Enjoy the Windows SDK

Hi all,


My name is Steven Goulet, Group Program Manager of the Windows SDK and I would like to welcome you to the Windows SDK team blog.


For my introductory entry, I thought I would give you some insight into what we do and how we do it.  First, let me start with a definition of the Windows SDK (and by definition, I mean beyond the term “Software Development Kit“).   The Windows SDK is the combination of the Platform SDK and the WinFX SDK.   And if you’ve been playing along for a while, you know that the WinFX SDK was the combination of the .Net Framework SDK + new managed code offerings including Avalon, Indigo, and Workflow.  


Thus one way to think of the Windows SDK is…


Windows SDK == Platform SDK + .NET Framework SDK + Avalon SDK + Indigo SDK + Workflow SDK + ….


One of goals of the Windows SDK is make it so that you, as a developer, don’t have to download and install 12 different SDKs in order to build a “Windows Application.”  Having to download a bunch of different SDKs was a key customer satisfaction issue that I am proud to say we have done a good job of addressing with this SDK.  We want you to think of the Windows SDK as your one-stop-shop for all Windows (whether managed or unmanaged) programming information.  


On the Windows SDK team, we focus on getting you the right content across a few dimensions.


First there is the content.  When we talk about content on the SDK. we refer to the following: 

  • Documentation.  This is both the conceptual (overviews, getting started, how-to’s etc) and the reference (API listings) that are included in the SDK and viewed thru a product called DExplorer (short for Document Explorer).

  • Samples.  We know developers live, breathe and eat samples as a way of learning the “Microsoft” way to use our APIs, and we are constantly trying to get more and more of these into our SDK for you.  

  • Tools.  I use the term “Tools” generically to include all things needed (outside docs and samples above) to have a good development experience with the Windows SDK.  This includes things like headers, libs, compilers, debuggers, and command line environments. 

Second there is how we get that content.  We get a lot of it from various contributors to the SDK and we even build some of it ourselves.  We’re creating a fair amount of the content in the latest versions of the SDK, and you have probably seen some of our posting on the Vista Developer Center…  http://msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvista/downloads/developerstory/


Third is the type of content.  We get all this content for both managed code (which is mostly WinFX) and unmanaged code (which we sometimes call Win32 for short, but also includes COM/COM+, MFC, ATL etc).


Fourth is where does our stuff go?  This might sound odd, but a lot of people don’t know that a big chunk of the stuff we do and build shows up, not only in the Windows SDK, but also in Visual Studio (just press F1 in VS and you will see some of our work) and on the MSDN site (see http://windowssdk.msdn.microsoft.com). 


As you can imagine, there are literally millions of moving parts in the Windows SDK.  It is very large body of work that we compile that has thousands of contributors from across the company.  And sometimes — and its usually the “first” time we publish something — we don’t always get it right.  But we work hard to fix things up and get them into great shape so that by the time we release our technology, you have all the stuff you need to build great applications.


Another thing we’re very proud of with the Windows SDK is that it is THE FIRST look, THE FIRST developer exposure to the latest and greatest developer features coming from Microsoft.  We’re the first ones to give you the story on how to build complete Windows Vista / WinFX applications and let you try out those cool new features that you see at PDC and other events. 


As Lori mentions, we are very interested in your feedback.  The two things above (million moving parts, and First look) make the SDK new, large, and complex, and we can make it a much better experience if we have your input and feedback.  For example, we received some feedback on the ICredential provider interface, and how it was only partially explained in the SDK.  We are now working with that team to get some better materials for you.  We need to know what docs, tools, and samples would make your experience a better one.


Enjoy the Windows SDK



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