Microsoft developers horrified over Windows 8 preview

“When Microsoft gave the first public demonstration of Windows 8 a week ago, the reaction from most circles was positive,” Peter Bright reports for Ars Technica.

MacDailyNews Note: Our reaction from June 1st is here: More good news for Apple: Microsoft previews Windows 8 (with video)

Bright continues, “But one aspect of the demonstration has the legions of Windows developers deeply concerned, and with good reason: they were told that all their experience, all their knowledge, and every program they have written in the past would be useless on Windows 8.”

“Key to the new Windows 8 look and feel, and instrumental to Microsoft’s bid to make Windows a viable tablet operating system, are new-style full-screen “immersive” applications. Windows 8 will include new APIs for developing these applications, and here is where the problem lies,” Bright reports. “Having new APIs isn’t itself a concern—there’s simply never been anything like this on Windows before, so obviously the existing Windows APIs won’t do the job—but what has many troubled is the way that Microsoft has said these APIs will be used. Three minutes and forty five seconds into this video, Microsoft Vice President Julie Larson-Green, in charge of the Windows Experience, briefly describes a new immersive application—a weather application—and says, specifically, that the application uses ‘our new developer platform, which is, uhh, it’s based on HTML5 and JavaScript.'”

Bright reports, “Cue much wailing and gnashing of teeth… Such a switch means discarding two decades of knowledge and expertise of Windows development—and countless hours spent learning Microsoft’s latest-and-greatest technology—and perhaps just as importantly, it means discarding rich, capable frameworks and the powerful, enormously popular Visual Studio development environment, in favor of a far more primitive, rudimentary system with substantially inferior tools… The longer the company remains silent, the more convinced people will be that the reason that Microsoft isn’t debunking the claims is because there’s nothing to debunk: HTML5 and JavaScript really could be the whole story when it comes to immersive applications. If it isn’t, the decision to say nothing is incomprehensible. Saying nothing can only hurt. Developers are losing faith in the platform today; waiting to September to set them straight is madness.

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Windows is what people who don’t know any better – or who are forced by the resident IT doofus – struggle to use. Developers should be even more concerned that time and the young users have passed by Microsoft and Windows. Smart people develop for the future, not the past; they write software for OS X and iOS.


  1. As much as I’d like it to be true that Microsoft is pulling a 180 with their OS, this is more about their inability to articulate how the 2 UI/UX’s will work together in the demo than the future direction of their OS. Windows was built on the legacy user. There’s no way what was represented in the demo video will be the standard for all devices in Windows 8.

    1. MS hasn’t changed anything, its the same lazy bums who wish every year could be 1995.. they want the a monopoly, and they don’t want to have to work hard for it.

      Hence, its Windows.. they didn’t do anything new for tablets, its their same strategy.. putting one piece of software on many devices.

      If a doctor only knew how to do one kind of surgery would you recommend him to all patients?

      If a chef only knew how to do one dish, would you recommend him to work at several different restaurants?

      In no other industry would this kind of laziness pass, but because it’s tech, onlookers think, “Oh it’s complicated, and they’re MS, I’m sure they’ve got their computer geniuses working on this, and they’ll figure it all out”

      They aren’t, and they haven’t.

      Under the hood of Windows 8, looks like … Windows 7? In about 3 years MS has almost nothing to show for it. Lazy bums.

  2. I’m not at all shocked, MS has been driving their developers away the last few years and I do not see this stopping.

    They at one time produced what is arguably the most solid C++ compiler on the planet (Visual C++ 6) and they refined their API. If anything you could count on them to ‘be there’ for you as a developer.

    Not anymore. I got off the horror express that Visual Studio has become a fear years ago. If I need to develop on Windows I use either just the c++ compiler VS and make a native Win32 app or I just use Delphi and do my application in Object Pascal.

    Since walking away from .NOT (the .net framework) and giving Visual Studio the boot I have had a much more stress free life.

    Visual Studio is powerful, but MS has covered it in mud with shifting strategies and direction changes. First it was ‘WinForms’, then the ‘Windows Presentation Foundation” and now apparently another big shift is coming.

    CTR-ALT-DEL… they are done.

    1. “.NET” is a true hell for applications’ performance.

      Just look at Catalyst Control Centre by AMD (ATI), done with “.NET” framework.

      Despite this being just an utility for configuring a videocard, It takes long seconds to load, and then it crawls.

      I hate it with passion.

      1. Amen brother.

        The .net framework is a PIG.

        The last straw for me was producing an internal application at work with .net. I kept getting reports of poor performance. I used the ANTS profiler and was horrified to discover that creating an instance of the regular expressions object in .net took almost 3 seconds. WTF!!

        I rewrote the whole thing in Object pascal and it was a night and day difference. It went on to be one of the most solid apps we use after that.

