Why Microsoft Has Developers Horrified About Windows 8

When Microsoft gave the first public demonstration of Windows 8 a week ago, the reaction from most circles was positive. The new Windows 8 user interface looks clean, attractive, and thoughtful, and in a first for a Microsoft desktop operating system, it’s finger friendly. But one aspect of the demonstration has the legions of Windows developers deeply concerned, and with good reason: they were told that all their experience, all their knowledge, and every program they have written in the past would be useless on Windows 8.

Key to the new Windows 8 look and feel, and instrumental to Microsoft’s bid to make Windows a viable tablet operating system, are new-style full-screen “immersive” applications. Windows 8 will include new APIs for developing these applications, and here is where the problem lies. Having new APIs isn’t itself a concern—there’s simply never been anything like this on Windows before, so obviously the existing Windows APIs won’t do the job—but what has many troubled is the way that Microsoft has said these APIs will be used. Three minutes and 40 five seconds into this video, Microsoft Vice President Julie Larson-Green, in charge of the Windows Experience, briefly describes a new immersive application—a weather application—and says, specifically, that the application uses “our new developer platform, which is, uhh, it’s based on HTML5 and JavaScript.”

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