Thanks to two brief demonstrations of Microsoft's next-generation operating system, third-party Microsoft Windows developers are expressing frustration over what they consider a lack of clear direction on how to develop applications for Windows 8.
Their concern centers on a new Web standards-based development platform that Microsoft may be deploying for the Windows 8 live tile touch-based interface. While promoting this platform in various demonstrations last week, the company said little about the role that its other widely used Windows development platforms, Silverlight and .Net, would play in the new operating system, which is widely expected to be released next year.
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As a result, many Silverlight and .Net developers fear their skill sets may become legacy ones.
Microsoft officials "have not clarified where .Net fits in the Windows 8 world," said Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC. "I think developers are justified in feeling that there needs to be more clear strategic guidance on this."
Last week, at the Wall Street Journal's D8 conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Julie Larson-Green, Microsoft's corporate vice president of the Windows experience, demonstrated Windows 8.
While Microsoft officials have stated that the new Windows would also support applications written for older icon-driven versions of Windows, some developers have wondered if their desktop applications will still get the same support from Microsoft in the years to come.
As first pointed out by tech journalist Tim Anderson, users on Microsoft's own Silverlight forum posted a large number of entries fretting over the demonstrations. Channel 9, another Microsoft developer forum, saw a similar heated reaction.