Ramakant Yadav the Internet edition

Windows: The four pieces of Eight

14 November 2012

Windows-8 in four parts

The Great Part

Upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 8 was a walk in the park. No significant issues encountered apart from downloading display drivers from Intel. In short: no problems at all.Buoyed by this smooth experience, I enthusiastically began to use Windows 8 for my day to day work at home. This mostly involves a little amount of programming for fun, email, browsing the internet and little else.The windows 8 live tiles are a compelling interface. The weather app is useful and looks great. The mail app is great too. I quickly set up my email and news reading on the new app based interface. OneNote is installed as an app, so it looks amazing with its circular context menus. Yes, it looks futuristic. Yes, once you start using it, you will not want to go back to regular rectangular context menus. From a consumer point of view, it is excellent. The UI is excellent. The apps, if done right are downright addictive.

The Good Part

And if you really want to use Word 2010 or visual studio, they appear as static tiles in the start screen. Clicking on the tile for visual studio drops me into the familiar desktop environment. So the desktop is just a click away. Nothing really changes for the desktop users apart from a fancy new start screen.

The Interesting Part

Creating apps is supported in multiple languages. Not just C++ and c# but also in JavaScript. Now, that is interesting.  Windows 8 apps can only be installed on home computers from the windows app store. For enterprise versions, this restriction does not apply. The reason for this is that all the apps on Microsoft app store are certified by Microsoft for quality control. Of course if you are an individual developer who wants to offer other people an app, you have to first get registered in the app store. It is pay as you go.

The Bad part

Creating a Windows App is going to cost money. That's right, if you want to create an app for yourself and plan to sell it; you have to be a registered developer. The registration fees are $49.So that means if I buy visual studio 2012 and windows 8, I still have to pay $49 every year for my developer license. Otherwise, I would not be able to keep the app on the app store. That means nobody will be able to install it on their machine. Of course if I do put it on app store, Microsoft would generously take 30% of the price as its "cut".It is great new business model, except that I cannot create an app and put it up for download on my personal site. I guess only serious/very serious developers would be interested in developing for the windows store. It also means that anybody who is offering free software on the app store is doing so for a very good reason.

My Opinion about the Bad Part

I think this is great for consumers, since they will only be able to load software that has passed various quality tests. Of course it does discourage hobbyists and other casual programmers from taking up programming on the platform.  If you are a serious developer, getting some quality control on your product from the people at the big software company is probably not a bad idea. I can't really complain much since I have very little to lose. I rarely give away stuff for free. Creating software takes time and resources. Life is short and electricity is not free. I am also not in the habit of downloading free software from the internet and using it. So really, I don't see what the problem is.Other software developers may have a problem with it because they might be in the same market as Microsoft. Thus they might be prevented from publishing their app to the app store only because they compete with the store owner's products. It would be interesting to see how this works out.
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