Last week, we had our first Windows 8 webinar titled, “Why build for Windows 8 and how RadControls for Metro can help.” One question that we attempted to answer is, “Why build for Windows 8 now?” “Why not wait until a future date when the platform is more stable?” These questions are valid from a consumer and an enterprise point-of-view and I’ll try to explain why we believe that you should start writing applications for Windows 8 today.
Reason #1: You are building for the next generation of the most popular operating system in the world (which is Microsoft Windows)
Let me begin with this quote from ZDNet, “If there are 600 million copies of Windows 7 in use, and this represents 40 percent of the market, then simple arithmetic says the installed base is now 1.5 billion machines. The vast majority of them -- 92.53 percent or 1.4 billion -- run Microsoft Windows.” [source]
While we do not know how many copies of Windows 8 will be sold, we do know that Windows 7 is the best-selling operating system in history, and Windows 8 is its successor. Windows 8 also allows you to have the best of two worlds. You can choose between the classic “Desktop” mode or the new “Metro” mode. You can still run the same applications on Windows 8 that you can run on Windows 7. You still have your preferred method of input, whether it be mouse/keyboard or touch-screen devices. In other words, nothing was removed, but features were added.
Microsoft is investing heavily in the operating system and while it may take some time to catch on, you can get a head start by working with it today.
Reason #2: There is no denying that the age of the slate / tablet PC is here right now.
We’ve been hearing it since 2010, your next PC will be some sort of slate or tablet device.
Times have changed, we used to be stuck to our office desk because we were using a Desktop computer and if we wanted to “work from home” that meant either physically brining the box to your home (hopefully, you wouldn’t do this), adding files to a USB thumb drive or connecting via VPN.
Then came the laptop, finally we could take our work with us anywhere we wanted. The main issues that came with laptops were that they were originally heavy and could not match the specs of a powerful desktop PC. You could pretty much forget replacing a part if it failed. As time went by, laptops became smaller and lightweight but not everyone wants to drag a laptop around to watch a movie or do some basic internet surfing.
This is where we started seeing devices such as the iPad take off. The iPad was a phenomenal success and we expect the same for the recently announced Microsoft Surface slates. Windows 8 was built touch-first, meaning they are expecting users to be using the Operating System with such devices.
Reason #3: You can write your application in a language that you already know.
So what language do you choose?
Reason #4: You can sell your application easily in the Windows Store or deploy it to your enterprise.
“First to Market” – is a very popular phrase meaning that you have the advantage of being the first person in an ever expanding marketplace. The Windows Store makes your application available to millions of customers with minimal effort on your part. You package your application and upload it in a similar manner as you did with Windows Phone 7. You set the price and what markets you want your application distributed to, and Microsoft does the rest.
Microsoft also has deployment strategies for Enterprise customers who wish to deploy their application internally but not make it available to everyone else in the Windows Store. These types of applications frees enterprises with worries of security breaches, as the application can only be downloaded by selected individuals.
Thanks for reading and I hope that you have a clearer understanding of why building for Windows 8 at this stage is very important. I’d also suggest that you watch the recorded webinar to see exactly what Telerik has in store for Windows 8. You may also download RadControls for Metro here.
I’ve said this in all of my blog post so far, but I am always open to any type of feedback that you may have. Telerik is driven by customer feedback. So, feel free to reply to this post or send me a tweet.
Michael Crump is a Microsoft MVP, Pluralsight and MSDN author as well as an international speaker. He works at Telerik with a focus on everything mobile. You can follow him on Twitter at @mbcrump or keep up with his various blogs by visiting his Telerik Blog or his Personal Blog.
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