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The blogged wandering of Robert W. Anderson

And now Windows Vista RTMs

I thought it would still be a couple of weeks, but it has happened.  I wonder when it’ll be on MSDN.  Anybody know?

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WinFx is Dead Part 2

After I posted WinFx is Dead, I’ve gotten two kinds of comments:

Didn’t you hear that WinFx has been renamed .NET 3.0? What rock have you been hiding under?

Well, yes, I have heard that — my point wasn’t that the name WinFx is dead, it is that the concept of WinFx is dead.

Really, Microsoft has killed the managed Windows API?

What, am I psychic?

I have no idea if Microsoft has killed the managed Windows API. It appears to me that they have. The stated reason for the name change was to clear up confusion in the marketplace. The common belief seems to be that this confusion was that developers didn’t understand how WinFx related to .NET. I believe that the actual confusion was that developers didn’t understand how WinFx (as composed of WCF, WPF, WF, etc.) had anything to do with a managed Windows API.

I am guessing that this name change away from WinFx is indicates that the managed Windows API is dead. John goes further in comment on this post (full comment here):

. . . Microsoft continues to vacilate on this issue. I hear Microsoft execs stand up and proclaim that everything is .NET. Then I see product teams create products without the slightest nod to .NET, using a patchwork of unmanaged code and interfaces dating back to the (early) COM days.

So, Microsoft: you may think that the name change cleared up some confusion. Maybe it did. But as a Microsoft ISV, Gold certified partner, developer, I’ll tell you that I’m confused about how .NET actually fits into the overall product plans.

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WinFx is dead

From mdavey: Longhorn “Server Core” doesn’t have .NET? No managed code.

From the referenced article, Server Core Program Manager

(Andrew) Mason says his development team wants to add the .NET Framework to Server Core, but they first need the Framework team to modularize the code so they can add just the essentials.

Another example of the left-hand not being coordinated with the right. I know I’m mixing metaphors, but it has continued to baffle me that it is taking Microsoft so long to adopt managed code.

Now I think I understand why. And the WinFx to .NET 3.0 name change illustrates the point well:

  • WinFx was purported to be the new Windows API. This claim, while supported by various parts of Microsoft was never internalized by the product teams.
  • This is actually the message that was confusing people. Customers / developers were not asking “what is WinFx?”, as much as they were asking, “where is the new managed Windows API, WinFx?”.
  • But there is no managed Windows API. Managed code is not a core part of the OS (and may never be).
  • So, to avoid the topic, WinFx gets killed. Not just the name, but the entire idea of a managed Windows API. Sure, the components of WinFx get shifted to .NET 3.0.

I have posted before that I am OK with the name change. I am, but I am not OK with the death of the managed Windows API.

Now (of course) this blog is all my own opinion, but I want to point out that this is purely an outsiders view of what is going on at Microsoft. As far as I know I am completely mistaken and next week Microsoft will announce some new effort to provide a fully managed API. Or not.

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Bradbury on IE

Nick Bradbury has an excellent post on how Dvorak is wrong about Internet Explorer (perhaps Dvorak is reading Kevin Burton’s blog).

I agree with Mr. Bradbury on the value that Microsoft brings to developers by making IE easily embeddable into applications. Having this capability built into the OS makes it all the easier for the distribution of new products without the weight of an IE install.

So, yes, I too am glad that Windows has a browser. I do wish it were better and easier to extend; but, I think IE7 will help us there too.

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Why Web2.0 is a natural for the Mac crowd

I generally use Microsoft Windows and I mostly use desktop apps.

I have to admit: I often get annoyed with Web-based UI. Even that with the slickest use of AJAX. Even with WordPress, the application I am using right now.

And what is my problem?

  • Losing my form data if I hit the backspace at the wrong time?
  • Managing application-related pop-up windows?
  • Discerning what some little non-standard icon means?
  • Actually getting my mouse over that tiny icon?


It is that the right mouse button has nothing to do with the specific page I’m on. Occasionally I find myself right-clicking and going “doh, this isn’t a Windows desktop application.” I miss having context-related options available with a right-click of the mouse (and no, I don’t just mean “copy this link”, etc.).

Of course, until recently, the Macintosh had no right mouse button. Or left button for that matter. Just one.

So all these Macintosh users look at the Web applications (Web 2.0 or not) and they are much like Macintosh desktop applications. See a button: click on it. See a menu. Click on it.

This limitation we Windows users perceive in browser-based apps just isn’t there for Mac users.

So Microsoft, and Robert Scoble in particular, I think you guys might be missing this point regarding Web 2.0. If you want to get more involved in Web 2.0, forget Live and Office Live; instead, start shipping single button mice. I know it might seem like a me-too mid-1980’s strategy, but you never know.

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