Dissecting Windows

As we rush towards the release of Windows 8 later this week, the number of articles in the tech (and mainstream) press on Windows 8 is increasing. Most of them are instantly forgettable, but in amongst the pap and dross is an occasional gem.

One such article is Turning to the past to power Windows’ future: An in-depth look at WinRT, by Peter Bright.

As is stated in the title, this really is an in-depth look at the software design of Windows throughout its history, and culminating in its latest incarnation: WinRT. It is a very technical article, so you’ll need to have some understanding of software design and programming to make head or tail of it. But even without that, you should be able to get a sense that the history of Windows is not just about software technology, but also organisational politics, both within and outside of Microsoft. For me, it was a trip back through memory lane, taking in some landmarks of the past. It also gave me a better understanding of the future of Windows, and the revelation that WinRT is not a replacement for traditional Windows programming libraries, since it is itself built on the same (sometimes questionable) foundations.

Another excellent article from Peter Bright.

About Geoff Coupe

I'm a British citizen, although I have lived and worked in the Netherlands since 1983. I came here on a three year assignment, but fell in love with the country, and one Dutchman in particular, and so have stayed here ever since. On the 13th December 2006 I also became a Dutch citizen.
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2 Responses to Dissecting Windows

  1. Mark says:

    That was a great article – though I think he is ignoring the direction that Microsoft is going with WinRT.

    He states “Metro-style applications do not use WinRT exclusively. WinRT is very important, and I think that any reasonable Metro-style application will end up using WinRT, at least a little bit, but not exclusively.” yet Microsofts own documentation states that WinRT must ONLY be used if the app will be made available on the AppStore (which is the only way to get a Metro App) http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh694083.aspx

    • Geoff Coupe says:

      Perhaps, but I suspect that the party line will be pragmatically bent. I’m pretty sure that this is already the case… Let’s revisit this six months down the road and see what the reality is…

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