back to article Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform? It's an uphill battle, warns key partner

Keeping pace with Microsoft's ever-changing developer story has not been easy. Just ask Infragistics exec Jason Beres, Senior VP Development Tools. I spoke to Beres at Gartner's recent London event on Application Architecture, Development and Integration. Infragistics sells developer tools and components and is a veteran …

Facepalm

Microsoft needs to realise...

That a universal Windows platform is about as likely, wanted and needed as universal underwear.

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Re: Microsoft needs to realise...

.. and about as comfortable.

As an aside I am sick of "1 size fits all" in socks too - my (UK) size 11 feet will not fit into something that was not too baggy for somebody with a size 7. Software is often similar, in that a small app to handle 50 items in a static list will not need the same infrastructure as one for dynamic database of millions of items. GUIs that look acceptable on a tiny screen may look like crap on a big screen with decent resolution.

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Silver badge

Re: Microsoft needs to realise...

So everyone is in starring in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, or nobody?

Which is worse?

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Facepalm

Re: Microsoft needs to realise...

Well, now they have no mobile platform of their own they have to turn to others to find users to piss off.

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Re: Microsoft needs to realise...

Upvoted. I made a similar comment two years ago and got lots of downvotes. Seems that people have finally realized that all devices having the same resources and capabilities and differ only in input methods is an absurd premise and that the "your phone is your PC" mantra is not going to happen. Unless you're writing a dumb "terminal" app which just consumes remote API calls (and the result sets are fairly small) you can't assume the same amount of memory and CPU will be usable.

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Re: Microsoft needs to realise...

I have mixed feelings about this.

MS has been chasing this chimaera for a very long time, just in different ways. There was Windows Mobile, which tried to cram the full-fat desktop experience on to phones that typically had non-touch 320x240 screens and no keyboard. That didn't work out well, so then they tried the opposite approach of foisting a touch-centric interface optimised for (relatively) small screens into desktop Windows 8, making it unusable with just a keyboard and mouse. Now, having swung both ways, they seem to want to make the experience equally crap on all devices.

On the other hand, there's no getting away from the fact that today's handsets have the computing power of yesterday's desktops. I actually find the idea behind Continuum pretty compelling, if they could find a way to execute it properly, and without requiring me to part with masses of personal data. A PC that you carry around everywhere really would be personal.

-A.

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Re: Microsoft needs to realise...

"write an application that runs everywhere Windows runs, subject to device constraints?"

So everything is a phone app, and you end up with the full screen calculator app. Anything that makes good use of your desktop with 8+ GB of RAM and dual monitors is not going to run on a phone.

So in the end you just have angry birds running on UWP, and everything else is a normal windows application.

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Re: Rocky Horror and MS

When you think about it, Rocky Horror really was a lousy movie - it was so bad that it took the customers to fix it. Don't believe me? Try watching it at home without hordes of people dressed as the characters and without throwing toast at your TV or yelling "ASSHOLE" at the appropriate times. And the squirt guns, don't forget to not bring the squirt guns.

Microsoft products are much the same.

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Maybe Microsoft will do the right thing eventually

And decouple UWP from the store. There is no reason it has to be tied and there are some very good reasons to develop against UWP that coupling prevents. The APIs for UWP are a lot cleaner and sweep away a lot of the crap that has accumulated in Win32. But while its tied to the store it's not much use for general purpose development.

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Alert

Re: Maybe Microsoft will do the right thing eventually

UWP for Android and iOS? Be like the premise for Java.

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Re: Maybe Microsoft will do the right thing eventually

"And decouple UWP from the store."

I doubt THAT would help. The UWP concept, "dumbing things down for the lowest common denominator" so that your crippled application runs on ANYTHING, just plain stinks. NOBODY wants a DUMBED DOWN application. PERCEPTION is EVERYTHING.

