by Jake Gavin
At last year's Build conference, Microsoft unveiled WinRT, the new API for Windows, with the developer preview of its new Windows 8 operating system. If you were wondering, the RT stands for runtime and Microsoft believes that the new application programming interfaces represent an evolutionary step forward for Windows. It looks the company intends for it to replace the now-venerable Win32 APIs, which are now nearly two decades old. The Metro style development framework is founded upon Windows Runtime library and while it includes support for classic style custom software development, it seems likely that this solution and Metro are the future of Windows applications.
Application development corporations who have historically worked with .NET and the Win32 application programming interface will be cheered to find out that while there will be some changes in their future, WinRT won't present all that steep of a learning process. Some .NET classes may also be found in it, albeit possibly in different namespaces or with other small differences, though they're available. Custom application engineering professionals who are capable in Windows development should find working with it to be easy - which is precisely what Microsoft intended to be for developers.
Nonetheless there are some changes in it which are more conspicuous. As an example, in WinRT, an API which is anticipated to be running for longer than a couple of milliseconds will be asynchronous. This is a change which developers will instantly notice, given it is a major change in the way that things have historically been done in Windows application development. At the very same time, this change should not cause unwarranted concern to program development corporations, since it's new language level await/asynch keywords make the transition to this new model relatively smooth. In the final analysis, it presents developers with a new API which is quite like the older Win32 API, though one which is definitely not identical.
A consumer preview of Windows 8 using this soltion is lined up for a release in late February 2012. Until then, anyone who claims to know precisely what WinRT, Windows 8 or any new development tools related to the new API and OS will be all about potentially doesn't, unless they happen to work at Microsoft.
Custom software development professionals will shortly see the new runtime for themselves, but one thing is absolutely certain and this is that it's the next step forward for Windows application development.
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