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Does Microsoft plan to continue supporting Win32 APIs after Windows 8 is released (desktop applications)

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  • User profile image
    IDWMaster

    I've noticed that all "Windows-8 style" applications have been switched over to the WinRT API set. This is concerning, because it perhaps indicates a "transitional" period for Windows in which Microsoft urges developers to start switching from Win32 to WinRT/"windows 8 interface (or whatever you call Metro now). The main thing I'm concerned about, is that certain features which I've previously enjoyed on the Windows platform may be made unavailable to developers using Visual Studio 2012, particularly dynamic code generation and execution. I work on a number of compilers, and programs which need to use compilers internally inside their processes, and the lack of a VirtualProtect or LoadLibrary function makes this impossible to do at runtime. I understand this is for security reasons, however, I'm also concerned that "desktop" profiles may no longer be supported in developer tools, making Windows no longer a viable platform for many applications. "Windows 8 style" libraries simply don't cut it for everyone. I'm sorry if this post offends anyone at Microsoft or elsewhere, but it would be really nice to have an answer to this question.

  • User profile image
    PaoloM

    This should go in the "Whining about Windows 8" thread...

  • User profile image
    PeterDouglas

    @IDWMaster: Don't forget, anything written in WinRT MUST be installed from Microsoft Marketplace. Chew on that candy for a while! You no longer are ALLOWED to give YOUR application to whoever you like WITHOUT PERMISSION from Microsoft.

    The bigger question is not about Win APIs, the question is, is your PC YOURS anymore?

    Of course, anything else rather than praises and flowers will be bashed here by the 10-15 regulars hanging in here. Don't expect much from them. Their bags are all empty.

  • User profile image
    IDWMaster

    , PeterDouglas wrote

    @IDWMaster: Don't forget, anything written in WinRT MUST be installed from Microsoft Marketplace. Chew on that candy for a while! You no longer are ALLOWED to give YOUR application to whoever you like WITHOUT PERMISSION from Microsoft.

    The bigger question is not about Win APIs, the question is, is your PC YOURS anymore?

    Of course, anything else rather than praises and flowers will be bashed here by the 10-15 regulars hanging in here. Don't expect much from them. Their bags are all empty.

    I would like to point out that this is not true. Applications may also be distributed within Enterprise businesses through Windows Server, and Microsoft announced other alternative means of distribution as well, but haven't provided any details on them yet.I would also like to point out that I have no problem with this app model as long as "desktop applications" are still supported, and is not considered a "legacy" feature that will be dropped in the next version of Windows.

    Bottom line: THE DESKTOP SHOULD NOT be a legacy feature.

  • User profile image
    cheong

    , IDWMaster wrote

    ... Applications may also be distributed within Enterprise businesses through Windows Server...

    Just want to point out that is what make ordinary people nervious. Home use computer don't join domains and usually not linked with any Windows server. Unless Microsoft announce what that other means is, this FUD(?) is expected to continue.

    Btw, I don't think Microsoft will drop Win32 on Win8 because Microsoft announced they'll support VB6 application throughout the lifetime of Win8. So for now it'd still be non-issue.

    Recent Achievement unlocked: Code Avenger Tier 4/6: You see dead program. A lot!
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  • User profile image
    ZippyV

    @IDWMaster: In Windows 8 the desktop is certainly not a legacy feature and I assume it will stay that way for a long time in future versions. WinRT can not run every type of application that can run on the desktop so there will always be another 'environment' that allows more freedom.

    The thing is: Windows 8 has some very experimental decisions like the start screen and removing the start button and I'm sure that Microsoft will change some things based on feedback from companies and the general public. At the moment it's to early to tell what Microsoft is going to do.

    However now that Microsoft is using Windows 8 for phones and tablets they will have to do more releases in a shorter timeframe to stay up-to-date with the competition.

  • User profile image
    ZippyV
  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    From what I've heard coming from Microsoft:

    * WinRT is Metro-only, and will always be Metro-only by design.

    * Metro is required to use the AppStore

    * The commercial lock-in exists only for stuff from the AppStore, because the AppStore is owned by Microsoft.

    * WindowsRT (i.e. the ARM tablet) is locked-in to Microsoft, in order to subsidize the hardware cost of tablets.

    Everything else (i.e. the Desktop on Windows8 real machines, not ARM tablets) is yours, and you're free to do with it as you please. It'll still be there for the foreseeable future, just not on tablets.

     

    It's also worth reminding people that WinRT is built on Win32. So the whole concept that Win32 is being deprecated is flawed from the outset. If Win32 vanished, so would WinRT.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    @evildictaitor:

    While I don't disagree with anything you said I have to wonder what's next for the desktop if WinRT stays Metro only and further development of WPF/SL has been curtailed. With Lightswitch moving towards HTML5 I have to wonder if that's Microsoft's answer for the future of the desktop. I certainly hope that's not the only answer.

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , DeathBy​VisualStudio wrote

    @evildictaitor:

    ... I have to wonder what's next for the desktop ...

    The vast majority of desktop apps have always been Win32 or a wrapper for Win32 like .NET and MFC. That isn't going to change.

    Silverlight is also a bit of a red-herring on the desktop - it was never really a desktop feature - hardly any developers used it outside of the web.

    Stating things like "if WinRT stays Metro only" misses the point - WinRT is Metro. It doesn't make sense to push WinRT to the desktop because most of the API calls in WinRT only make sense in the context of Metro, and most of the ones that can't can be achieved using Win32 equivalents.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    Bits of WinRT are already available to desktop applications and it was called out repeatedly during BUILD that, where it makes sense, the aim was to make APIs that were consumable from any kind of Windows application.

    Long term it certainly does make more sense to make WinRT more available to desktop applications. Not only because having access to things like contracts could be incredibly useful for desktop applications, but also because the WinRT projection model makes consuming new functionality from differing programing environments much, much easier.

  • User profile image
    contextfree`

    there's some confusion here in that win32 and winrt are sometimes used to refer to the API style, the APIs themselves, the app model, the UI, ...

    If we're talking about the API styles, there are win32 APIs in "metro" (a lot actually) and winrt APIs in desktop. There's really nothing about the winrt API style that's geared to a specific environment - no reason any substantial new frameworks windows does decide to make for desktop (or phone, Xbox, ...) couldnt be winrt.

  • User profile image
    Charles

    These threads are getting really boring... I really wish folks would ignore the nonsense and instead start talking about more useful (and realistic....) things.

    We can do much better than this, Niners. It's embarrassing.

    C

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