What NEW Windows SDK Features do you want?

How would you spend $100 on NEW Windows SDK features? We’re planning our next version and subsequent releases of the SDK. In that spirit, we’re running a quick poll of Windows SDK users to help us keep our “vision” for the SDK aligned with yours. If you had a hypothetical $100 to spend on the list of brainstormed features below, how would you allocate the dollars?

Forewarning: ideally we would like to rank the results and work down the list, but the reality is that we have other constraints.  Other products, such as Visual Studio, have dependencies on the SDK and we have the typical team resources constraints.  We can’t guarantee which of these will appear in what version, and some of them may not be worth a further look. But we’d sure like to know what you think of these new feature ideas. And feel free to add to the list if a feature you’d like to see in a future SDK is not on the list.

1. A new, small download of “Core SDK” components is made available to customers, with only the basics.  What components should be included in this product in addition to the Windows headers and libraries?

2. PowerShell Build environment. The Windows SDK would include a script similar to SetEnv that users could run, which will set up an SDK build environment under PowerShell.

3. Quick method to install “only .NET” or “only Win32” components.  For example, Win32 developers could quickly choose to receive only Win32 resources in the documents, tools, samples, etc.  Developers focused on managed code could choose to receive only .NET Framework resources in the documents, tools, samples, etc.

4. Improvements to documentation: better Table of Contents, better filters, search, etc.

5. Improvements to documentation: integrate the SDK docs with MSDN docs.

6. Ship a newTools Explorer” to group the tools and provide a more friendly and efficient way for users to search and use the SDK tools.

7. Ship a newSamples Explorer” to group the samples and provide a more friendly and efficient way for users to search and use the SDK samples.

8. Windows SDK in non-Visual studio IDEs. Provide additional support for other IDEs, such as Windows SDK integration with non-Microsoft development environments, links to Windows SDK documentation from within other IDEs (Eclipse, IBM VisualAge for C++, Borland’s C++ Builder), among other possible integration scenarios.

9. Create a new Download portal with SDK ‘nuggets’ so that you can download small packages – perhaps a popular tool or file that shipped broken or was missing from a released SDK.

Additional surveys: how you use the Windows SDK and how would you spend $100 on existing SDK features.  

Sarah Maurer
Program Manager
High School Intern
Windows SDK Team

The MSDN Windows SDK Developer Center is the place to find resources and links to Windows SDK products, release notes, technical articles, and more.

Comments (33)

  1. syu5 says:

    1 – $5

    2 – $5

    3 – $0

    4 – $35

    5 – $35

    6 – $5

    7 – $10

    8 – $0

    9 – $5

  2. muse$dream says:

    1 – $11

    2 – $1

    3 – $6

    4 – $5

    5 – $5

    6 – $16

    7 – $40

    8 – $1

    9 – $15

  3. You’ve been kicked (a good thing) – Trackback from DotNetKicks.com

  4. kson34 says:

    1 – $5

    2 – $0

    3 – $5

    4 – $35

    5 – $25

    6 – $15

    7 – $10

    8 – $0

    9 – $5

  5. My latest in a series of the weekly, or more often, summary of interesting links I come across related to Visual Studio. Lisa Feigenbaum is looking for feedback on a potential Call Hierarchy feature on The Visual Basic Team blog. Visual Studio 2008 KB:

  6. adam.hill@gmail.com says:

    4. $20

    5. $30

    6. $20

    7. $30

  7. NathanTomkins says:

    4 – $20

    5 – $10

    6 – $18

    7 – $2

    8 – $50

    Alternatively, you could take some of the $50 I posted for 8 and make Visual Studio work better for C++ – some refactoring ability would be a good idea.

  8. Dr Pizza says:

    I… god.  I don’t know why anyone would want any of those things.  I’m really quite amazed.  Are those really the biggest issues that the SDK team has identified?

    What I want is for MS to consolidate MSDN Library, Windows SDK, and the DDK, along with the other SDKs that for some unfathomable reason aren’t part of the Windows SDK–DirectX, for example.

    I want to be able to download one thing and have it install all of the above.  And integrate them into Visual Studio properly.  And then I want to be able to run one program to INCREMENTALLY UPDATE them so that they remain current. The current situation is diabolical.

    I also wish you’d go back to the first version of Document Explorer, as it was better than every subsequent version.  At the very least, let me see search results 500 at a time.

  9. The Windows SDK team would like your feedback on what features you would like most in a future Windows

  10. Checkmate says:

    #8: $100 !

    Windows SDK has everything we need to develop for Windows.  It has full-featured compilers and libraries. Now let’s reduce our dependence on Visual Studio. It’s given me a lot of pain lately. All I really want is a simple project manager and a decent C++ editor. But Visual Studio overflows with junk I don’t need. Make it easier to integrate the Windows SDK with other IDEs. The Eclipse IDE is my favorite.

  11. anony.muos says:

    1.  $0

    2.  $8

    3.  $0

    4.  $4

    5.  $35

    6.  $3

    7.  $3

    8.  $35  

    9.  $12

  12. mglinski says:

    I strongly suggest that (lots more then) $100 be spent on radically changing and unifying the platform as a whole.

