These days, our users have growing expectations around integrating UI with the platform. The days of mere functionality are fading, and now more than ever, developers have to deliver client solutions that cleanly mesh with the desktop, giving a connected feel to the application. At the same time, the solutions need to provide a compelling user experience to deliver attractive solutions in a media-saturated world.
Why Windows 7?
How does Windows 7 help? For starters, it has a handful of new technologies to help developers provide both a richer UX and better desktop integration. I’ll give a quick description of each of these new technologies, and point you to more detailed information from Windows 7 Technical Evangelist Yochay Kiriaty on each technology. At any point, you can try Windows 7 for yourself using the Windows 7 Test Drive site, or you can just download a 90-day evaluation to test it out locally.
Windows 7 introduces multi-touch capabilities to Windows that provide support for both the OS and applications--even those applications that were not developed specifically to support multi-touch. As developers, we have the opportunity to opt into multi-touch in Windows 7 and provide additional functionality to our end users, enhancing their user experience. In the first video, join Reed Townsend and Yochay as they explore multi-touch in Windows 7. They will cover basic out of the box support for legacy applications, as well as for applications optimized for multi-touch, and explain the “Good, Better, and Best” programming model.
Smooth animations are fundamental to many graphical UI applications, and Windows 7 introduces a native animation framework for managing the scheduling and execution of animations. The animation framework supplies a library of useful mathematical functions for specifying behavior over time and also lets developers provide their own behavior functions. The framework supports sophisticated resolution of conflicts when multiple animations attempt to manipulate the same value simultaneously. An application can specify that one animation must be completed before another can begin and can force completion within a set time. The new framework also helps animations determine appropriate durations. In this video, you will see Yochay and Windows Ribbon Scenic Animation product team members Paul Kwiatkowski and Paul Gildea as they explain Windows Scenic Animation, why we need it, and which components of Windows use this technology. Paul also has few demos that show the real power of this technology.
Windows 7 Ribbon
Windows 7 has adopted the Office 2007 Ribbon user interface concept. The Windows 7 Ribbon command infrastructure enables developers to quickly and easily create rich ribbon experiences in their applications. Watch Yochay and Windows Ribbon product team members Ryan Demopoulos, and Sebastian Poulose as they take a deep dive into the Windows 7 Ribbon API and programming module, focusing on advanced topics such as dynamic galleries.
Windows 7 Taskbar
Windows 7 offers a new way of controlling your desktop, managing your windows, and launching applications. The Windows 7 Taskbar is a new application-launching and window-switching mechanism that consolidates the functionalities from previous Windows OS Desktop mechanisms such as Quick Launch, Recent Documents, Notification area icons, desktop shortcuts, and running application windows. Watch Yochay and Taskbar product team developers Robert Jarrett and Ben Betz as they talk about the three parts of the Taskbar. Rob will describe the architecture driving some of the new Taskbar features such as custom switchers and Jump Lists and we will address the important topic of Application ID.
OK, Kernel constructs may not neatly tie in with user experience or desktop integration. But it’s a pretty cool topic for developing on Windows 7, so we slipped it in here. Windows has certainly evolved, both as a general purpose operating system and at the lowest levels, with the release of Windows 7. Few people know the internal details of this evolution better than Technical Fellow and Windows Kernel guru Mark Russinovich. Here, Mark discusses some of the new kernel constructs in Windows 7. One very important change in the Windows 7 kernel is the dismantling of the dispatcher spin lock and redesign and implementation of its functionality. The direct result of the reworking of the dispatcher lock is that Windows 7 can scale to 256 processors. Further, this made it possible to tune the Windows Memory Manager to be more efficient. Mark also explains what MinWin really is. MinWin is present in Windows 7. Native support for VHD is another nice addition to our next general purpose OS. You’ll learn about each of these, and more, in this video.
If you would like to try out any of these new features, feel free to give Windows 7 a Test Drive, or just download a 90-day evaluation.