The Truth About Windows 8





Windows 8 - Chicken Little Needs a Time-Out Now!

If I seem overly energetic about this topic it's because of an unnecessary bad experience I just went through.  Despite being an avid Microsoft tool user for many years, I believed all the anti-Windows 8 hype on the Web.  I fell into the trap of believing there must be some truth to it since there were so many people making so much noise.  The bellicose blogs trumpeting the destruction of the Windows desktop experience due to the introduction of Metro and the loss of the Start Menu had me convinced.

Fortunately I was forced to upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 8 so I could take advantage of the powerful capabilities of the WinPhone 8 SDK, an SDK I wanted to use badly.  That's when I had the reverse shock of my life.  It took me less time to master Windows 8 and access every app I needed than all the previous versions of Windows I had used.  I found the Live Tile/Metro interface effortless to use and intuitive.  I never had to download any of the Start Menu necromancer apps and tweaks I had read about and already had bookmarked and waiting.  Any time I want to have easy access to an app I just Search for it and pin it to the task bar for fast access later or drag a shortcut to my desktop.  

My whole life I've been a strong proponent of ignoring mass hysteria and seeing things objectively with my own eyes.  I'm embarrassed to admit that with Windows 8 I let my guard down and drank the Chicken Little brand Kool-Aid.  What makes irrationally fearing Windows 8 an even greater stark mistake is that Windows 8 isn't merely "fine" or "just as good" as earlier versions. It's better.

To my fellow developers

I'm finding some pretty amazing resources out there for Windows development, rewards programs, and support.  I really feel badly for any developer that doesn't know about the resources available to help them develop faster, make their apps better, and actively help them get better positioning and ratings in the Windows Store.  For example:
  • The stellar and entertaining Channel 9 video series for learning critical programming concepts and the Microsoft tools & platforms involved.
  • Twitter users like @atleyhunter, @AWSOMEDEVSIGNER, @davebost,  @lancewmccarthy@UserCommunity and an army of others who respond eagerly all day to developer requests.
  • The Microsoft Evangelist group and the Nokia Ambassador program who give developers real help and vital information instead of merely lip service and a pat on the back (see the Twitter users above).
  • The rich capabilities of the Expression Blend IDE for creating beautiful user interfaces.
  • The detailed design samples on MSDN like the tutorial on Expression Blend that I finished working through today.
  • The stunning AppCampus group that is literally handing out tens of thousands of dollars for a measly 6 month exclusive on the right to distribute your app instead of a massive, painful chunk of your company's equity. They even provide personal coaching and guidance to help you build and market your application
  • The equally stunning BizSpark and DreamSpark programs that give small businesses a huge leg up on Windows and web service development by providing complimentary software tools, vital mentoring, and even free time on Microsoft's powerful Azure cloud computing platform.
  • The ridiculously pro-active DLVUP program that Nokia is putting their full weight and creativity behind to foster Windows Phone development.  For developers wise enough to recognize the immense opportunity Windows Phone provides they are actively helping them with contests, guidance, and rewards programs.  They even have a legion of people with open schedules on ODesk ready to help you with your Windows developer questions at no charge.

To the fanatically devoted Nokia support people

It really would behoove MS/Nokia to create a "care package" that all devs have easy access to and are reminded of that contains pointers to these resources, including lists of Twitter users to follow, categorized by topic, and power blogs.


  • Visit Rich Dunbar's How To Get Started with Windows Phone Development page for a great list of WinPhone tips and resources. You'll also find a list of Nokia Developer Ambassadors and their locations.
  • Here's a great roundup of Windows Phone 8 development resources for new developers from the Microsoft UK Faculty Connection.
  • Hard core game developers will love Matt Cavanagh's Unity3D tutorial for Windows Phone 8. Matt is an AppCampus award recipient and you can follow him on Twitter at @roguecode.

In Closing

Chicken Little is a wonderful fable that fits the current times more than ever.  Please, be your own judge.  You'll soon see for yourself what the truth is about Windows 8 and what is simply mass hysteria created to drive web page views and create some excitement at the expense of a finely crafted operating system, with the best development resources I've ever seen to support it.



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