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How Much Change in Windows 8 Can We Expect By Release?

    General discussion

  • We've seen the Windows 8 Developer Preview, and whatever folks may think of the bold, new directions the UI is taking, it's pretty stable. Remarkably stable and compatible with Windows 7 apps.

     

    The implications of this are that it's being developed as an evolution from its predecessor, and that Microsoft is being pretty darned conservative about not rearranging things under the hood. That's justifiable - Windows 7 is pretty good in many ways.

     

    BUT, unfortunately there are a few problems still hanging around that have been in prior version(s) that might actually warrant some of that redesign.

     

    For example, Windows Search is still not a true search at all (it's easy to show that it still misses content). Explorer has some basic problems with with things jumping out from under your mouse cursor and getting things wrong after moving folders around. Etc.

     

    Microsoft has given us all an unprecedented view of what's coming down the pike by allowing us to install the Windows 8 Developer Preview, and while part of that is so that developers can code new App Store apps, but we'd all like to think that some of the feedback provided by we users is being used to make it even better.

     

    So, the 64 dollar question is this:

    Is it a done deal?

     

    Will the release just be a rebuild of all the stuff we've gotten via Windows 8 Update?

     

    Even considering that cranking out a major release requires a lengthy process of testing and preparation, should we give up on seeing substantive operational improvements by release time?

     

    I have my opinions about how I'll feel if the answer were to turn out to be "yes", but I'll hold onto those for now. I'm curious to hear from others.

     

    -Noel


    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 9:27 PM

All replies

  • Well, keep in mind that the Dev Preview doesn't include any real Metro apps besides IE10.  I would expect/hope the beta will include all the Metro apps Microsoft plans on shipping with Win8.

    CES is coming up in a couple weeks.  I expect there will be another round of announcements followed by a beta in late Febuary.


    • Edited by I-DotNET Tuesday, December 20, 2011 10:23 PM Clarify.
    Tuesday, December 20, 2011 10:10 PM
  • I would also expect the beta to have snap working.  Hopefully, we'll also find out what the story is about multitasking.  We still don't know if Win8 Metro will allow you to listen to music in the background:

    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/windowsdeveloperpreviewgeneral/thread/b4bbd63f-b4e0-4be9-974f-cd969fefaec1

    It's been 3 months and not one single person from Microsoft can answer a simple question. 

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 1:38 PM
  • I guess it's pretty clear Microsoft, by policy, isn't going to give us info about their upcoming tactics with Windows 8.

    We can look at past experience...

    In past releases - notably the Windows 7 beta - do you recall anything substantial being changed between what we saw early and what we paid for?

    The only eye-opening thing I remember was that they made the 32 bit Explorer impossible to run on an x64 Windows system right at the time of release.  I thought that must be because some major problem was discovered during system validation testing.  Interestingly, as it turned out, it caused a whole bunch of people who make Shell Extension products to suddenly embrace 64 bit computing, so (outside of a short period) it actually turned out to be a good thing.  But outside of this last minute removal of functionality, was anything else fixed?

    -Noel

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 3:09 PM
  • In past releases - notably the Windows 7 beta - do you recall anything substantial being changed between what we saw early and what we paid for?


    The beta versions are usually near feature complete, with changes being relatively minor. In the longer history of Windows though, pre-beta version have often varied considerably from the final release. The development process changes following the Longhorn/Vista debacle, which are geared around keeping non-finalised code out of the main trunk have probably also meant that a lot of in-development code has been kept out till it's stable if not fundamental to the development of Metro applications.

    In short, I'm not going to worry too much about it just yet.

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 4:55 PM
  • The Win7 PDC version (Build 6801) was also mostly finished (only the new superbar was not finished) so don't expect any huge change for Beta/Final.


    "A programmer is just a tool which converts caffeine into code"

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 10:58 PM
  • In past releases - notably the Windows 7 beta - do you recall anything substantial being changed between what we saw early and what we paid for?


    All I can recall is a sense of deliberately being worn down trying to report usability defects and getting CLOSED WAD and lame explanations which implied that we didn't understand the functionality.   SOP.  All of the really irritating things about WE/WS are still there IMO and I expect they still will be.   I still haven't found and mastered sufficient workarounds to stop myself from getting viscerally inflamed by many of the deficiencies.  Not healthy.  I keep imagining that coroners may come up with a new COD which reports "severe overreaction to a Microsoft UI".   <eg>

     

    ---

    Wednesday, December 21, 2011 11:46 PM
  • Perhaps what we see will be substantially what we will get.  I have to admit to being more excited with past versions than this one, but I suppose it's not really all that bad.

     

    Given a system as ubiquitous as Windows we can certainly expect a number of 3rd party tools and add-ons from all the bright developers in the world that we will be able to use to make it better.  Goodness knows I've certainly employed a few of them in Windows 7 - to great benefit - so it's likely Windows 8 won't leave serious users completely out in the cold while it's off catering to the masses and their toys.  Heck, a lot of the tools for Windows 7 work on Windows 8 already.  It's just disappointing that many of the bugs are still in there.

     

    -Noel

     

    Thursday, December 22, 2011 1:04 AM