SoCalDevGal answers your Windows 7 Developer Questions


Wow what a launch today in Orange, CA!  Thanks to the standing-room only audience this morning.  Because of the crowd size, you were so kind as to send your questions via text messages.  I didn’t have time to answer all of your many questions all at the event, so here are the rest of the answers.  I’ll categorize the questions for easier reading too.

General Developer readiness and internals

Q: How do I get the Windows API Code pack?
A: The new MSDN Channel9 Windows 7 online training center has links to everything you’ll need.  It includes links to SKDs, code packs, as well as all of the sample code from the demos I showed in today’s presentation – enjoy!

Q:  Do developers have to distribute the API code pack .dlls with their applications that use them?
A:  Yes, you do, but you can select the individual .dlls that apply so as to keep your application size as small as possible.

Q: What is the best way to take advantage of 64-bit applications?  If I write an application for 64-bit, will it still work on 32-bit?
A: For a deeper understanding of Windows internals in general, and 64 vs 32 bit in particular, there is no better source than Mark Russinovich – his blog is here.  He also has done several interviews on MSDN Channel 9 and has recently published a book on Windows Internals.

Q: If I write an application that uses a feature that is only available in a particular edition of Windows 7 (such as Bit Locker), what happens if someone tries to run my application on an edition of Windows 7 that does not contain that feature?
A: You should use version checking and ‘fail gracefully’ in your code (i.e. ‘the edition of Windows 7 that you are using does not support feature x).  For more information see the hands on lab on version checking.

Q: How has UAC changed?
A: See this hands on lab, also the MSDN guidance

Q: How is PowerShell integrated into Windows 7:
A: PowerShell 2.0 is included – more info here (showing cmdlets)

Q: Does booting from VHD work in Windows 7?
A: It sure does – here’s a lovely blog post about this topic

Q: Can you demo homegroup setup?
A: Sorry no time, but here’s a video.

Q: Does Windows 7 support languages other than English?
A: Definitely – here’s a MSDN Channel9 video to get you started.

Sensor API

Q: Does the Location API support geo-coding? complete address reporting (also called civic address)?
A: If the location device provides that information and yes it does – more in this presentation.

Q: Are there any simulated accelerometers in the Windows 7 SDK or dev kits?
A: Not that I know of, however here’s a great blog entry on how to test/use the Freescale board (that I showed and gave away as swag) accelerometer with a sample XNA racing game.

Multi touch API (and Graphics Enhancements)

Q: How much of the multi touch API is in the current beta of .NET 4.0 (beta 2)?
A: It is not complete yet.  Use the Managed Wrappers until .NET 4.0 is RTM’ed, or use native code.

Q: Can you use multi touch to geo tag items?
A: Yes the location gadget can be coded to work with touch (the sample uses a mouse click on a Bing Map to set your location).

Q: Can you use multi touch on multiple monitors?
A: Yes, as long as all monitors support touch

Q: If I code for an Infrared multi touch screen, does that mean that I’ll have to write different code for a Capacitive multi touch screen?
A: No, you will not.  The same code will work for both types.  However each type of screen may have a different maximum number of points of touch.

Q: Is there a built-in option in Windows 7 to automatically make the screen (or icons) bigger for touch?
A: No, but that has been coded into some Windows 7 applications.  You’ll also see that design in jumplist menu items (i.e. more space between them).  For more on the API, see these hands on labs.

Q: Do multi touch applications have the ability to respond to the amount of touch pressure? i.e. a ‘pressed harder’ event
A: Not at this time

Q: Can you define a custom gestures?
A: Yes you can by coding a custom response to a particular WM_TOUCH message, see the HOL referenced earlier for an example.

Q: Can we see Mike and Kim’s X-Ray multi touch application?
A: There is a video on MSDN Channel 9 about this application – enjoy!

Q: Is touch capability moving us toward virtual keyboards?
A: That is possible, also still complex.  Microsoft Research has been doing some work in this area.

Q: What type of touch support is built-in to Windows 7?
A: Support for mouse clicks being replaced by simple gestures – like the Word 2010 (beta) scrolling with simple inertia that I demonstrated.  More complex gestures, such as those with complex inertia, must be manually coded.

