Friday, February 24, 2012

What are YOU Looking for in the Consumer Preview?

It seems there is quite a bit of anticipation surrounding the imminent release of the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. I've read the speculation about what it will actually include, or not include, and if this release really means anything in the larger scheme of things.

The release will coincide with the Mobile World Congress. What I find interesting is that the same week, thousands of Microsoft MVP awardees will descend on Bellevue, Washington (close to the campus in Redmond) for the Global MVP Summit. I know as a Silverlight MVP I am very interested in what I will learn that week — unfortunately it is often NDA so I'm not always able to share. I'll be keeping a close eye on the MWC and the release of the Windows 8 preview.

If you are in Seattle next week, why not drop by our Wintellect tweetup? Use the link to register. I'll be there along with the debugging master John "Bugslayer" Robbins, CLR expert Jeffrey Richter, and fellow MVP Steve Porter. We'll be discusing several topics ranging from Windows 8 to the new look for Visual Studio 11.

My book Designing Silverlight Business Applications is very close to final release. You can pre-order for 42% off at Amazon as of the date of this blog post. I am working on my second book about Windows 8 Metro Applications and am learning more and more how the fundamental skills and concepts we learned for Silverlight apply in this new environment. As I read the buzz about the new version coming out, I wonder how many people are actually hands-on with the Developer Preview bits and what your expectations are for the Consumer Preview that is right around the corner. What are your thoughts? What do you think Microsoft needs to demonstrate with this release? What do you see as the major hurdles they will need to overcome in order to successfully gain a foothold in the consumer market? What is your general feedback from using the current version? Please use the comments below to share your thoughts as this important conversation gains momentum moving into next week.

Jeremy Likness


  1. I am working on a Windows 8 Metro tablet application that needs to load and view large files like PDF’s and TIFF’s. I have tried using several 3rd party libraries and it is obvious that they will all have to be rewritten to support the “Fast and Fluid” async paradigm. Every one of the libraries that I have evaluated blocks the UI thread among other issues. Even though Windows 8 Metro has many similarities to Silverlight development, the differences in the way that the Win R/T class methods work requires a little more than just changing method names and namespaces like the simplified Microsoft demos imply. This will slow development of business applications, since we developers will either have to wait for the 3rd party libraries to catch up or write our own.

  2. I am not a LOB developer but rather a product developer (CAD/Modeling). Our products are desktop products that use Win32/HWNDs & Direct3D heavily, some WinForms, a little MFC, and even less WPF. We're also creating some viewing/markup products for iPad and Android, and those will be candidates for porting to Metro/Win8. I got excited when the hackers of early Win8 leaks were talking about a native "DirectUI" layer that supported XAML, and I assumed we were going to be able to use that in desktop products on Win8. However, the native WinRT layer, with language projections, is only available for Metro style, full-screen apps, and the contraints of the Metro style prohibit many desktop products from being migrated (E.g. Office 15 will be a desktop product, even on ARM, and VS11 will remain a desktop product). WPF is a great tool for building desktop LOB apps, and even though it has been criticized over the last few years for of its performance and airspace problems, the situation has improved somewhat with WPF 4/4.5, due in large part to the VS2010 team requirements. But it's not a native framework and still has some performance and airspace issues (even with 4.5). Out-of-browser Silverlight apps have a clear path toward Metro style apps for Win8; give desktop apps the same clear path toward "DirectUI" for outside-of-Microsoft desktop product developers so we can develop XAML-based, native products using the same language projection technology utilized for Metro style apps.

    1. Update: From .NET 4.5 Beta Readme. This "redirection feature" was meant to solve the "airspace" issues: HwndHost feature has been removed from WPF in the .NET Framework 4.5 Beta

      The .NET Framework 4.5 Developer Preview included a WPF HwndHost redirection feature. However, this feature had several known issues and has been removed from the .NET Framework 4.5 Beta. It will not be included in any future releases.

      This is VERY unfortunate.

  3. Hi Jeremy,

    Is your book available in 'e' format, such as a PDF?



    1. It is. Take a look on Amazon and also on the InformIT site here: