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Big News Coming Out of BUILD - Wayne Citrin Comments

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"Flash is dead" is what some in the web developer community are saying after Microsoft's announcement that the all-web-standard "Metro" version of Windows 8 would not include plugins in its IE10 browser, which means no Flash.  What they forget is that anyone (and a vast majority probably will) use the alternate mode of Windows 8 that functions more similarily to Windows 7.  That version will still allow plugins.  However, the news certainly marks a big change in the direction the OS and the browser, and it's a huge win for the standard web as a platform.

There were other controversies coming out of BUILD such as the resurrected "Silverlight is Dead" rumor.  I spoke with Wayne Citrin, the CTO of JNBridge, about what he's seeing on the ground level at th Microsoft BUILD conference.


DZone:  What's your impression of the MS BUILD conference so far?  It seems like a lot of big news is coming out of the conference.  Possibly more than we've seen at Mix or TechEd.  How does it compare to those other conferences right now?
 
Wayne Citrin:  Lots of interesting stuff being discussed.  As far as compared to Mix or TechEd, there’s really no comparison in terms of news.  This is probably the biggest “PDC” since the one that introduced .NET and Longhorn/Vista (2000?).


DZone:  What's some of the most interesting information you've heard around Windows 8 at the conference?
 
Wayne:  Based on what I’ve heard, my concern is that they may be giving short shrift to business users and desktop users.  All the innovations are Metro-centric, but it really doesn’t seem that Metro will be useful for most business and productivity apps.  It’s interesting that all the Metro apps that have been demoed have been games and social networking apps.  Will there be a Metro-style Office?  If they want to use conventional desktop office on tablets, there will be problems – the conventional desktop style isn’t very usable with a touch screen – we’ve known this since the XP tablets, and things haven’t really changed much in the meantime.
 
Conversely, there are problems with using Windows 8 in desktop mode, even on a desktop.  Clicking on the “Start” button now goes into the Metro start screen.  From a regular desktop monitor, that is not a useful experience.  Hopefully they will fix that in future iterations.
 
The ability to mount VHDs and ISOs is extremely useful.  The ability to mount ISOs without using a third-party tool is especially overdue.
 
I thought the news about Windows 8 Server was interesting.  I especially liked the Hyper-V improvements – the ability to move virtual machines and VHDs from one physical machine to another, without interrupting execution.  That’s pretty cool.


DZone: There were some articles out this morning suggesting that Microsoft is, for the most part, abandoning Silverlight on Windows 8.  What have you heard from people around the conference on this issue, and what are your thoughts?
 
Wayne:  I’ve heard the turmoil about Silverlight, but I have to honestly say that nobody I’ve spoken to at the conference (and it’s easy to approach anyone and ask them “What do you think?”) has even mentioned Silverlight.  I was more concerned about continuing attention to .NET and the CLR, but after attending sessions, I’m reassured that .NET has a future. (I especially like the new C# support for asynchrony.)  I do think it’s unfortunate that Microsoft felt they had to go a different way with WinRT (making it more COM-like seems like a step backwards), but I do understand they had to do this to support resource-limited and power-limited devices.


DZone: What were some of the announcements around Windows Azure so far?
 
Wayne:  My main impression about the Azure announcements was that they’ve streamlined and made more transparent the development, testing, and deployment process into the cloud.  This is a good thing.


DZone: What is JNBridge talking about (announcing?) at this conference
 
Wayne:  Our main interest at the conference is Metro, WinRT, and .NET 4.5.  Our customers will almost certainly want to develop Metro applications and we want to support them in that effort.  At Build, we’re gathering the information necessary to meeting any challenges that we might face, particularly in regard to WinRT compatibility.

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