Team Foundation Server on Windows Azure Preview!

Brian Harry just announced on his blog that a preview is available for TFS on Azure.  If you’d like to get in, I can hand out 5 accounts to this service.  Soooo, as a reward to my readers, the first 5 people to comment on this post will get an account from me.



Windows 8: My initial reaction

At the Build conference today, Steven Sinofosky unveiled a “developer preview” of Windows 8.  The GUI, dubbed “Metro”, reminds a lot of Windows Phone 7.  Lots of “tiles” that are just like Apple’s “apps”, but with information on the icons.  A nice twist and a real marketing edge to say “We are not copying Apple, again!” :).

Now, since it is a “developer preview”, here are my thoughts as a developer.  Apparently, they’ve taken the Win32 API’s, .Net CLR, and other OS API’s and unified them into one layer called the “Windows Runtime API’s” or WinRT for short.  The real change is allowing JavaScript to call into this Win RT.  This effectively means that JavaScript is now on a level playing field with C#, C++, and other major languages for producing Windows apps (in terms of features).  I suspect C and C++ will always have a performance edge (given that is what the Win kernel is written in).  But still, this is a MAJOR development.

Exalting JavaScript to this position I think is good overall, but not without possible negatives.  These are:

  • JavaScript-only developers tend to be hobbyists turned developers and have not learned all the intricacies of real software engineering (should get a few comments on that one)
  • JavaScript is not strongly typed (but neither are some dynamic .net languages)

The positives far outweigh the negatives though:

  • Microsoft is finally following standards!!!!  And W3C standards to boot!! (You can also use CSS and HTML 5)
  • Web apps will have a level playing field with native apps!
  • So many developers know JavaScript, so the market for getting developers just got a lot bigger!

Soooo, in all a very good audition.  And as this article points out, this is the way Microsoft has always operated.  They steal, copy, and conquer!