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Windows 7 comes with ribbon for developers



David Worthington
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October 22, 2009 —  With Windows 7's launch, Microsoft has introduced new interface technologies that will be a boon to developers, and the early indications are that the OS could prove popular with customers, analysts say.

Windows 7 introduces interface elements that change the look and feel of Windows applications, how users multi-task and access applications and files, and introduce multi-touch capabilities.

Developers may now style their applications with Microsoft's "ribbon" user interface; native Windows applications are styled with it.

The Windows 7 taskbar allows users to more easily switch among applications and documents. In addition, applications may be pinned to the taskbar, and Windows indicates when they have been loaded.

Developers will also be able to expose application features through the taskbar using "jump lists.” Jump lists are shortcuts to application destinations, including folders and media playlists. The lists also execute tasks, such as setting messenger presences.

"From my perspective, there are two things developers should keep in mind," said Michael Cherry, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft. "First, they may want to check their applications to ensure that they take advantage of changes to Windows 7, including the task bar and jump lists. Second, Windows 7 supports multi-touch, and again developers will want to think about how their applications can benefit by supporting touch."

Other aspects of Windows 7 that will benefit developers are its smaller footprint, faster boot times and system shutdown, and the ability to run virtualized instances of Windows XP for application compatibility, said Information Technology Intelligence Corporation (ITIC) principal analyst Laura DiDio. "If Windows 7 is a winner, they'll sell more applications."

The indications are that it will be, according to a Web survey conducted by ITIC and anti-virus software maker Sunbelt Software. The survey used a convenience sample of 1,650 companies in 29 countries, DiDio said.

Sixty percent of respondents indicated that their organization intended to deploy Windows 7. Of those, 30% said that they would upgrade within the first six months of its availability. The survey results were published on Monday.

Moreover, 80% of respondents rated Windows 7's performance and reliability as excellent or good. Ninety percent said that application compatibility was acceptable.

A plurality of respondents that had no immediate timetable to upgrade said that Windows XP and Windows Vista were sufficient for their organization, that they did not believe that there was a compelling business case to upgrade, or that they were holding off until a Service Pack ships, DiDio added.

"Microsoft needed to pull out a win. Their backs were against the wall, and they could not afford a Vista repeat," she said. "Customers are saying that this is what Vista should have been, and there is pent-up demand for Windows 7. Only 10% of the installed base installed Vista."




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