Build 2014: This should be a doozy!

By Kip Kniskern | In Opinion | Posted January 14, 2014 4 comments

Just happened to confirm my invitation to attend this year’s Build conference in San Francisco April 2-4, and while I was already looking forward to it, now I’m just downright excited!

As we wrote earlier, Build just may be (or not, there’s really no telling) the first large public appearance for a new Microsoft CEO, and from the sounds of it, he or she is going to have to pull out all the stops. Developers, you see, apparently aren’t happy with Microsoft, and the displeasure is boiling over. Mary Jo Foley posted earlier today on how at least according to some, Microsoft has lost the trust of developers, and will need to use Build to begin to build it back. In the post, she links ex-Microsoftie David Sobeski’s Facebook post on “Trust, Users and The Developer Division“, outlining one version of the mess Microsoft has on its hands in dealing with developers.

Now obviously a lot has changed in the world even since Microsoft’s first Build in 2011 (the conference was known as PDC before that), where Microsoft first took the wraps off of Windows 8. Back then, we were still being promised “Windows Live Metro style apps”, and it was only a few months after we first got word that Microsoft’s “strategy has shifted” for Silverlight. Developers were left in limbo after having invested time, effort and resources into what up until then had been a focus of Microsoft’s development portfolio. Users, too, were left to sort out myriad name changes and rebrands, still hanging on to this day as we await the new name for SkyDrive (and what else will be renamed while they’re at it?).

Since then, and up until only a few months ago, developers haven’t had much of a clue that the technologies they were being pushed would even be around the next time they came calling. Even now, as they’re being fed the “One Microsoft” koolaid, word is leaking out about Windows 9 and some kind of quasi singularity between Windows Phone 8 OS, Windows RT, and Windows 9. How’s that going to work (and what’s it going to break)?

Supposedly, according to Paul Thurrott’s post on Windows 9, or “Threshold”, Microsoft is preparing to offer a “vision” announcement for Windows, the first since Longhorn in 2003. We suspect that this time, developers won’t just sit back and allow Microsoft to try and pull the wool over their eyes. Unless it’s ready for some serious backlash, and developers leaving in droves, Microsoft better be ready with quite a vision.

Posted January 14th, 2014 at 9:47 pm
Category: Opinion
Tags: Build 2014
  • quppa

    David Sobeski’s post is interesting – we usually hear these things from DevDiv’s side (generally with the angle that the Windows team won’t use DevDiv’s products and want to invent their own).

    There are some inaccuracies, however (though I’m not sure they render the whole thing invalid).

    The Windows Phone 7 to Windows Phone 8 transition was nothing like he described – almost all WP7 apps will run on WP8 seamlessly. User and developer trust was lost with the missing upgrade path to WP8 for WP7 devices and in the abandoning of all Windows Mobile applications.

    The timeline for XAML and DirectUI seems a bit off – DirectUI was used in Windows XP (notably in Windows Explorer and the new login UI), long before Avalon and Longhorn. Surely the existence of both is not just a case of ‘not-invented-here syndrome’, but two products inspiring each other. Also, it turns out XAML is much better than HTML/CSS (for a lot of things, anyway).

    Is he really trying to say that open source projects don’t make breaking changes? Microsoft does abandon platforms more often than I’d like (this is especially annoying when they abandon something good – Silverlight – for something inferior – HTML/JS), but remember that ‘abandon’ means ‘no new features’, not ‘your existing programs will stop working’. VB6 programs will run just fine on Windows 8.1! How much more could you reasonably ask for.

    • chinch987

      that “article” was littered with errors for sure. Borderline silly LOOK AT ME writing.
      The only real break from MS was vb6 to vbNet (CODE NOT PORTABLE) but the apps still run!!!! WM devs had long abandoned WM (for iOS or android) and the vast majority of WP7 apps ran on WP8 all moot to developers (not in a hurry to support WP with no initial support from 1/2 the USA carriers (Verizon/Sprint). But yes the original HTC Trophy device couldn’t be updated to WP8 (as if the avid smartphone user would stick with the Trophy for 2 years anyways but lets suspend disbelief for the sake of blog hits.).

      These disgruntled guys are also confusing the fact that form factors are changing rapidly yet MS x86 legacy code is not really compliant with ARM/low power mobile devices. Infighting or less than perfect decision making doesn’t change that fact.

      • Jason Thomas Carter

        Sprint is #3 carrier in the US, and it’s not even close to #1 or #2. Modern apps run on both ARM and x86. Why is Microsoft the only one held to supporting legacy and then hit just as hard when they do support it? No other web browser provides any legacy support, Chrome has a legacy support plug in but you know what it does? It opens IE.

        • chinch987

          1/2 = HALF which is what CDMA is unfortunately in the USA (VZQ+Sprint)
          But you’re right, MS must support everything for decades but iBloggers give free pass to new Android phones 2 versions back and Macs that can’t be updated