Since I have a 17 month old son, I sometimes find myself thinking about things in terms of children songs. As such, when I think about the Microsoft-based platform and where it’s heading, the first song that pops to mind is “The More We Get Together”, and its repeating line: “The more we get together, the happier we’ll be” — except when singing about the platform, I change it to “... the more valuable we’ll be.” We, in this case, being us, developers.
Naturally, you’re going to ask me why so. To me, “the more we get together” refers to the path on which Windows 8, Windows Phone 8, and Xbox are taking us. That path is one where we will be able to develop applications that run on desktops, laptops, tablets, slates, phones, and televisions and create app experiences for our users that are consistent across all of these different “screens”. That path is also one that allows us to use one development environment, Visual Studio 2012, and its multitude of tools (development, testing, lifecycle management, etc.) to create those experiences.
Then for the next part of the song “... the more valuable we’ll be”, well, that one is simple — the convergence of all of these products into a consistent platform means that we’re no longer “web developers”, “client developers”, “mobile developers”, or “game developers.” We’re simply App Developers. Moving forward, you’re going to use the same development expertise that you’ve been perfecting all of these years, except now, you’ll take those skills and apply them across the entire platform. So what’s become more valuable? YOU. Simple. I told you.
If you have an MSDN subscription, you can unlock the value right now - you can already get your hands on the complete releases of both Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 from your MSDN downloads page. Don’t forget that you’ll need to activate your developer account in Windows Store (that’s right, part of your MSDN) and/or your Windows Azure subscription (check our MSDN subscriber benefits — you probably have a whole slew of benefits for Windows Azure included with your MSDN subscription) in order to unleash the value.
If you don’t have MSDN, no worries. You can still download the trial version of Windows 8, and the trial of Visual Studio 2012 as well.