Developers Are Seeing Red Over Windows 8’s Platform’s Shift

DespondentLast week’s first glimpses of the Windows 8 interface generated excitement. A screen full of colorful blocks, each representing an interactive app… now this is something new. However, the announcement generated an equal amount of concern, especially among long-time Windows developers. Why? Because the new development platform is based on HTML5 and JavaScript.

Windows developers have invested a lot of time, effort, and money into the platform. Over the years, they’ve learned Win32, COM, MFC, ATL, Visual Basic 6, .NET, WinForms, Silverlight, WPF. All of these technologies were, at one time or another, instrumental in creating desktop applications on Windows. With the exception of Visual Basic 6, all of them are still more or less supported on Windows today, and none of them can do it all; all except Visual Basic 6 and WinForms have a role to play in modern Windows development. Hearing that Windows 8 would use HTML5 and JavaScript for its new immersive applications was, therefore, more than a little disturbing to Windows developers. Such a switch means discarding two decades of knowledge and expertise of Windows development—and countless hours spent learning Microsoft’s latest-and-greatest technology—and perhaps just as importantly, it means discarding rich, capable frameworks and the powerful, enormously popular Visual Studio development environment, in favor of a far more primitive, rudimentary system with substantially inferior tools.

It’s still early, but developers are sure to be up in arms about a sea change that may leave years of work on the scrap heap. Microsoft is going to have armies of developers to mollify before Windows 8 hits the mainstream.

Source: Ars Technica

6 Responses to “Developers Are Seeing Red Over Windows 8’s Platform’s Shift”

  1. That is funny. Many programmers (or whatever term you chose to use) outside of the MS world have found their 20+ years of experience considered essentially worthless under the onslaught of MS. Now the Windows developers themselves are tanked. ROFL.

  2. This is an old story. There have been allot of “corrections” and “clarifications” posted online since. Microsoft is not in any way abandoning their old toolset. They are attracting additional developers with technologies they know. A smart move IMO.

  3. Come on now, this thread is silly…

    When .NET came around, MS developers have to learn it and start doing windows dev using windows forms applications. They did so because it was a vast improvement. When WPF came around, developers had to learn to develop windows apps writing XAML instead of the windows forms approach, but they did so because the apps were much improved and gave the look and feel consistent with Vista/Windows 7. It will be the same for the next phase, this is nothing new. Good developers enjoy reinventing themselves and learning new technologies, only old farts who are still developing in Fortran would have an issue, and they wouldn’t make good .NET devs anyway…

    One other point… This post completely neglects the fact that going the HTML5 / javascript / css route will make it possible to have one code base that can be compiled into either a web app or a windows app. MSFT attempted this in .NET 3 with Silverlight and WPF both using XAML, however Silverlight never proved itself to be a viable contender for building web applications so this is the logical next step. This is the future of development and MSFT has to do this in order to stay competitive, so those who laugh at MSFT for “tanking” their developers are ignorant.

    • “only old farts who are still developing in Fortran would have an issue, and they wouldn’t make good .NET devs anyway…”

      Do you have any data to support your statement? Or is this simple MS fanboy bias?

      I laugh when I listen to some folk who believe OOP, Agile, regression testing, etc. are recent developments. They are “old” ideas repackaged.