We’re happy to announce that Introducing Windows 7 for Developers (Microsoft Press, 2010; ISBN: 9780735626829), by Yochay Kiriaty, Laurence Moroney, Sasha Goldshtein, and Alon Fliess, will be available via online retailers soon (this week or next). As a preview, today we offer the book’s Foreword, by Mark Russinovich.
ForewordWindows 7 is arguably the best version of Windows ever. This might sound like a genericmarketing claim, and if you consider that each version of Windows has more functionality, ismore scalable, and supports the latest advances in hardware, each version of Windows isbetter than the last and hence the best version of Windows up to that point. Windows 7,however, not only delivers things that satisfy the basic check boxes required of any newrelease, but does it with an end-to-end polish that surpasses previous Windows releases.
Of course, Windows 7 couldn’t be the great release it is without standing on the shoulders ofthe major advances and innovations of its predecessor, Windows Vista, but there are somedifferences in how Windows 7 was developed. Windows 7 is the first release of a Windowsconsumer operating system that actually requires fewer resources than the previous version—something that’s pretty amazing considering the addition of all the new functionality.Reducing the memory footprint, minimizing background activity, and taking advantage of thelatest hardware power-management capabilities all contribute to producing a sleek, yetmodern, operating system that runs more efficiently on the same hardware that ranWindows Vista.
Another change from previous releases is the way Microsoft worked with PC manufacturersand hardware vendors. Throughout the Windows 7 development cycle, it kept them apprisedof coming changes, shared tools and techniques, and sent engineers onsite to help themoptimize their software and hardware for the new operating system. By the time ofWindows 7 general availability, most partners had over a year of deep experience with theoperating system, giving them plenty of time to tune and adapt their products.
While the under-the-hood and ecosystem efforts deliver the fundamentals, Windows 7introduces a number of features that more directly enhance a user’s experience. For example,the redesigned taskbar makes it easier for users to keep track of their running applications,navigate between multiple application windows, and quickly access their frequently usedapplications and documents. The Windows taskbar, which hadn’t changed significantly fromWindows 95, had become as comfortable as an old pair of slippers; but once you’ve used thenew interface for any length of time, you’ll feel cramped if you have to sit down at an olderversion of Windows.
Windows 7 also unlocks PC hardware devices that are becoming increasingly common,creating a platform that empowers applications to deliver more dynamic and adaptiveexperiences. Mobile PCs now adjust display brightness based on ambient light and have GPSand other sensors that give Windows a view of the world immediately around it. With theinfrastructure and APIs for these devices delivered in Windows 7, applications can integratewith this view to provide users with information and modes of operation specific to thelocal environment.
As a user of Windows and a former independent software vendor (ISV), I know howdisconcerting it is when an application exhibits user-interface constructs different from theones we’ve grown to consider modern by the newest operating system release or version ofOffice we’re using. It’s also frustrating when you experience the seamlessness of anapplication that integrates with the operating system in a way that blurs the line between itand the operating system, and then run into others that seem to flout their nonconformity orshout that they were developed for 10-year-old operating systems.
The key to great software is not to force the user to learn idiosyncratic user-interfacebehaviors, feel like they’re in a time warp when they run it, or wish that it took advantage oftheir PC’s capabilities like other applications do. To delight the user, you need to keep abreastof technology and user-interface trends, recognize when your application can and shouldtake advantage of them, and deliver valued innovation to your customers. Being on thecutting edge of the platform's capabilities helps your applications stand out from thecompetition and conveys the message to your customers that you’re hip.
This book is a great one-stop resource for learning how you can make modern applicationsthat use new PC hardware capabilities and allow users to quickly access common functionality.From using taskbar icons that show the progress of long-running operations, to taskbar iconjump lists that provide easy access to common tasks and recently used documents; fromlocation APIs you use to deliver the most relevant results, to library APIs that allow you tointegrate with and access a user’s existing document collection; from a ribbon control thatexposes the extent of your application’s functionality and features, to supporting a touchinterface for intuitive interaction—this book is your complete guide to bringing yourapplications into the 2010s.
For a programming book to be worth reading in this day of instant access to onlinedocumentation and code samples, it must provide complete and coherent introductions andoverviews to new concepts as well as clearly explained and straightforward code samples thatare easy to reuse. Yochay, Sasha, Laurence, and Alon have delivered both in this book that’ssure to become your Windows 7 programming companion whether you program to .NET orWin32 APIs. I’ve started adding Windows 7 functionality to the Sysinternals tools and thedescription and example of how to exploit the taskbar icon’s progress display enabled me toenhance the Sysinternals Disk2Vhd tool literally in a matter of minutes. I know I’ll be turningto this as I continue to update the tools, and I’m confident you will too, as you strive to giveyour applications that extra edge.
Mark RussinovichTechnical FellowWindows Division, Microsoft Corporation
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