Microsoft Offers Up Windows 8 Preview At Conference

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Microsoft has offered a sneak peak of its Windows 8 operating system at its BUILD conference

Microsoft executives took to the stage at its BUILD conference to give developers a peek at the direction it is taking with its upcoming operating system, Windows 8, along with more details about the OS itself.

At an invitation-only pre-conference workshop here, Microsoft showed off a new Developer Preview version of Windows 8 and said developers will be able to create Windows 8 applications using a variety of languages and technologies, including HTML5 and JavaScript, as well as the Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML), C++, C# and Visual Basic.

Windows 8 is the code name for the next major release of Windows.

Metro Interface

Speaking at the 12 September workshop, known as “backstage,” Ales Holecek, a Microsoft distinguished engineer working on Windows, said Microsoft’s idea with Windows 8 is to “put XAML, HTML and JavaScript on an equal footing.”

Holecek displayed a diagram depicting the Windows 8 app model featuring what he called Windows Runtime APIs. Above that layer, Holecek listed Metro style apps and desktop apps. Windows 8 introduces a new Metro style user interface that is built for touch.

Holecek said Metro style apps can be built using XAML, C, C++, C#, Visual Basic, HTML and JavaScript. However, the desktop apps – which include Internet Explorer apps, Win32 apps and .NET/Silverlight apps – can be built with HTML and JavaScript, C and C++, and C# and Visual Basic, respectively, he said.

Overall, Holecek listed four summarising points regarding Windows 8.

The upcoming OS will:

  • Provide new APIs and tools for building Metro apps
  • Make it so developers can have rapid and scaleable development of Metro style apps
  • Give everybody a choice of tools and languages – including JavaScript, HTML, C#, C++, Visual Basic and XAML – all in Intel x86, Intel x64 and ARM processors
  • Provide a very complete and thought out Windows Store

“If you build your app with the tools we showed and you use HTML and JavaScript, it just runs on ARM,” said Steven Sinofsky, president of Microsoft’s Windows and Windows Live Division. “What we did is way underneath abstract out the differences between the hardware.”

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