Yesterday Windows 7 completed a major milestone--release to manufacturing (RTM)! And in three months time – on October 22nd – Windows 7 will be available for everyone to enjoy. Excitement about the upcoming public release of Windows 7 has been growing for months and expectations are for a much quicker adoption rate than what we saw with the previous Windows version.
As we approach October 22nd you need to ask yourself: Is your application ready for Windows 7? What will happen when end users install your application on Windows 7? Will your application run? Will your application behave like a Windows 7 first class citizen? Will users see any difference when running applications on Windows 7 versus Windows Vista or XP? October 22nd is just around the corner and we are here to help you answer, “YES!” to these questions and be able to state with confidence that, “Absolutely, my application rocks on Windows 7.” We want to help your users get the best possible Windows 7 experience from your application starting on Day 1.
All this sounds great, but what steps do you need to take in order to be able to say: “Yes my application is a first-class Windows citizen”? Is there a check list? You bet!
You need to do three things to ensure a smooth transition:
Make sure your application is Windows 7 compatible
Before considering using any new Windows 7 features, make sure your application is compatible with Windows 7. There is no escape from this; it is essential that you make sure that your application runs well on Windows 7. There is nothing worse for an end user than to be excited about the new Windows 7 operating system just to discover that a favorite application doesn’t perform properly. A bad user experience hurts everyone--which is why you have to make sure your application installs and runs on all Windows 7 versions (including E - Windows 7 E Best Practices for ISVs) and supports both 32- and 64-bit versions.
If your application is compatible with Windows Vista you are in a good shape! We expect most applications that run on Windows Vista to run on Windows 7. Obviously, you can’t take this for granted and must check (and double check) that your application truly is compatible with Windows 7. There are a few differences between Windows Vista and Windows 7 that can affect specific application functions, so if you haven’t checked the Windows 7 Quality Cookbook lately, we highly recommend that you do so.
If your application was designed for Windows XP (or earlier Windows versions), and you haven't confirmed its compatibility with Windows Vista, there are a few areas (for example, UAC), that you should especially note. It is important to keep in mind that there is no one silver bullet for application compatibility issues. Each application comes with its own set of issues that are dependent on specific implementation details. The Windows Vista Application Compatibility Cookbook is still very relevant for Windows 7, as 99% of its topics apply to Windows 7. With that said, a few topics rise above the others. The following seven areas represent about a large number of the reported application compatibility problems.
In the following weeks, we will address in detail each of the above topics to help you get ready for Windows 7.
Optimize your application experience and performance for Windows 7
After verifying that your application can install and run on Windows 7 without any problems, it is time to step up and optimize your application’s user experiences and performance while running on Windows 7. Do this by taking advantage of the great new features offered with Windows 7. These include new user interface innovations like the Taskbar and Libraries, to more fundamental features like Trigger Start Services or the new Troubleshooting platform. By optimizing your application for Windows 7, you can make sure that your end user's experiences when running your application on Windows 7 surpasses their expectations. Users will expect applications to work properly with the Taskbar (just one example); but if your application is not optimized for the new Windows 7 Taskbar experience, end users might just notice that.
When you're ready to optimize your application for Windows 7, you might consider using one or more of the following features:
Provide new and exciting user experiences with Windows 7
Once your application has passed the first two steps, you can really differentiate your it by creating new and exciting user experiences. Windows 7 enables developers to create distinctive and intuitive applications that significantly enhance discoverability, usability, and sheer enjoyment. New methods of desktop integration put application functionality right at the user’s fingertips. New Touch APIs enable natural interactions through multitouch and finger-panning gestures. Rapid advances in hardware and software technology are also driving higher-fidelity user experiences. Windows 7 brings these advances under developer control with new and flexible APIs that take full advantage of the technology, while making it even easier to develop compelling applications.
Windows 7 includes many new features that can make your application shine, raising it above the competition. When you think about creating new and exciting user experiences, consider using one or more of the following features:
And for developers Windows 7 adds new high-level APIs that make it much simpler to write media applications.
I hope this post give you enough to start work with, making sure your application rocks on Windows 7!
Interesting article and nice blog you have too!