Today was an impressive day I can say. Microsoft did a great job in getting the whole developer community exited with this event where we knew nothing what will be happening before it started. We only got a date and a slogan telling us that Windows 8 will change everything. This build up to the event was a risky choice, and I can tell I have visited some bothered customers who already thought the technology they invested in would become a dead end.
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The past few weeks we have seen many developers declare Silverlight and WPF as dead technologies. All would be HTML5 and Java Script from now on, since they only took a few words out of a first windows 8 preview session at All things Digital.
As you can see from the picture below the crowd this morning was immense. around 5000 people wanted to get the best seats available in the arena at the conference to hear what the Microsoft Execs would be talking about.
After standing in line for 30 minutes or so, we finally could make our entry into the arena and submerse ourselves into the right feeling of the conference. With some loud music and teasing statements on the big screens.
Then we finally got started and we got a small recap on what we have learned from the previous demo’s on windows 8. Next they showed us what they call the windows metro style applications also known as immersive applications. These applications use the new Metro design language as the way to design the application itself and use as less chrome you possibly can. Microsoft had a team of interns working on the demo applications and the team of students that worked on the application where there and loudly applauded by the audience. Then finally we got the details on how we could build these immersive applications and what it would mean to us developers from now on.
So this all should be a great relive to all the speculating developers who thought they would declare Silverlight, wpf dead. In the contrary, you can see that when you invested in that area in the past, you can now leverage all your skills on XAML based UI design and create immersive apps very easily. They even showed us at the keynote that with a few lines of code changes, a silverlight application can now be recompiled against WinRT and run in the new environment. Does that make it an application that would qualify as an Metro style app, probably not, but you do can take your codebase forward and if you want start developing in this new design style.
So will those applications all be metro style in the future? Well I do think we should take a serious amount of time to rethink the way we build applications. If you are still building applications that only use menus and Grids, I think you seriously need to take a look at the possibilities at hand with this new User Experience model around fast and Fluid immersive apps.
We will have to dive way deeper the next few days to grasp the Nitti gritty details of all we have seen today. I really want to get my head around this new windows RT runtime environment and how that compares against the .NET runtime we came so used to.
I took a picture of the first info we got on this new app execution environment, but it was not enough for me to distinguish it from what we have used in the past and how that might affect me as a programmer in the application types I can build.
A few things I noticed and I want to get more information on tomorrow, is the missing piece in the WinRT library that has to do with data access. Perhaps they want to see a model where all data is only accessed thorough a service layer that does the data access, but I am not sure about that yet. I also want to see how the tools will help us better deliver these new types of applications.
So time for bed and recharge my battery for tomorrow!