When "Ape" (windows 8) released, those 'Ape' machines COLLECTED DUST when you could buy an equivalent 7 machine instead. That's because it was PERCEIVED to be *WORSE* . But Microsoft didn't learn from their past mistakes. They "sent more trains" to the TRAIN WRECK. Now they've got Win-10-nic as their "solution". HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!

UWP - *THAT* will fix it. Riiight. I code for Win32 on windows systems. I don't need that crappy ".Not" monolithic dead-man on the back of my applications, I static link all libraries (including runtime), for reliability among every OTHER reason [don't need some 3rd party CRapplication breaking mine, since I'll be the one getting the midnight phone call to fix it], and just about everything ELSE Microsoft has been getting developers to buy into, then switching gears (again) and abandoning, I've just looked at and said "what, the, @#$%???".

If you look on TIOBE, Java [a very cross-platform language] seems to be leading the pack. In 2nd place, C. If you combine C and C++, it's roughly equal to Java. then at 5 or 6% is "C-pound", with ".Net" garbage at ~10% total. That means 90% of development is _NOT_ ".Net". If _THAT_ is the case, why is Microsoft so big on their "new, shiny" UWP?? I'd say it's *THE* *STORE*.

So no de-coupling them at any time in the future.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Maybe Microsoft will do the right thing eventually

MS is obsessed with stores just like it is obsessed with data slurping. Apple makes a lot of money with the former, Google with the latter. Having now a leadership without a clue, it just tries to repeat someone else success, with abysmal results.

Anyway, UWP may work barely on platforms you fully support, so you can bend the UIX on each one to work somehow decently in UWP apps.

As soon as you try to apply it to platforms you don't control, the issues rise exponentially. You need to take account of many different widgets and design with different use paradigms, from subtle (but important) ones, to completely different ones. Java already tried it with AWT, Swing and SWT, with results under everybody's eyes. And it didn't try to tackle very different form factors and UIX.

Embarcadero is trying to achieve something alike with its RAD Studio product and FireMonkey framework (which tries to imitate the native UI on each supported platform, fully drawing it...), and went nowhere, you don't see developers flocking to it...

MS has more resources, but any applications of that kind on many different platforms needs to accept too many compromises to be really usable but for simpler tasks.

After all, it's what happened with the web applications too - and they impose their own UIX ignoring the platform one, and still are a big compromise.

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Re: Maybe Microsoft will do the right thing eventually

"The UWP concept, "dumbing things down for the lowest common denominator" so that your crippled application runs on ANYTHING, just plain stinks. NOBODY wants a DUMBED DOWN application. PERCEPTION is EVERYTHING."

I really don't know what you're talking about here. Dumbed down? It merely rationalises the functionality that's in Win32, sweeping out a lot of dead or obsolete functionality and organises the rest along the lines seen in other modern APIs - io, file, net, etc. And it does so in a language agnostic way so you can write in C++, C# or anything else that binds with it.

The problem with UWP has nothing to do with the concept but the corner that Microsoft has painted it into by tying it to the store. If it weren't tied to the store then the chances are it would be more popular. It's could even become a cross platform lingua franca if Microsoft are bold enough to release it to Android and iOS.

But if you don't want to use it, then no one would force you. I'm sure Win32 will be around for a long time to come.

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May be morph 10 back to 7 inter-phase just to get all us 70 something year old's back on side. We still yearn for DR-DOS Norvell etc and remember the sad saga of Win1 and 2.

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Microsoft don't know if they are coming or going and Universal apps on are the reality on Linux already where there is no problem to solve....

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Anonymous Coward

too big a jump in to the future users didnt move with Microsoft corporate roadmap.

If Microsoft had made incremental change and not wild swings then they could have kept users aligned with the corporate vision (if they even had an idea what that was themselves).

