Linked by snydeq on Tue 4th Jun 2013 01:46 UTC
Windows First looks at Windows 'Blue' have revealed an upgrade composed of cosmetic fixes, suggesting that Microsoft may be blowing its chance to turn the tide on Windows 8 blow back, and make good on its promise to truly 'rethink' Windows 8 with the release of Windows Blue. As a result, InfoWorld has issued an open letter to Microsoft to consider Windows 'Red' -- what InfoWorld is calling a 'serious plan' to fix the flaws of Windows 8, one that could rescue Microsoft's currently flagging promise to deliver a modern computing experience on both PCs and tablets.
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RE[2]: I don't think so
by TemporalBeing on Wed 5th Jun 2013 17:55 UTC in reply to "RE: I don't think so"
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"But, let's face it... the Windows desktop in its current state is a clusterf**k of framework on top of framework on top of wrapppers, and is a nightmare to develop for if you wish to have access to the full functionality of it all. It is a relic of a C-based API from the 1980's that's had a ton of crap stacked on top of it, and who's time has passed. MS needs to start over with a modern framework.

I don't think many disagree that the old Win32 API is a pain to work with.

Win32 isn't that much of a PITA to work with. I quite prefer it to MFC and other MS APIs. It's quite predictable. It's a security nightmare though from an application perspective - as one application can modify another's UI so long as they are the same user.

However I am not really sure the popular opinion of rewriting the framework in one go is the correct solution. Joel on software has a nice article explaining why complete rewrites are almost always the wrong answer.

Sometimes they're necessary, sometimes they're not.
For Win32, it's necessary to make certain improvements. Yet, they still didn't quite do that with the WinRT APIs, which still build off a small sub-set of the Win32 APIs.

Microsoft has been replacing many of the old win32 APIs with COM APIs over the last ten years, and now they seem to continue the trend with WinRT.

COM, DCOM, OLE, MFC, etc. all build on top of Win32, not along side it. Win32 is about the only API to the NT Kernel; nearly everything else is user space outside of basic registrations. And I wouldn't say any of them improve Win32, just make for a bigger orgy.

The problem with Modern is that any UI in any older app has be rewritten completely. A task sometimes so big that Apple had to make an exception for Finder for 64 bit (still carbon based), and Microsoft the same with Office for Windows RT tablets.

The problem with the Modern (aka Metro) UI is that it does not have feature parity with the old Desktop UI. Yes, there was a lot of cruft through into the Desktop UI over the years, but Metro doesn't even equate in parity to Windows 3.11 when it comes to multi-tasking or doing a number of other things. So ultimately, it just doesn't do what users want to do.

As far as MS Office goes, they still have to support a number of versions of Windows that do not have the WinRT API, and are not even capable of supporting it. So it makes no sense for them to have a WinRT API only version of MS Office yet, and they would have had to craft quite the exception for MS Office as their "Modern UI compatible" testing required that only WinRT and its limited subset of Win32 were allowed to be used - no MFC, etc - to pass the certification.

Now imagine the Antitrust lawsuits they would have had if they did that...lawsuits from AutoDesk, Adobe, and others that are in a similar boat.

Microsoft also didn't help on the matter by only supporting the WinRT runtime on Windows 8. That makes any new UI not work on older versions, forcing developers to now maintain two UI codebases for years. Same problem with D3D10 and Vista back in the day.

Agreed. They didn't help the matter by limiting what is supported on all versions of Windows 8 - whether the Windows 8 RT version for ARM or the x86 versions with respect to the Modern UI environment.

Any existing API is still available for the x86 Desktop environment in Windows 8; just not the Modern UI environment or any environment on the ARM port. So it was no longer simply a matter of recompile and now you have the other variants of Windows. If you didn't port to WinRT API, you could only deliver to x86 Desktop environment.

"If you don't like Metro, fine. But we absolutely can't stay on Win32 forever. I think Metro will get better over time, with more flexible widgets and broader keyboard/mouse support where appropriate. If we can have slightly different UIs for tablet and phone in the same app on Android, there's no reason why we can't do it on tablet and desktop. It took 25+ years to get from Windows 1.0 to Windows 7, so give them a while to work out the kinks ;)

As a user, my issue with Windows 8 is simply that I do not want a mobile UI on my 30" monitor. And 8.1 shows no sign that Microsoft "gets" why using the same UI for tablets and desktop wont work. And this has nothing to do with what framework renders the UI.

Agreed. Not to mention the Modern UI - and even their Desktop UI for Win8 - actually hurts my eyes after even short usage periods (e.g. 30 minutes or less).

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