    Yes I know about .Net system(and I still experiment with it) but lets be quite serious here. I have VERY little experience with developing windows applications, WinSDK or otherwise. I am what many call new blood, fresh out of high school and ready to take on the world. And currently, this new blood sees the Apple OSX platform a much more concise, better documented, and better managed platform to bet my future on. Why should I learn 20 different ways to 20 different things when I can switch to the apple platform(not having very much interest or ANY investment with windows) and learn 20 different things that all follow the same design and coding principals? Apple had this same problem 7 years ago and what has happened since they changed their platform? Stock up from $7 to $160, YOY DOUBLING of Mac computer sales, a mobile platform that anyone can use, not just business professionals with time for training. The list goes on and on.

    The time is now to completely alter/restructure/rethink your SDK. I would love to get my software out to 600% more market, but I am not going to sacrifice my sanity to do it. Not when Apple offers ever increasing sales and a concise and logical platform to develop for.


  13. StevenMurawski says:

    My breakdown –

    1 –

    2 – $50

    3 –

    4 –

    5 –

    6 – $20

    7 – $20

    8 –

    9 – $10

  14. ilyatch says:

    1. $5

    2. $20

    3. $10

    4. $30

    5. $5

    6. $5

    7. $20

    8. $5

    9. $0

  15. SeanM says:

    No ranking here, but 1 through 7 all sound like great things to work on. 9 is also interesting.

  16. Jaykul says:

    1. $5 …

    2. $40

    3. $5 … these installation options would be *most* useful if they had an "updater" so we didn’t have to get a whole new environment with each release


    5. $10

    6. $10 if you make them individually downloadable — and please include the resource kit binaries too 😉


    8. $10

    9. $20 — this is part of #6, frankly 😉

  17. hintzen says:

    $100 – .NET Managed TAPI 3.0 (4.0) assemblies

  18. jsheehan says:

    When it comes to building a large code base, there is really only one change on this list that will really improve productivity.  That is the PowerShell support.  Coordinating the build process for a very large project is very challenging.  This one item has a real chance of making a serious improvement in build process.  I’d spend all $100 on it.

  19. steve.thresher says:




    4. $50

    5. $50





  20. Andy77L says:

    1 – $0

    2 – $0

    3 – $10

    4 – $35

    5 – $40

    6 – $15

    7 – $0

    8 – $0

    9 – $0

    I can never figure out whether I should be using the SDK or MSDN documentation. I would love to see these integrated and have a regular update as either a manual or automatic download.

    Also the Index has become a mess recently. Windows data structures seem to have disappeared from the index (SYSTEMTIME for instance isn’t in the latest MSDN Library, however the content is available by searching)

    I wish we could peer review the MSDN/SDK samples and offer replacement code. Many of the samples demonstrate some truly dreadful coding practices that should have been discarded over 10 years ago. Some of the samples don’t even compile, let alone run.

  21. The Windows SDK Team is looking for customer input into what should change/improve in the Windows SDK

  22. I try to get your attention in devious ways. But this is worth being tricked. The Windows SDK is looking

  23. wva says:

    8 – 100$

    Actually also a GNU toolchain. I know it sounds silly  and foreign on Windows, but people do use autotools / gnu make elsewhere and having them on Windows SDK would be just nice.And I do trust Microsoft that they can  make these tools  work better then crashy cygwin.

  24. MichaelGG says:

    How about full managed tools for things like ETW 🙂

  25. JonnyRocks says:

    I agree with dr. pizza. Its not intuitive to install what i need. I would go to say make it an option on windows update or something. I should install it once and there should be a nice window i can pull up to show what i have installed, what has updates , what new i can install etc.

  26. snuchia@statsoft.com says:

    This may be out of left field but

    1) it is fairly self-contained and

    2) it would make a huge impact on incremenat build times for very large products.

    3) That, in turn, would help us improve product quality by enabling faster CI builds and more immediate restest of fixed bugs.

    This would come in two pieces:

    A linker feature that would allow for separate, early generation of the import library for DLLs.

    A tool that would compare either the inputs or the outputs of the linker (or some data emitted specially for the purpose) to determine whether or not the outputs are "really" different.  The should be packaged with a copy feature that will copy only if "really" different and/or set the timestamp back to its previous value only if the output is NOT "really different".

    All of this can be done but it depends on detailed knowledge of the object file format and it would have to be supported to keep up with changes — it logically should be kept in sync with the linker by the linker team.

    Exposing these features well through the VS IDE and MSBuild build engines would improve parallelism and eliminate many unnecessary relink steps in incremental builds.  In release mode with WPO turned on, linking has become quite expensive so this could be a huge win.


  27. Brian Cost says:

    MichaelGG, what is ETW? Is that Event Tracing for Windows?  Just making sure…


  28. MichaelGG says:

    Karin, yes, Event Tracing for Windows. The new Vista/2008 stuff looks awesome, but the tools for dealing with it are a total pain (and make little sense, as far as I can tell).

  29. kaas2 says:

    Readd the whole MFC and ATL stuff which has been removed from the SDK either with Server 2008 or Vista SDK.

    And please make it self contained -> no dependency on visual studio!

  30. We want to share some preliminary results from the recent Windows SDK customer surveys asking how would

  31. Peter Ritchie says:

    1 $ 80 – provide a "core" download that allows users to compile their own unmanaged Win32 source code with a previously installed compiler.

    2 $ 0

    3 $ 0

    4 $ 0

    5 $ 0

    6 $ 0

    7 $ 10

    8 $ 0

    9 $ 10

  32. We want to share some preliminary results from the recent Windows SDK customer surveys asking how would

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