PDC 2008 Day 2: I'm a PC

Ray Ozzie opened PDC day 2 with a second keynote presentation -- today it's all about the PC, Windows and how much the Desktop has changed daily work and life.  Ozzie's speech was really about the ubiquity of personal computing, and how Microsoft will continue it's commitment to delivering the best software platform for computers, TVs, mobile devices and the web.

Ozzie took time to re-affirm the mission of the PC:

  1. Full and high-performance access to displays and peripherals
  2. Natural UI and common controls for ink, voice/audio, camera, touch...
  3. Local data privacy, portability reliable/fast/full access
  4. Use & recombine applications, data, documents media as needed
  5. A "personal" environment, trusted and assumed to be under your control

Where was all this banter going?  3 simple places: Windows 7, Live Services (super cool stuff) and new super-cool Web tech.

About Windows 7
There are 20 sessions on Windows 7 at PDC, starting today.  Steven Sinofsky started the Windows 7 product tour with a real simple agenda::

1. Introducing the Windows 7 client
2. Software + Services
3. Transition from Windows Vista
4. API's
5. Fundamentals
6. Path to RTM
7. Call to Action

In this agenda there was a whole bunch of cool feature demonstrations in the Windows 7 client OS.  Here's what I walked away with.

New Taskbar - Start Menu, Quick Launch and Taskbar have been combined creating a simpler user experience for application users

Window Management - Windows can now be managed from inside the taskbar, even providing MRU access from the task list.  Also, new snap-to-window capabilities are added to the desktop allowing a dock like behavior on the desktop.  Users with multiple displays should love this feature!

Move applications in the taskbar- Finally, you can re-arrange the order applications display in the Taskbar!

Libraries - Libraries bring the capability of search folders to the Desktop.  An index is automatically created for each library a user creates on their computer.

Home Networking - Home Group simplifies home networking through easy-to-install and configure mesh networks.  This new workgroup model is designed from the ground up for secure, reliable home networking.

Media Libraries - Libraries are now created and automatically sychronized with Windows Media player between Media Center PC's, portable devices and home PC's through a simple and consistent interface integrated into Windows 7.

Device Stage - Integrates media, sync, file management, documentation and more for a device into one simple interface.

Gadgets - are no longer confined to the gadget bar, they can exist anywhere on the desktop. 

Desktop personalization - Over 95% of Windows users customize their desktop.  New personalization options allow preview of desktop theme changes, advanced theme management and an increased ability to package and share themes.

System Tray - New enhancements allow users to change and customize tray notifications, which tray icons appear and which are hidden. 

Action Center - Queues messages and notifications until a user is ready to address security, performance and more.

New work in Touch, Ink and Speech - New support for multi-touch, new user experience options for touch and ink devices, more space between items making touch access easier.  The cool stuff?  Mouse commands are automatically re-powered with touch, such as scrolling a document by dragging your finger, without having to change application mode.  Also, API's are offered to make enhanced touch access even easier.

Ribbon Support - Many Windows internal applications (such as Paint) have been re-imagined and re-worked with Ribbon support.

Granular control over UAC -  Finally, you can adjust the level of annoying-ness for the User Access Control feature.  You can even turn it off and let Windows know not to nag the crap out of you all the time about it.

Performance from the ground up - Big, big changes in the memory and IO footprint of Windows.  Windows 7 was demonstrated on a 1 Ghz Netbook with 1GB RAM and it ran very smoothly with over 500mb of system memory available.  Big effort was made to make sure the start menu, tray and application context menus perform with higher reliability.

What's there for developers?
For software developers, new API support has been added for:

  1. Ribbon User Interface - Now part of the Windows core OS.
  2. Jump Lists
  3. Libraries
  4. Multi-touch, Ink and Speech
  5. DirectX - DirectX has now been extended to 2D, animation and enhanced text.  Basically, it's the modern version of GDI.

I'll be getting pre-beta bits here at PDC and will post screenshots of Windows 7 features in an upcoming post.

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I'm your host, Brandon Kelly.  I'd like to thank you for taking the time to read some of my thoughts on software develoment, the technology industry and the Florida developer community.

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