Q: Will a Windows 7 multi touch application be deployable on a MS Surface device?
A: Not presently, however we are working toward parity with MS Surface capabilities, particularly controls, for more info see this MSDN Channel 9 video.

Q: What is the maximum number of points of contact that a Windows 7 application can support?
A: That depends on the capabilities of the hardware.  For example, on the HP TouchSmart tx2, 5 points of touch are supported after the N-trig monitor drivers are installed.

Q: Which applications that ship with Windows 7 are multi touch capable?
A: IE8 has the ‘bump’ feature; MS Paint is multi touch enabled

Q: Does Silverlight support multi touch? Do you code it the same way?
A: It will and coding is different at this time – here’s a Codeplex sample for Silverlight 3.0

Q: Is the Surface API / SDK separate from the Windows 7 multi touch API?
A: Yes it is separate at this time.

Q: Does Window 7 support handwriting recognition?
A: Yes, we have had this since earlier versions of the OS.  It performs better after end-user training as well.

Q: Which version(s) of DirectX are compatible with Windows 7?
A: DirectX9, 10 and 11

Taskbar & Library API (also UX and Search)

Q: Can you set up a default save location in a library, like in a folder?
A: Yes, and that is a recommended programming practice for Window 7. You can see this ‘hands on lab’ for more information.

Q: Can you backup a library?
A: Yes, you can and you can automate those backups as well.

Q: When you copy a file into a library, where are you actually copying the file to?
A: The physical folder that the library is referencing.

Q: Can I pin an item to the start menu? (Run…)
A: Yes, right click the item and then click ‘pin to start menu’

Q: Why is your taskbar at the top of your screen?
A: Because I have chosen to put it there.  I think it makes me more productive, it is an optional placement.

Q: Are programmable taskbar enhancements, i.e. icon overlays, etc…available only in Windows 7?
A: That is correct

Q: What gadgets do you recommend for Windows 7?
A: These are fun.

Q: Can we incorporate BING into Windows 7 search? how?
A: Yes, you can, via federated search.  Using the OpenSearch standard, you can incorporate BING as well as other data sources, here’s some guidance.

Q: Does Windows 7 include voice activation? (i.e. a Speech API)
A: Yes, we’ve had one since Vista – here’s a link on how to build a WPF application that is speech-enabled.

Q: Is the scenic ribbon user configurable?
A: Not by default, but you can add that functionality to it with code.  To get started coding a scenic ribbon, see these hands on labs.

Q: Where can I find a list of keyboard shortcuts for Windows 7:
A: Here’s a pretty good link.

About XP Mode

Q: When will XP emulation be fully available?
A: XP Mode is part of the the professional and ultimate editions of Windows 7.  Read this blog to understand more about different types of virtualization offerings.

Other questions (ahem…I did not make these up, actual texts!)

Q: Where can I find information on the new Microsoft Store opening this week in Orange County? (Mission Viejo, CA this Thursday)
A: Here’s a link – get there early this Thursday for fun and prizes!

Q: Have they fixed the bug that makes developers burst into flames at the touch of sunlight?
A: I hope so, or there wouldn’t be any developers in SoCal!

Q: How are you?
A: Fine, but a bit busy at the moment. (asked during presentation via text).

Q: I was at U2 concert last and know how you feel (directed at Mike)
A: Exactly.

Q: I am 14 years old and my mom had to wake up at 4:30 am to drive me here, can I have some swag?
A: Sorry, no, but thanks to your mom.

Q: I noticed your frequent websites link included ‘Aries and Leo love compatibility’ – would you consider a Sagittarius?
A: Well, that is supposed to be a pretty good match for a Leo

Q: Will you marry me? (assuming this was directed at me and not at Mike Roth :)
A:  Not at this venue – maybe a Las Vegas event in the future.

Q: Are you single? (same assumption as above)
A: Yes, are you?

Comments (1)

  1. Xin says:

    Hi Lynn, I was at the event, and I found it quite helpful.  Thanks

    However, I got a question about Windows 7 multi processing.  When developer code, do they have to explicitly call out the parallel processing, or Windows 7 can automatically takes care of that?