Inside Windows 8: Martyn Lovell and Elliot H Omiya - The Windows Runtime

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Windows 8 introduces an application programming model for building new kinds of user mode apps called Windows Store Apps. The name reflects the new way users discover, download, purchase, rate, and install applications on Windows 8: The Windows Store.

On Windows 8, underneath this new application model is the Windows Runtime (WinRT for short), which provides an API and ABI as well as services for these modern Windows applications. WinRT is a security sandbox and an advanced execution environment. It enables efficient interoperation among very different language "projections"—so, JavaScript, for example, can seamlessly interact with C++. 

What is WinRT, exactly? Why is it designed the way it is? What's the history of WinRT? What are the primary goals of this new technology? How did the Windows engineering team arrive at the design and implementation of this new Windows user mode development platform? These are the key questions addressed in this conversation with Windows Runtime engineering leaders Martyn Lovell and Elliot H Omiya (we call him EHO). Elliot and Martyn are two of the original WinRT architects. Watch as they tell us how it was conceived, how it works, and why COM is such a big part of the equation (it's not your grandmother's COM, mind you. WinRT is a very different COM than classic COM). 

Huge thanks to Martyn and EHO for this excellent conversation.

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    The Discussion

    • User profile image
      vesuvius

      It really does work the way they describe it, extraordinary!

    • User profile image
      tomkirbygre​en

      Ah, good stuff. I'd really like to see a good deal more drill downs into WinRT. 

    • User profile image
      Charles

      @dot_tom: You will Smiley The next in this series is a very deep conversation with whiteboarding covering the new app model. It's the next Going Deep episode.

      This one was a historical and architectural overview, introductory in nature. It also included some information that's most likely new to you.

      C

    • User profile image
      felix9
    • User profile image
      Charles

      @felix9: Such is timing.
      C

    • User profile image
      schroedl

      "For better or for worse, desktop apps are desktop apps." -- this quote makes me sad. It says to me that no investment has been made to improve the desktop developer's life. As a scientific data visualization tool, our app has MANY windows (and needs all of them). We would LOVE to do XAML UI in C++ with our desktop app. A Windows Store app makes no sense at all for our app. What do we desktop devs have to look forward to?  We use WPF now (from C++/CLI) but it's just too darn slow and uses .NET but only so that we can use WPF + XAML.

    • User profile image
      exoteric

      I would be disappointed if Windows 9 did not do something for the desktop now that the tablet UI is a done deal. But it's understandable that they couldn't overhaul the desktop as well in the same timeframe.

      Great video. Enjoyed it a lot. WRT is a really great story for developers.

    • User profile image
      dcuccia

      , schroedl wrote

      "For better or for worse, desktop apps are desktop apps." -- this quote makes me sad.

      I feel similarly. We have legacy dependencies which won't pass the restricted WinRT API. Here's hoping that we'll get language projections and native XAML for desktop use (or side-loaded enterprise apps which can be compiled with fewer restrictions).

    • User profile image
      luzi

      From what I'm seeing from Build, it seems they are catering to the HTML/js devs while abandoning the c# devs

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