Had microsoft introduces a store and UWA to a product that looked and felt like a refreshed windows 7 UI with windows 8 security improvements then people would have accepted it. even better add the store and UWA to windows 7 updates so people who didnt want to move would still have the new feature and so spend money with microsoft rather than 3rd parties directly. and would be familiar with the store and UWA when they did upgrade so it would reduce the technology shock. they could then incrementally change the UI with each update/upgrade bring this down to a service model with yearly "Improvements"

Allowing their Office suite on other OS platforms removes one of the "killer" tie in applications that windows had. so more people who would have "HAD" to have run a windows machine now can use an iOS, Android, OSX, or (in a browser with 365) Linux. and have no need to have windows or any other products in its ecosystem. and if Govt and others mandate ODF there will be less pressure on corporates keeping MS office and other Office products may advance as the cost or retraining staff on to other suites is offset or reduced compared to the licencing costs of MS Office.

We will come to a point when all the standard basic user will be interested in is access to a browser and access to all the web tools that they need including a version of an office suite (in a browser) and email. at this point OS is totally irrelevant if the machine is set up correctly with a browser path and storage locations mapped (local, corporate file server, cloud etc, delete as appropriate). so a Bloated windows distribution (with its pricey licence) {and telemetry} becomes irrelevant.

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Re: too big a jump in to the future users didnt move with Microsoft corporate roadmap.

Err - do you mean Chrome OS by any chance?

My two penny worth: if Google keeps its nerve, and brings off its implementation of Android onto Chrome OS, it will be the biggest upset in PC history in decades, more surprising than OS/2 making a comeback.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: too big a jump in to the future users didnt move with Microsoft corporate roadmap.

I have no problem with alternative OS im not Tied to windows. but it is the one i know the best but dont like the radical changes in UI and telemetry in the new versions. and all the BLOAT.

Chrome needs to be more capable offline to be an option for me , and it has its own telemetry issues. but for many a "merged" Android Chrome OS chimera would be all many people would need.

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Anonymous Coward

Is it possible that Microsoft will deprecate Win32 eventually

MS hoped already to deprecate the WinAPI when it rolled out .NET and hinted it would have become the main Windows API, and even the OS would have been written it .NET and not in C. It was thirteen years ago.

While some utilities have been rewritten in .NET (usually becoming slower and crappier, especially when they need to call cmdlet instead of a clean API...), the heavy non-web applications are still written using mostly C/C++ and the WinAPI. On Windows Phone, the difference when 8.x switched to C/C++ and OS API calls was noticeable. WinRT, the predecessor of UWP, was again basically a C/C++ API (with .NET and Javascript "bindings" as well).

Deprecating Win32 (and its 64 bit counterpart) would mean to kill the large number of applications, professional or not, that are keeping Windows alive (and keep Linux at 1.4% of the desktop market).

If their makers are forced to rewrite them mostly from scratch, today is not so given they would do it for Windows again, or for Windows only (for those that haven't an OSX counterpart already).

But given how clueless and desperate is MS starting from the CEO, who knows? Nadella tried to install Windows 10 using malware-like approaches, it could also wake one morning and decide to kill Win32 and fire all C++ developers at MS...

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No

"Is it possible that Microsoft will deprecate Win32 eventually ?."

They haven't got around even running full Office on non-intel machines (see their crippled RT version) Deprecating Win32 means rewriting Office, which is their biggest cash cow. So no chance. Win32 will exist forever, or as long as there is a stand alone Office application.

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Vic

This CAD package is heavily tied to MFC - and they have stated that migrating to Linux will require a complete application rewrite.

Beware of hyperbole :-)

Whilst a port away from MFC will require significant re-work, if it needs a "complete re-write", then the implication is that the underlying code is somewhat confused; if MFC pervades all the non-Windows-specific bits, then we have to consider whether appropriate abstraction was used during development. This isn't a good place to be...

Do you know the developers of this application? Such a port is the sort of thing many would-be FOSS developers would be happy to get their teeth into...

Vic.

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Anonymous Coward

WPF is more performant?

Native apps calling the Windows API directly even more... just like they were more performant than Visual Basic ones...

