Microsoft has delivered the next version of its client operating system, Windows 8, to the market. In the next few weeks, this will be joined by Windows Server 2012. The changes, from look and feel to underlying functionality, are the biggest Microsoft has made in at least a decade, if not longer. The inevitable debates, as to whether they will deliver benefits to business users, are already well underway. So what is the reality rather than the perception?
Microsoft upping its game
Developers will know that not every version of Windows has been easy to write for. Changes to APIs and device driver models along with problems writing and compiling 32-bit and 64-bit applications have made the platform a nightmare at times.
With Windows 8, it would be foolish to say everything is rosy but Microsoft has upped its substantially game and delivered several things that should improve the application experience. More importantly, it is also offering small development teams a better chance for their products to be seen by enterprise customers and consumers alike.
The first key move is the publication of new testing requirements for Microsoft certification and a promise that Microsoft will ensure its own apps have to meet the same criteria. If they really do mean and deliver this, it will be the biggest tightening up of quality since Windows first shipped in the 1980’s. It won’t mean that buggy apps will be a thing of the past, but it will raise the quality bar substantially.
For developers that are writing enterprise applications, it is important that their in-house processes adopt these new testing requirements as a minimum level of acceptability. This will ensure that the applications delivered to their own users behave properly on Windows 8. This does not preclude the introduction of more stringent testing and it would be foolish to abandon existing code and quality tests by relying only on what Microsoft has set as a standard.