Which is why I’ve been hesitant to utter my dissatisfaction with the mess the development for Microsoft Windows has become.
Of course, I’m not alone predicting Windows 8’s demise. But since the new runtime and environment hordes of Windows programmers are supposed to write software against is deeply rooted in this new OS in general and its shiny whatchamacallit user interaction system in particular, apart from which Windows 8 is little more than Windows 7 without the Start button.
And all those “apps”, not coincidentally sharing sound with “crap”, we are all to write, are nothing but little pieces of marginally useful software, that clog the “Start Desktop” and often provide nothing more than a handful of screens easing access to a web service that in all likelihood already has a nice, accessible web interface for humans.
But commercial and “enterprise” software will not move to this Desktop any time soon and not until the powers-that-be come down from heaven and get rid of the improvised junk API they adopted from Phone, where its restrictions might have some merit in terms of battery life and bandwidth arbitration.
Those limitations are killers on the Desktop http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/windows.ui.notifications.periodicupdaterecurrence.aspx, not to mention the crazy concept behind the Windows Push Notification Service, soon to be one of the most gigantic single-points-of-failure ever known to mankind, right after iTunes or Amazon S3.
Most of the things real applications do is talk to multiple on-premise “intranet” services and/or devices, occasionally transferring large amounts of data or performing lengthy calculations, nothing of which is recommended with or even supported on the nascent Windows Runtime.
The example I’m involved with is setting up and acquiring data from scientific instruments, which may take a while although the user might want be notified about the status within seconds, if not immediately. This data is then processed and reports are being generated and reviewed, also a time-consuming process. Finally, the results and reports are stored in a content-management and data-warehousing system, again a lengthy process given that the amount of data measures in gigabytes. There is not going to be a live tile for this thing anytime soon.
The architecture of Windows 8 makes it almost impossible for ISV to create distributed “Windows Store” applications, much less selling anything close into the enterprise, unless the ISV are willing to become SaaS providers and their customers are willing to trust their data into the cloud and to bet their business on a chain of internet web services on an infrastructure run by the lowest bidder and which they have no control over, whatsoever.
When hell freezes over …