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Anonymous Coward

It seems impossible to write a good looking Windows application any more - everything looks dated and ugly, has screen redraw issues, odd flickers, weird looking controls, and for some reason every application writer seems to think that what the world needs is another design of scrollbar. Look at Microsoft Office, or, even worse, Skype for Business (catchy name, Microsoft, catchy name). Ugly, all of them.

Writing anything in .net just adds the odd lags and pauses every user of the few Java applications in existence quickly learns to hate, with no positive upside at all, and anyone mad enough to use C++ to write applications in this day and age should have their keyboards taken away. Or their hands.

There's nothing left worth running on Windows, except possibly Firefox. So what the Windows world doesn't need is yet another flash-in-the-pan Micsoroft framework poorly designed by committee, ruined by inflighting and the horrible platform it has to run on, and only supported until the next stupid idea comes along. What the Windows world really needs is Linux.

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Anonymous Coward

Oh common, not again

Not again...spreading out your ignorance about other technologies to boost that one ugly duckling called Linux..... it's 2016 man, not 2000!?!?

1. Linux also runs a lot if not dominantly, C++ and Java applications (and some C & Python)! Or is it written in some dark mysterious language called LinuxScript? NO!

BTW, C++ is still used A LOT in your favorite apps on ANY platform....Photoshop, (ok, Gimp for you open-source Linux people), Cubase/Ableton Live/FruityLoops (ok: Ardour), MS Office/Lotus Symphony (ok: LibreOffice), Maya3D/3DS Max (ok: Blender), Notepad++(any platform), IE/Edge/Chrome/Firefox(!)....

Or are you going to write these applications in plain Javascript, because that's probably where you're referring to? Good luck and we'll meet again in 20 years when your project is almost halfway....

And the lags and pauses are not in any way related to the quality of the platforms they're built on! They're just the result of poorly written applications FOR that platform. The same can be obtained when you poorly write applications in plain Assembly!

.NET applications can even outperform native C++-written apps, because the compiler optimizes the hell out of the code for the platform it runs on. And now you even have .NET native that compiles your .NET code to native machine code to even allow faster startup times and restrict memory-usage somewhat.

Many lightspeed core transactional banking applications, by the way, run in Java, C++ and some newer ones even in .NET..... these are applications that do the stock trading and need to be able to perform billions of transactions a minute....

Nasa wrote their software for the Mars Lander in Java....

Please inform yourself a bit first, or, know what, TRY something out yourself first.....like code for a certain platform, before you write out ignorant statements.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh common, not again

The problem with .NET (or Java) code is when they have to call outside the VM (i.e., calling the OS APIs...), and when their GC kicks in (to trim the RAM they're usually wasting). The JIT or any other compiler can't solve this. And because UI responsiveness is what most users regards as "application performance", they are still "bad tools" to develop desktop applications - you can still easily perceive the "lag" when performing some operations. Server side non visual code usually suffer less.

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"Infragistics"? Are they just making this shit up as they go?

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Paris Hilton

Re: Infragistics

"Infragistics" I thought that was something to do with your kill count in a Doom deathmatch.

Of course I also thought WPF meant Windows Page Fault.

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back in the day, when Micro-Soft was 8 bit...

the first mantra was Microsoft on anything. S-80, Apple, 6800, whatever you got that doesn't have acolytes in a sterile room dropping your card deck.

now they're going back.

the slogans change faster in telco.. even years, push decision/access out, odd years, pull it in. took Microsoft 40 years.

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My Windows 10 keeps telling me to "touch here" to do things.

I dutifully follow those instructions, both nothing happens because I don't have a touch screen monitor.

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Universal platform?

"less about UWP and more about a true universal platform"

But did MS not say the Universal Windows Platform is the... universal windows platform?

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Nanosoft?

Perhaps Microsoft should have rebranded themselves Nanosoft when microprocessor manufacturing processes moved from micrometers to nanometers.

Too late now though, I suspect we might reach picometers in the next few years. I suppose they could call themselves Picosoft. If they're still around.

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