        1. What amazes me even more is that ATI (and AMD, as successor), is long time prime partner with Microsoft and it is already 10th version. And “.NET” platform that I have is the latest variant available after like ten years of refinement.

          So we have both CCC application from ATI (AMD) and “.NET” framework that can not be more tuned and optimized, and yet even this best possible collaboration is unbelievably slow in everything it does — much slower than similar ATI’s utility from before 2002, when no “.NET” framework was and I had zillion ways slower hardware.

          Sorry, but for this alone MS deserves godly punishment. ;))

  3. Actually, I’m not questioning MS on this one, but the developers. MS moving to more standards based technologies like HTML5 and JS are good things. The developers who don’t want to get with the times should be left behind…

    Of course, this is all too late to try to bring MS into the present (much less carry them into the future), but these dinosaur developers are insane to NOT want to make the move…

    1. But this severely limits application features and technology.

      Please, please let this be true! It’s so much fun watching them shoot themselves in the foot over and over and over again.

        1. Agreed. I think they’re working on shooting the knee caps now. The foot and ankle are long gone. Leg bone was blasted off by Vista.
          …shooting up and onward to the HEART of Microsloth!

    2. It’s only good to move toward standards if it improves the product for consumers. You don’t see iOS working in HTML5 and Javascript to write apps, do you?

      If nothing else, MS has always understood the importance of developers and made good tools for developers to use. Much more so than Apple did in years past. Now the positions are reversed – Apple fully understands how giving developers great tools to create for its iOS and OS X platforms allows it to capture the mobile market, just like Microsoft did way back when.

    3. I’m not a programmer, but I heard guys like Thurrott saying it could be HTML/JS on the front end and still have all the same APIs etc on the back end, regarding the new Windows Shell.

      I guess whatever MS does they’re gonna piss SOMEBODY off, but I’m just amazed that their strategy is now, the exact same thing they did 10 years ago with Tablet PC. It’ll be fun to watch this implode.

  4. “immersive”

    Immersed in anger, grief, frustration, hopelessness, desire to blow something up, throw the pos out the window, curse Bill Gates of Hell, vow to never again touch or come near anything M$…. etc.

  5. The second-to-the last paragraph of the full article starts…

    > But Microsoft isn’t stupid. Its messaging and PR around this issue may be crazy…

    So, Microsoft is ONLY crazy. That must be a relief for MSFT shareholders. The truth is, today’s Microsoft IS crazy and too stupid to know it.

  6. “Such a switch means discarding two decades of knowledge and expertise of Windows development”

    So if developers are not locked into MS proprietary environment, but given an actual choice, they will jump ship?

    1. No, it means they developed apps for the OS that controlled 90% of the market, learned all the ins and outs, spent lots of money on Microsoft certification programs, etc.

      And that they just had all that wadded up and tossed out the Windows and into the Recycle Bin.

      So they have an option: Learn Microsoft’s new HTML5/Javascript APIs and tools, or move to the new king of the hill, iOS. If you have to learn something completely different, why not learn for the unquestioned market leader?

  7. I am going to have to change my stance here after talking with a friend who was at the demonstration in question.

    It was never said ‘this is how you’ll make applications on windows 8″ nor what it said that was the ‘only way’ to do it.

    All that happened was a weather app was run and it was mentioned that this weather app was made with HTML5/JS which is part of their new development platform.

    I think people are freaking out over possibly nothing at this point. MS has invested heavily into .NET/XNA/SilerLight and it transcends all their current offerings (Desktop, Server, Phone, XBox 360). I doubt the plan is to just toss all of that out the window.

    They can’t even get people to stop using Win32 and they have been trying for years!

    1. That’s because MS keeps supporting all the old, old technologies like Win32. Apple learned long ago that at some point you have to cut the cord, otherwise all those legacy cling-ons will just drag you down and keep you from moving forward.

      When Apple told developers that PowerPC was dead; Mac OS 9/Classic is dead, and not to develop for it any longer, developers listened. Apple made it perfectly clear that those were old, abandoned technologies. Developers may not have liked it at the time, but who could argue now that we would be better off having Classic running on our Macs?

      1. I have to agree with you.

        I think what has hurt MS shelving Win32 is that while they were telling everyone to stop using it, MS themselves were continuing to improve it and use it in their own native code products.

        Even on Windows 7 , new Win32 api calls were added. It was not long after launch and these were documented and examples of how to use them in all sorts of languages were all over the web.

  8. “When Microsoft gave the first public demonstration of Windows 8 a week ago, the reaction from most circles was positive,”

    As soon as I read this my mind screamed “PETER BRIGHT” to me. He’s the #1 reason I rarely visit Ars these days.

    And no, he isn’t just an Apple hater. He is stupid all-around, such as when he said Portal is better than Portal 2 (lol wut) and that Portal 2 is devoid of emotion.

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