Web & Mobile Developers Turned Windows Developers, Overnight?


  • Reading Time  Min Read
  • Publish Date December 2, 2011

Buried in a June announcement and first public demo of Windows 8, Microsoft—the uncool, lumbering, gray-haired, monolith that inspires exactly zero new developers to take up the practice1, let loose an off-hand remark saying their new development platform would be based on HTML5 and JavaScript.

Yeah, wow.

It’s a little surprising this revelation has not received further attention from [allow me, cough] progressive web and mobile application developers given the basis of their existing skill-set can soon be applied to the desktop development. It could be, perhaps, that a lot of forward-leaning digital manufacturers don’t USE Microsoft products and therefore are ambivalent to advancements in its production environment. Though for the business-minded application development shop, it’s hard to overstate this new opportunity.

And for lifelong .NET, VisualStudio, and Silverlight software developers who long ago exclusively hitched their wagon to whatever-came-out-of-Redmond, their reaction to news relating to the downgrade of their respective skill-sets falls somewhere between the bothersome and ulcer-inducing. Understandably.

Since Microsoft Vice President Julie Larson-Green first spoke of this transition, the company has mostly been mum on the issue. Their silence has largely not been comforting to their installed developer base. Not all the Windows 8 details have been worked out, and since their marketing and product development teams are still honing their message prior to an expected Windows 8 Spring 2012 release date, Microsoft may continue to be working on features (i.e. some throwback SDK tooling) that will calm the fears of their existing devs.

For Microsoft, switching over to technologies aimed at "invigorating their Windows-developer ecosystem" is an extremely intelligent business move. The sheer number of worldwide HTML5 and JavaScript professionals vastly outnumbers Microsoft "Sofities" (apparently, what Microsoft Windows devs call themselves, who knew?).

It’s rumored all the "cool" Windows 8 UI will be powered by this new-to-them dev stack—one of the main features being visual scalability of the apps to work across Windows 8 powered touchscreen tablets. (In other words, responsive Microsoft software.) Old-school Windows applications will still run and will still be produced using hammers and chisels2, but only in that weird-OS 9-to-OS X-classic-environment way. That’s a working theory, anyway.

At Skookum Digital Works, we’ve now got a little skin in the Microsoft game. We’ve already been using HTML5 options to power cross platform mobile (iOS, Android, Blackberry, tablet, etc.) experiences that also look great on a larger browsers from desktops or laptops. In addition, we’re experts at bridging the browser-software-to-desktop-software chasm; to now think we’re now in the business of all web, all mobile, AND all (new) Windows platform apps is quite exciting.

Though anyone’s who’s spent hours or days rewriting IE rules can say…how exactly Microsoft decides to adopt HTML5 and JavaScript will be in the details.

1 hyberbole
2 there too

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