Introducing Project HILO

Introducing Project HILO

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Hi, I’m Aseem Datar.

Let me introduce myself: I’m a member of the Windows Product Management team and have been at Microsoft for over 7 years and held various positions in Windows. For the last two and a half years, I have been focused on making sure that Windows developers have access to all the tools and resources they need to build great software. Starting today, I’m regularly going to be talking about everything related to the vast world of creating amazing software and development on Windows.

Today, we are announcing project “Hilo”

It’s important for an application to be functional and provide unique services for customers. However, mere functionality is not enough in a competitive market. To stand head and shoulders above the vast pool of apps, an application has  to offer a compelling user experience, which is where the features of Windows 7 become very important.

“Hilo” is a series of articles and sample applications that show how you can leverage the power of Windows 7, Visual Studio 2010, and Visual C++ to build high performing, responsive and rich applications.

The first of these sample applications is the Hilo Browser that implements a touch-enabled user interface for browsing and selecting photos and images by taking full advantage of unique Windows 7 features. The main technologies used in the Hilo Browser: Direct2D, Windows Animation Manager, Windows Touch, Libraries and the Shell API.

  • Direct2D: For high performance and high-quality rendering of graphics.
  • Windows Animation Manager: To give the application a unique personality and to improve the user experience.
  • Windows Touch: To provide a more natural user interface through which the user can just “point” and “do”.
  • Libraries: To enable the application to provide users with a single, coherent view of their files.
  • Shell API: To navigate the images, to optimize by using the pre-built thumbnail cache and also to provide icons from actual content.

Over the coming weeks, we’ll be publishing a series of articles on MSDN that will walk you through the process of creating this app. The articles will cover key Windows 7 technologies, describe how they are used together to create a compelling user experience, and will detail the design and implementation of the different features of the app itself. You can read the first of the articles here.

You can download the source code for this application here.

If you have questions or comments about the sample code, the usage of technologies or anything in general, please feel free to let us know through the discussion page here. If you wish to know about other Windows technologies for native developers, let us know as well.

You can also follow Hilo updates on Twitter @projecthilo.

We’ll soon be publishing the next article in the series, which will describe in detail how to prepare your development environment for Windows development. Stay tuned for more updates soon!

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  • But wont we get the same problem in the GPU as in the CPU when all applications start using the GPU ? ( contention, GPU gets overloaded, which means delays, etc... )

    So in other words we are just moving the problem.

  • Yes, using DirectX and Direct2D, systems equipped with GPUs that support DirectX will use GPU accelerated graphics rendering.  For systems that are not equipped with a supported GPU will fall back to GDI graphics rendering.  And no  special code is needed to to handle this, it is handled for you by DirectX. Enjoy!

  • About the 2D acceleration. You mean like rendering the application with GPU acceleration? I sure hope so! So with this we could finally stop using CPU accelerated GDI?