PDC: Microsoft Outlines Windows 7, Slew of New Dev Technologies
Coming off yesterday's
of its Azure cloud-based services, Microsoft today articulated how
it will bridge PCs and mobile devices with an extraordinary blitz of announcements
that included the first demonstration of Windows 7, its Live Framework, a bevy
of new offerings for developers including WPF support for Visual Studio, and
the first preview of Office 14.
The goal was to show how Microsoft plans to deliver on its long-stated strategy
of bridging native clients with other devices and the Web.
"The PC is adapting once again to be even more relevant and more valuable
in this era that is so centered on the Web," said Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's
chief software architect, in today's keynote session. "It's our objective
to make the combination of the PC, phone and Web of clearly more value to our
customers than just the sum of their parts."
Steven Sinofsky, senior vice president of the Windows and Windows Live Engineering
Group, gave an extensive demo of Windows 7, showing what promise to be well-received
tweaks and enhancements to the user interface, including a cleaned-up Taskbar,
streamlined access to applications and system resources, and the addition of
the Microsoft Touch interface for touchscreens.
The Touch demo showed how the Windows UI senses and adapts to touch commands,
and illustrated application-level support in Word, Internet Explorer and a reworked
update of MS Paint.
Sinofsky delivered a few mea culpas regarding Vista, which he said was
finally up to snuff with the Service Pack 1 release. Sinofsky addressed
shortcomings in Vista's initial compatibility, device support and even shipping
PDC attendees will leave with a pre-beta version of Windows 7, which Sinofsky
urged developers to play with and provide feedback. A beta will be made available
for general download, though Sinofsky declined to provide a specific timeline.
"We finish the one we're working on and that informs when the next one
will be done," Sinofsky said. "We think that three years from the
general availability of Windows Vista is the right timeframe for Windows 7."
From a user perspective, Windows 7 caters heavily to networked home users,
who have traditionally struggled to get multiple PCs and devices to play nicely
with each other. Automated Windows 7 client and device discovery promises to
expose available devices and their capabilities. It wasn't clear in the keynote
what device manufacturers will have to do to make their device functions fully
visible and accessible to Windows 7 clients.
Guthrie Takes Charge
Showing how Microsoft will bridge the traditional client with cloud-based services,
Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer Division, gave
an extensive list of announcements that covered Windows 7, Visual Studio 2010,
NET 4.0, WPF, Silverlight 2, ASP.NET and jQuery, among others.
Guthrie announced that attendees would receive a CTP of Visual Studio 2010,
the first public release of the upcoming version of Microsoft's flagship IDE.
The new version, Guthrie said, was built using WPF and will enable new features
such as multi-monitor support, richer code-editing and refactoring support.
Richer code visualization is also promised.
The features are built under a new component model called the Managed Extensibility
Framework (MEF), which Guthrie said will provide "the ability for you to
very easily assemble applications from extensions and to be able to dynamically
add extensions from within applications." According to Guthrie, MEF will
enable developers and ISVs to plug their own functionality into Visual Studio,
a prospect that will enable "really interesting scenarios and a tremendous
amount of agility," Guthrie said.
The .NET Framework got ample attention in Guthrie's presentation, as well.
He emphasized performance improvements delivered by the recent
.NET 3.5 SP1 release, which Guthrie said provides existing .NET applications
a 40 percent boost in cold-startup performance. He also highlighted streamlined
installations, both of the .NET Framework itself on unequipped machines, and
of individual .NET applications. .NET 3.5 SP1 will be built into Windows 7,
Looking forward to .NET 4.0, Guthrie promised enhancements to WPF, including
the addition of multi-touch and Deep Zoom support. He also called out the addition
of dynamic language runtime (DLR) support for C# and other historically static
Also announced was the release of the new WPF toolkit that works with .NET
3.5 SP1 across all supported versions of Windows. The toolkit includes new data
grid, date picker and calendar controls, as well as support for Visual State
Manager, which allows "the exact same control templates that you built
with Silverlight for WPF, including support within Expression Blend as well
as our developer tools." Visual State Manager enables developers to easily
define and tune the behavior of controls in response to specific states.
library for ASP.NET. jQuery is being released under the permissive Ms-PL license.