seen that before” while other developers were getting introduced to things like tombstoning (called “suspending” for Win 8), new package deployment, and new/specific design and interface considerations (i.e. touch, layout, etc.).

User Experience No Longer ‘Nice to Have’ or ‘Trivial’

User experience/user interface development has long been seen the arena for web applications, with developers/designers of web sites long being handcuffed together. Business applications – well they didn’t *need* all that UI/UX stuff. But we’ve matured and realize that yes, yes they actually do. People expect their applications to work *and* look good, be functional, be USEFUL, and ensuring great user experiences makes that happen.

It’s not just “slapping lipstick on”, creating a good user interface requires people who understand the science behind user experience – and those people are not an afterthought to an application.

What we’ve seen with the Metro UI and how applications will be made available publically points to the importance of ensuring your apps look good, function properly, and make users want to use it.

XAML/HTML5 are the UIs of the Future

Check out the pic of a keynote slide below. Note that there’s two different columns – Metro style apps and Desktop apps.


Notice that for Metro, XAML and HTML/CSS are big part of the “view” slot (although C, C++, C#, and VB also seep up to that level). For desktop apps, we have HTML/Javascript added on to C/C++ and C#/VB. So yes, you probably still can develop your Winform apps if you really want to, but the future of UIs is markup-based languages that describe a UI, not a bulky compiled relic like Winforms. Interesting to note is the brands Silverlight and WPF aren’t listed…just the underlying markup language, XAML. This is still good news because the skills devs collected with those technologies aren’t going away and will still be valued with Win 8.

The focus for developer tools and innovation/enhancements to the development story will definitely be in the markup-UI space.


There are huge changes coming. Windows, web, cloud, dev tools, mobile – all of these are changing and shifting. The software developer of today faces a decision on whether to continue developing software as they always have, or move forward and prepare for what’s coming. As in natural evolution, those that survive are not the biggest or the strongest but the ones that adapt to change.


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