Windows 8 Developer Overview
One of the most exciting developments for end users and developers alike is the new Windows 8 Modern User Interface environment (previously referred to by Microsoft as Metro). This environment enables end users to quickly see at a glance the most critical information dynamically within an application surfaced in a tile that also launches the app. While the mouse and keyboard are supported this new design is very focused on enabling touch as the primary input mechanism for consumers.
Finally, it's important to recognize that Windows 8 carries the full Windows 7 desktop experience as well. That's great news for organizations with existing investments in .NET code. Your existing applications will continue to run as they have in this desktop mode unchanged. While these existing applications will not run within the new Modern User Interface environment, there are a number of things that you can do with DevExpress controls to make your existing applications interact with and in fact appear to be part of this new experience.
The DevExpress Perspective on Windows 8
Today Microsoft is very focused on Windows UI as a consumer experience. At DevExpress last year we published our re-imagining of the prototypical Windows 8 business application. We see a world of rich data visualizations presented to you in the Modern User Interface. This transforms the environment from a collection of icons for launching applications, to a living dashboard with real-time monitoring of your critical business functions and the success of your employees always at your fingertips.
What Does This Mean For .NET Developers?
The future of business applications will evolve to a world where touch is the primary user interface. The rate of this change is unknown but there are a number of things that you can do with DevExpress tools today to get ready.
First, begin to invest in touch-capable hardware. Today multi-touch capable monitors can be purchased for approximately $300 USD and adding touch-capability to a laptop is just a few hundred dollars more. Next, begin evolving your applications to be Touch-enabled. And you'll need to contemplate the user interface design. The sizes and shapes of user interface elements like a textbox and a button need to be designed so that a finger swipe won’t accidentally do the wrong thing. DevExpress provides application samples and templates that were designed by experts in user experience to enable you to begin building solutions in Windows Forms, ASP.NET, Silverlight and WPF. By beginning to use these new controls and templates, you will be learning the design aesthetics as well as the technology requirements necessary to begin building Windows 8 applications while you are building solutions that will run in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 today. XAML is one of the underlying user interface components for the Windows RT framework. What this means is that those investments in skills in WPF and Silverlight will carry forward as you move to Windows 8. While your existing WPF and Silverlight code won't port directly to Windows 8 you will have moved your business forward both in terms of skill and in the foundation of your application. That’s a great solution for bridging forward existing applications and preparing your assets for integration with the new Windows 8 environment. But what if you want to start building for Windows 8 today?
For the first time in over a decade DevExpress has developed an entirely new product line, created for developers building business applications for their mobile workforce code-named “DXTREME.” It enables you to build hybrid applications that are web-based apps that run natively on the device with full access to the sensors (GPS, the camera, etc). And because these apps are running on the device, they can be deployed to the Apple App Store if that’s your business requirement.
Building across a collection of different platforms and devices. That sounds hard. You could aggregate a number of tools from different vendors -Adobe tools for HTML 5. XCode for iPhone and iPad and Visual Studio for all of the Windows 8 parts or you could just choose one technology partner, DevExpress.
At DevExpress we believe in being the bridge to these new platforms for Visual Studio developers. So we’ve built an integrated set of tools in DXTREME that help you take advantage of the best parts of each platform and reuse code across all of them. And best of all we do it all from within the development environment you know and love – Visual Studio.
Build Sophisticated User Experiences in Windows 8 That Works for Touch as well as Mouse and Keyboard
We invite you to learn more about our new DXTREME product here.
How is DevExpress Bridging My
Investments To Windows 8 UI?
It's critical to DevExpress that we continue to provide a
bridge from our customers' existing investments in
Windows Forms, ASP.NET, WPF and Silverlight to future
platforms like Windows 8. We're committed to
delivering that bridge across each platform.
For Windows Forms developers we've provided built-in
touch support across most of our controls as well as a
Windows 8 Experience inspired Tile control and a brand new
MetroUIView approach to Windows 8 style applications.
For WPF and Silverlight developers, we've enabled
touch support as all as the Windows 8 inspired
For ASP.NET developers, we're building out a
multi-channel approach to application development
that enables you to build solutions that span platforms
with an early look at how we’re enabling this for
Windows 8 Experience.
And of course we're building Windows 8 UI
controls designed to take advantage of the uniqueness
of this platform.