Saturday, September 24, 2011

Windows 8 Announcement and Microsoft Platforms for LOB Apps

It may seem that Microsoft is complicating things for enterprise developers with the announcement of Windows 8 and it's new

development platform. After analyzing a lot of articles on Windows 8 and Metro features, here are my conclusions:

If you are starting a new enterprise project (LOB or Line Of Business application), first decide whether it should be a web based app or client based app.

Web apps are the new norms for LOBs as it provides maximum reach. Go for ASP.NET Web Forms if your application is heavily data driven and development time is very limited. Web Forms is also suitable if your developers are more familiar with Windows Forms than model-view-control architecture based development. Go for ASP.NET MVC if you have enough skilled developers and you want full control of the rendered HTML. MVC also provides other benefits like better testability and extensibility. If you have already not invested in Silverlight, forget about it. It is gonna be useful only to develop Windows Phone applications post Windows 8 release.

If your application demand the full resources of a client computer, go for the stand-alone windows client option. If you have already invested in WPF, go for it, as your XAML skills will still be useful to develop Metro Style apps in Windows 8. If your investement is limited to Silverlight, you can still use it to develop out of browser desktop application. But if your developers have still not mastered WPF/Silverlight, better use Windows Forms to develop your next LOB application. This technology is already well matured, has enough controls for LOB scenarios and can use all latest .NET features like LINQ and MEF. It would be easy and faster for developers to build a Win Forms app than a WPF app if they are new to XAML. More over, your win Forms app will run on Windows 8, Windows 7/Vista and Windows XP.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Microsoft Surface 2.0: the multi-touch wonder

It was worth the wait and the game has completely changed with the release of Microsoft Surface 2.0, the latest version of Microsoft's multi-touch product.

Now Microsoft has a partner in Samsung who will help with the hardware. The old bulky Surface table is now replaced with a sleek LCD panel. The new product, named as "Samsung SUR40 for Microsoft Surface", is similar to a large LCD TV but with the multi-touch capability. People have already started calling it the world's biggest iPad.

It uses a new technology from Samsung, PixelSense, which gives LCD panels the power to see without the use of cameras.  The tiny infrared sensors wedged between pixels can sense touches, objects and tags.

Here are some specs of Surface 2.0 with the specs of Surface 1.0 in brackets:
  • Device Display: 40-inch LCD panel with Gorilla Glass (30-inch reflective surface with acrylic)
  • Resolution: 1920x1080, full HD 1080p, with a 16:9 aspect ratio (1024 x 768, no HD support)
  • Multi-touch technology: PixelSense (Projector and 5-cameras system)
  • Multi-touch capability: 50 simultaneous touches (52 simultaneous touches)
  • Device Form: 40-inch diagonal panel with 4-inch thickness (30-inch display in a table-like form factor, 22 inches high, 21 inches deep, and 42 inches wide)
  • Weight: 39.5 Kg (68 Kg)
  • Mounting: Horizontal and Vertical (Only Horizontal)
  • Processor: AMD Athlon™ II X2 Dual-Core Processor 2.9GHz paired with the AMD Radeon HD 6700M Series GPU featuring DirectX 11 support (Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.13 GHz)
  • RAM: 4 GB DDR3 (2 GB DDR2)
  • Hard Disk: 320 GB/7200 RPM (250GB SATA Hard Drive)
  • HDMI In / HDMI Out: Yes (No)
  • Operating System: Windows 7 Professional 64-bit (Windows Vista Professional 32-bit)
  • Development Platform: Surface 2.0 SDK / WPF 4.0 / .NET 4.0 (Surface 1.0 SP1 SDK  / WPF 3.5 / .NET 3.5)
  • Cost: $7,600 ($12,500) -- Approximate Values
I had enjoyed developing applications for Surface 1.0 and was always excited to explain about them to others ("You don't use a mouse or keyboard... you just drag things with your fingers like you see in Avatar!"). But it never took off as expected and was not seen in common use, mostly due to its bulky size. Now with Surface 2.0, I'm sure things will be a lot different.