Can Touch This: Developer Guidance for Touch-Enabled Applications

Can Touch This: Developer Guidance for Touch-Enabled Applications

  • Comments 7

Those who, beside this blog, read Windows Developer resources, may have noticed that at the beginning of this month that sibling team released a “Windows 7 Touch Application Development Guidance”. This guidance is purposed to make you learn about:

  • Design Principles. Recommendations on application design.
  • Windows 7 Touch APIs. Windows 7 Touch, Gesture, and Manipulation APIs.
  • Developer Platform Choices. Windows 7 developer platform support for Windows Touch.
  • Software Quality. Windows 7 client software logo requirements.
  • Windows Touch Assets. Additional developer resources.

This is ideal for software developers who want to take full advantage of Windows on touch-enabled PCs. And if you really enjoy touch enabled application development, we recommend you to read a series of articles that our colleague Gus Class is writing:

Check this post, as I’ll update is as Gus posts new stuff. Winking smile

  • I assume this is part of that misguided effort to make Windows your tablet OS?

    Are we really going to have to go through the same debacle as with Windows Mobile, with 6+ major releases before anyone realizes "oh, maybe this actually needs a different approach than we use on the desktop"?

    Sorry, that has nothing to do with the VC team, of course. I'll shut up now ;)

    I'd be interested to know which touch platforms we're supposed to target with all this, though. I can't say I see a lot of touch-enabled Windows PC's around.

  • No need to shut up, @jalf. Feedback is always welcome.

    As per today, Windows 7 is our PC OS, with different editions depending on the kind of device. Multitouch is not a new capability recently added, though: it was announced in late 2007 and released together with Windows 7 (if my memory is not betraying me, by October 2009). In that event, all attendees got a multi touch enabled Win7 tablet PC (I haven't, despite attending, as was just for non-MS full-time employees :'-(

    Windows 7 basic apps (from the basic notepad to IE) where modified to enable touch-based navigation.

    It's true what you say that there aren't lots of multi touch enabled PC's around, as PC manufacturers sometimes enable this feature, sometimes not. You may still shop for them: www.bing.com/.../search

    Regarding Windows slates (keyboard-less), there are some few today (most of them were released by the Holidays last year) and some few more being released these days. Most of them complement the basic Windows graphic shell with some OEM UI layer to enhance the touch experience.

  • To support Windows Phone 7 one day hopefully?

    Who's maintaining the Windows SDK blog? The last entry was 8 months ago.This should be a good entry there.

  • Jalf,  

    You might try the Dell Duo on sale for $400

    store.microsoft.com/.../D8E67416

    or HP's new reclining desktop

    h20435.www2.hp.com/.../61449

    I believe that porting the full Windows 8 to ARM will help, as will the Oak Trail devices coming this summer.

    Will VS C++ exist for Arm  ?

  • Sure, a few Windows PCs with touch screens exist, and sure, the OS has supported touch for years.

    Just like Windows Mobile supported touch. And look at what a success that was.

    Microsoft has tried to push Windows-based tablets for what, 10-15 years now? It's not a new thing. And it hasn't caught on yet.

    The only platforms that have had any success whatsoever with touch-based input are the ones *designed* for it: iOS, Android, and, yes, Windows Phone 7.

    Sure, you can make IE work with touch, you can make Office or Notepad work with touch, and make the start menu work with touch. But sooner or later, the user is going to enter the control panel. Or want to manage his wireless networks. Or any of the millions of other tasks which involve navigating UI *not* tailored for touch.

    And of course, 99.99% of all Windows applications won't have *any* idea what to do with touch. They won't be designed for it, they won't have conveniently huge thumb-sized buttons, and they just won't make the user think "touch-screen on Windows, what a good idea".

    It's the same mentality that gave us Windows Mobile: "we can just reuse the desktop approach, and maybe tweak it a bit and make the buttons a bit bigger. No need to actually re-think anything". Windows will be a succesful touch OS the day *every* piece of UI in the OS is specifically designed for it, and the day every third-party application is specifically designed for it. And that's just not going to happen, any more than it was going to happen for Windows Mobile.

    And I find it baffling that, so soon after finally realizing its mistake and switching to WP7, Microsoft is *still* insisting on repeating the exact same series of mistakes in the tablet space.

    Maybe I'm just too cynical, or lack imagination. Maybe I'm underestimating the billions of man-hours Microsoft is willing to put into transforming *every* piece of Windows UI as well as the entire third-party ecosystem, into something touch-capable. But I find it more likely that the touch experience on Windows will continue to flounder, and Microsoft will stand a chance in the tablet space the day they do a WP7 and make a product targeted specifically at that, rather than trying to tweak the desktop OS.

  • Jalf, I think you are being a bit short-sighted. It was only really discovered that the WinCE baesd UI was a bad idea around the time of wince4-5. There is nothing stopping MS from developing an android like version of windows. Android is afterall linux. Google didn't write a new OS, they wrote a new UI

  • "Windows 7 basic apps (from the basic notepad to IE) where modified to enable touch-based navigation."

    You guys should also modify VC++ (or the entire VS suite, I'm not sure). For example, the VC++ editor currently doesn't allow you to scroll with touch.

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