The event was an instant hit – sold out in less than an hour after the registration was open. Fortunately, I was able to secure a seat thru our Microsoft partner manager and the trip was definitely worth every penny spent. Build was a 4-day event with keynotes on Day 1 and Day 2 as well as a total of 163 sessions covering a wide range of topics. Contrary to last year’s Build event, this year’s Build event focused solely on the application developers. The majority of the sessions focused on the new WinRT framework and there was only one desktop app specific session. It is very clear from the Build event that Microsoft is moving toward this new WinRT application framework, at least on the client devices.
There are a number of benefits when you attend an event like Build in person. You can ask your own questions at the end of sessions, see the demo booths, relax in the social hours, and play with the new developer giveaways. However, the biggest benefit of all is the chance to stay after the official session hour to ask additional questions. Even if you don’t have anything specific to ask, you learn a great deal just by listening to the Q&A and discussions between the speaker and other attendees. There is always a lively discussion around the speaker and you could always learn something new -- interesting user scenarios, real problems in app development, experience sharing, deeper analysis and sometimes even a glimpse into potential trend.
I stayed afterward for quite a few sessions. Many developers asked questions specific to the Windows RT platform and apps deployment methods since their companies have plan for Windows RT devices. For me, this was the best part of attending Build. Even if you did not have the chance to attend the event, you can still access all of presentations and session recordings from Channel 9.
Obviously, there were other highlights of the Build event and the Surface RT was absolutely one of them. With thousand of developers crowded under a big tent cheering around you upon Ballmer’s announcement of Surface RT give-away, that was a lasting impression.
The Surface RT device itself is also an instant hit for me. Surface RT uses NVIDIA Tegra T30 processor, a popular choice among many mainstream tablets. It is thin and light. The UI is fast, fluid and refreshing. It has 5 killer apps pre-integrated: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Skype and Mail plus the access to the new Microsoft App Store. The best part is that it has no fan!!! You use it for a few hours and it is still as quite as if you just turn it on. For a business traveler like me, this is the ideal tablet I have been waiting for. It allows me to access all of the Word/Powerpoint documents I have -- a feature that has been somewhat limiting on other tablets. I also like the full-screen video conferencing of the Skype app and the switch tab feature on the mail application is also one of my favorites. For the remainder of the Build event, I left my business laptop at the hotel and only carried the Surface RT device with me. It was instant-on whenever I need it and my backpack was a few pounds lighter. The amazing part was that Surface last for days just like all of the other ARM-based tablets. In comparison, I will be lucky if I can get thru half-day on my x86 notebook.
I talked to some of the developers at Build and all of them told me that developing for the ARM platform is just as easy as that for x86/x64 platforms. You still use the same Visual Studio 2012 tool and use the same set of WinRT APIs to develop your programs. There may be some minor differences when you develop native applications (e.g. C/C++ or Assembly/NEON), and you will need access to a Windows RT device for testing & debugging. Otherwise, there are really not many differences in developing Windows Store App on x86/x64 or ARM platforms – a thumb up to the Microsoft Visual Studio team.
The app selection on the Windows App Store is still quite small compared to iOS and Android platforms. Some people have viewed this as a short term limitation on the Windows RT platform. On the other hand, it also represents a fantastic opportunity for application developers given the large Windows install base. You are at the beginning of an ecosystem build-up and your app will get much better visibility to your target users instead being buried in a sea of similar apps. By distributing your apps thru the Microsoft App Store, you gain instant access to 200+ markets worldwide. You also don’t have to worry about distribution, update and payment. The Microsoft App Store takes care of all these for you. Microsoft is also quite flexible with the business models and you can find all the details on MSDN.
The new Windows 8 Style UI also gives you a good opportunity to revisit your application design and see how it can take advantage of the new usage model. While we still enjoy the desktop experience for some of our productivity applications, we are moving to a world where mobile computing and touch interface are becoming the norm. Windows RT is the new generation of mobile devices and you certainly will not want to miss this opportunity. So, if you are an application developer, don’t wait. Let’s start building some apps.
Alan Chuang, Client Computing Engineering Specialist, ARM, has many years of software development experiences in networking, communication, embedded system and web technology. He is fascinated with networking and how various network technologies has transformed our life. The web technology is simply a prime example of that. His current work within ARM focuses mostly on client-computing software ecosystem including Linux, Android and lately Windows RT. With mobile computing becoming the norm for the foreseeable future, he certainly wants to be part of the action for this next stage of network evolution.
0 Comments On This Entry
Please log in above to add a comment or register for an account
Search My Blog
on May 08 2013 06:15 PM
New Platform Bring-Up with ARM® Development Studio 5 (DS-5™)
on Apr 30 2013 09:55 AM
如何利用全志安卓4.0 HDMI Dongle进行ARM DS-5 Streamline性能分析
on Apr 26 2013 10:50 AM
DS-5 Streamline Performance Analyzer on Allwinner Android 4.0 HDMI Dongle
on Apr 25 2013 04:58 PM
Spotlight on the Linux Software Ecosystem - openSUSE
on Apr 22 2013 08:10 PM