Windows 10 represents a dramatic change for Microsoft. The Redmond-based company has listened to the (mostly negative) feedback from Windows 8, and returned to the public with a much more refined and well-thought edition. A user-friendly, instantly recognisable operating system that has some nifty productivity features.
Public opinion is king, but the demographic that Microsoft wants really win over is the developers. The rarely-credited, basement-dwelling geniuses who make everything possible in the tech world need to be onboard if Windows 10 is going to be a proper success.
In fairness, Microsoft has always recognised the importance of devs…
I took Windows developer, Ed Spencer, to a recent viewing of an internal Microsoft build of Windows 10. He was impressed with what we saw, so much so that he thinks there are 5 solid reasons the new OS is good for the development community.
The new app store is the same store across all devices including: desktop, mobile and Xbox. Spencer says:
“The new app store means I can write an app once and put 4 different ‘skins’ on it, which makes the app compatible for Xbox, desktop, Windows Phone and tablet. A lot of this skinning is also automatic, which should reduce the overall development time.”
He continued “I’m really eager to see just how good this some of this auto skinning is, and with the ability to write one app and potentially have it available on four different major platforms, there really is a big incentive to have a go.
“I think many other devs will share my feelings, so it could be an important new era for the apps on Windows Phone, as Microsoft uses the clout of its desktop-share to bring developers in”.
Microsoft’s sort-of IE replacement (IE is still available for Windows 10 enterprise) brings a host of new functionality and speed, but what does it do for developers? Spencer says:
“The new powerful web developer tools, accessed by pressing F12, look like they can compete with Chrome and Firefox in the developer tools arena.
“The much improved HTML5 support and the mothballing of Internet Explorer will also help Microsoft’s stock within the web development community: IE, even though no longer necessarily true, is stuck with a reputation of being a non standards compliant development resource drain.”
New app store
Microsoft tells me it’s focussing more on quality of apps than quantity. Time will tell if that’s true, but as it stands the current store has problems. Spencer thinks Microsoft’s new approach is good news:
“The new app store is particularly exciting as I was lead to believe the MS had realized their drive for pure app numbers was a mistake, and that as a consequence they had ‘pressed reset’ on the app store.
“This means that new, good quality apps should be able to pick-up traction and gain an audience whilst this platform is still young. I also thought the concept of the app store on the desktop was really innovative.
“Previously I didn’t think a lot of the Windows 8 app store, and almost never ventured into it: however, the security model of the new app store is of huge significance. Apps installed through the app-store on desktop will run inside of a sandbox – using some of the technology that is used in MS’ Hyper V virtualization tooling.
“This could be a massive boost for security on Windows. Rather than being worried that an installer grabbed off the internet is malicious, I can be reassured that an app that I grab from the app store will tell me exactly what it is going to do before I install it. This could mean that enterprises and other corporates could allow their users to install apps through the App Store only: helping to alleviate a major security headache”.
High levels of customisation back in windows
Windows has reverted back to arguably its best iteration, Windows 7. For developers, that means a more familiar OS to code for, as Spencer explains:
“With Windows 8, we got some good dev tools like awesome keyboard shortcuts (e.g start + x), but we lost some of the classic Windows customisation that so many Windows users love.
“The start menu, and originally the missing start button, hurt Windows 8. Being able to set the size of the start menu might sound minor, but it is actually very significant. This loss, in turn, stopped many users from switching. Those that did hated the jarring context switch when they pulled-up the start menu. Let’s not forget that Stardock made a lot of money from selling a small software package that put the more familiar start menu back into Windows 8.
“The customisable start menu, coupled with the powerful search we got in Windows 8, will win some disgruntled devs back.”
New integrated notifications
The new action centre brings notifications from multiple sources directly to your desktop, the best bit? It supports notifications from third party applications, as Spencer explains:
“This is where mobile has infected the desktop in a good way, which is the opposite of what we got with Windows 8. On IOS and Android we know how to get our notifications- we swipe down. Notifications on Windows hadn’t really changed a lot since the Windows XP days – balloons in the tray at the right of the start bar that had to either be dismissed, or just disappeared after a certain amount of time. The new notification area means that I can write an app that can deliver notifications in a balanced way – they don’t need to annoy the user and they won’t get missed”.
This article was written by Jay McGregor from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.