I’ve been absent from the old Learning Curve blog for a few weeks, because we’ve been very busy landing the Windows 8 Developer Preview. But the //build/Windows conference is almost here, and lots of stuff that we’ve been working on for the last two years will be revealed. Gotta say it’s pretty exciting – this isn’t your daddy’s Windows. The conference has sold out faster than any previous PDC, and yours truly barely managed to squeak in for booth duty, at the last minute.
Windows 8 enables a new class of applications, named “Metro style apps”, after the lovely Metro UI of Windows Phone 7. This user experience is designed to work optimally on any device’s form factor, with no extra programming on the part of developers. If you haven’t seen Building "Windows 8" – Video #1, take four minutes and check it out, it’s quite impressive:
Steven Sinofsky himself has started a new blog, named Building Windows 8, which is a great resource for seeing new features and reading about the design decisions behind them. In his new post, Designing for Metro style and the desktop, SteveSi writes:
We started planning Windows 8 during the summer of 2009 (before Windows 7 shipped). From the start, our approach has been to reimagine Windows, and to be open to revisiting even the most basic elements of the user model, the platform and APIs, and the architectures we support. Our goal was a no compromise design. […] Why not just start over from scratch? Why not just remove all of the desktop features and only ship the Metro experience? Why not "convert" everything to Metro? The arguments for a “clean slate” are well known, both for and against. We chose to take the approach of building a design without compromise. A design that truly affords you the best of the two worlds we see today.
That’s ambitious, and I admit to having some skepticism when I came to the Windows team from DevDiv last year. But the developer preview looks great and really advances the state of the art in user experience design. The Windows team is delivering on the “no compromise” design goal, and I think it’s going to be huge hit.