Spending a Day with Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 Betas

Photo by simply.jessi

I spent yesterday at .Net developers conference (or behind the walls of the evil empire). The workshop I attended was an introduction to developing business applications for Windows 8 Metro using Visual Studio 11. Read on for my take away from the workshop

Let me start by saying I am a 4/5 GL developer and have been for well over 20 years. Yesterday was not about converting me, or convincing me that Visual Studio and .NET is the way to salvation. I attended for two main reasons: first, the description of the workshop said Business Applications for Metro, I am not interested in the 100th demo of building cut the rope for Metro, that’s not what I do.  Second they were going to use ASP.net Web API Services (or whatever MS is calling it this week) to expose the data to the client. OK, there may have been another reason, did I mention the free food and a Friday off of work?

So with all that being said, please don’t read this article and flame me for not telling everyone to rush out and become VS developers. This article is for WX developers to give them a few insights into what’s going on elsewhere and some Windows 8 bit and pieces.

So what did I learn from my day of hanging out with the guys from the evil empire….

Windows 8 is not as scary as it has been made out to be. I was under the impression that Metro is windows 8 but it’s not, it’s really just a touch friendly launcher on top of Windows 8. The desktop etc. are still there, unless your on a tablet/phone then Metro is your only interface, which makes sense.

VS 11 Beta is pretty impressive compared to what it was the last time I look at it, back in the days of VB (pre .Net) The environment is doing a lot of the intelligent things that we have in WX, like knowing your variables etc. It can do some of the nice things like rename your variable throughout the project, but the interface to get to that is a lot tougher.

The debugger in 11 seemed as good as WX, which based on the reaction of the crowd is a new development.

Its biggest strength is also its biggest issue. It really is a collection of several (read a butt load) of frameworks and class libraries. There is some really nice stuff in there, but even our speaker who was a MS MVP struggled to remember what library functions were in when they are 3 and 4 levels deep. By the way a big thanks to Shawn Weisfeld of Usergroup.tv for giving a great presentation and making sure a non .Net developer didn’t fall behind and get lost.

At the end of the day… I could code in VS C# if I had to. But I sure don’t want to. The foundations and classes do must of the plumbing for you but your still “coding” I am not sure what we do in WX but it’s not the same thing. We are organizing, directing or something, it’s a higher level function. Even though the foundation in .Net does most of the plumbing for you, your still down there banging your head on the pipes to get your work done.

I am sure .Net developers will be happy to point out that if I buy this widget or that I don’t have to be down there in the basement, but that brings up my next issue. The naturally had a few .Net magazines they were giving away, I flipped through them last night and every other page is an ad for this a control, or foundation add-on, or IDE for over the top of .Net that will make life wonderful. It starts feeling a little like the Emu ecosystem to me, I can raise Emu’s and sell them and make a great profit as long as I can convince people that they can make money, raising and selling Emu’s.

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Pete Halsted[suffusion-the-author display=’description’]


One thought on “Spending a Day with Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 Betas

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