Microsoft .NET focused provider of components and controls Syncfusion has detailed what the company feels are relative certainties for developers given the near proximity of the next generation of the operating system. Syncfusion VP of product development Daniel Jebaraji suggests that although there is little directional change ahead for .NET as a development platform itself, Windows 8 will shift programmers' perceptions in certain directions as a result of deployment on new form factors.
Windows 8 will run on different form factors ranging from iPad-sized tablets to very large screens says Jebaraji — a fact that should impact application development scenarios in and of itself. From fairly public previews we also know that Windows 8 will have a different start menu system based on the tile user interface (UI) offered on the Windows Phone 7 devices. Although Windows 8 is unlikely to run on phone-sized devices, the Windows Phone 7.x OS exists for that purpose.
"There is almost certainly a new Windowing platform (the Jupiter framework) that will be built on a tightly operating system integrated XAML stack. The skills for developing on this platform will likely carry over from the other XAML-based platforms," says Jebaraji. "Jupiter may also take a step towards the unification of rich client and web-based deployment models (WPF and Silverlight) — not the technologies but the model itself may be unified under one common code base. If your WPF or Silverlight application is structured well, there should be no trouble migrating to another XAML based framework should you decide to do so."
There is a general consensus that Microsoft will build the new UI to be touch friendly, but certainly not limited to touch. You will not be discarding your mouse and keyboard anytime soon. Everything we know about Silverlight and WPF will likely carry over to the new framework. Jebaraji anticipates only minimal developer training needed to take advantage of the new framework.
"Silverlight applications will work forever on Windows even if future development dramatically slows down (there is little indication that this is the case). WPF applications will work for a long time on Windows. Considering that applications written in C++ or Visual Basic more than a decade ago still work on Windows 7 with only minor tweaks, I am not very concerned about this aspect," said Jebaraji.
Although Jebaraji's comments are presented intelligently, his company is quite firmly ranked as a Microsoft devotee, so developers should take his upbeat comments in that context.