Hey, You, Get Off of My Cloud

Hey, You, Get Off of My Cloud

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Microsoft is making several announcements at TechEd this week that developers should be sure to catch, like the introduction of our new Windows Phone Marketplace policies. We’re also providing more details about some developer features, one of which I think is worth exploring more closely; private beta distribution through Windows Phone Marketplace. This is noteworthy not only as a cool new Marketplace feature, but also as a prime example of Microsoft embracing the concept of the public and private cloud.

At MIX in March we talked about the Windows Phone Marketplace and the public distribution aspects of that infrastructure. We also stated our intent to deliver a system whereby developers will be able to distribute applications to beta testers prior to marketplace certification. This week we are able to talk about this capability in more detail.

The public model enables developers to market and distribute applications to all phone users globally or based on a particular geography.  In contrast the private model enables developers to use the same Marketplace service to distribute applications to a defined set of people that they select for beta-testing. Developers will identify their beta-testers and then upload their application to the developer portal. The Windows Phone application deployment system will then ensure that the application is available on the beta-tester’s phones via a “deep link” the tester will receive in email. We’ll be rolling this mechanism out as we finalize the developer portal this fall.

This private distribution for beta-testing represents an important first step for Windows Phone. Those of you who have heard me present on Windows Phone 7 know that I frequently speak of the importance that cloud services play in creating user experiences. Microsoft is a leading proponent of the “cloud” services that compliment local software, be that software on a server, desktop or phone. Cloud services are increasingly providing both public and private functions, whereby an organization can tap into a public service’s extensive storage, bandwidth and infrastructure for private projects. Windows Phone Marketplace is one such cloud service and our long term strategy is to adopt the public and private cloud model with Marketplace as well. Initially, we are enabling private distribution of applications for registered developers in a way that is optimized for beta-testers. This will enable developers to more easily distribute test applications in a secure way. We also appreciate that as phones come to market and people begin bringing them into corporate environments, IT will look for a similar private distribution solution. We are working with our corporate customers to understand the full scope of their distribution needs. We anticipate that our eventual corporate distribution solution will be an extension of the private cloud model we’re introducing for developers in Windows Phone Marketplace.

So we’re starting by implementing a feature to help developers test applications, but over time we’re going to build on this public and private cloud philosophy to make the Marketplace infrastructure accessible to corporate and business customers as well. This will create an even richer marketplace for the games and applications that already live there by attracting an even broader base of customers who will no doubt want more than line of business applications on their new Windows Phone 7.

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  • Speaking as a developer for a federal contractor there is no way that in-house developed apps would ever be deployed to our customer into a cloud that is available to the public Internet.

    Just the suggestion brings nothing but laughs and lots of eye-rolling.

    Sorry Microsoft but this isn't going to fly and your your biggest customer will continue to use the Blackberry.

  • 4win7
    1 Posts

    Wha about "private cloud philosophy ". Actually this policies of software distribution are not really open to business usage. If i buy a smarphone for my staff i would like to maximize investment using it for my company application. And business/custom application can't be distribuited from a public market place.

    We have to design now some future applications and after years of win mobile we have to chose android.

    And we are realy disappointed about this.  :-(

  • Adding to bobrhine comments, I also supporting the idea to have the unicode Fonts to be in place within first official release WP7. We launched our first Bilingual Route Sales System in Las Vegas at Comdex Fall 99 on Windows CE earler version O/S using add on unicode FONTs.  I am very suprise to see WP7 do not allow us to it similarly. Mobile Business Applications for Corporate do require an internal Set-up of programs and data instead of exclusively depends on third party like Mobile Makerplace. It seem MS is making WP7 for consumer only.  We have to hold back our plan to rewrite our Business Applications from C++ to C# for WP7 until MS address this issue.

  • I don't know where to post this, but I have a very important request here and I just wanted you guys to know that as of right now, it seems like there is a serious hole in WP development. What would that be? No support for different languages. Unicode support to be specific. Zune HD just added it but before the HD, all Zune's didn't support that and that kept so many people from buying the device. I'm American, but as with most people here, we all have different backgrounds. I need asian language support for my phone. I'll visit asian websites sometimes or listen to asian music or watch asian movies. I can't do that when WP doesn't recognize the characters (Chinese and Korean). All I get in the emulator are those squares. You can't seriously be considering releasing your mobile os without support for all these languages I hope... Android, WebOS, and iOS all support unicode fonts and work fine with pretty much every language out of the box. This is like a very very basic thing that it seems like you guys are overlooking here. You can't forget that everyone in America is pretty much an immigrant from somewhere. Most people are multilingual. I really hope you guys at least include the fonts... You don't need to include an IME so that you can type them, but at least include them so that we can view them. I won't buy a WP if I'm not able to browse my music collection or browse websites that I use everyday. It seems like such a no brainer feature and nobody really talks about it because they expect it, but it seems like you guys are seriously forgetting about this feature and that would make a whole lot of people angry and keep them from buying your phones. You already went through this with the Zune, but you guys fixed it... Please don't tell me you're going to do it again.

  • Fed44
    17 Posts

    Silvercrux because rolling out what iphone 3gs had won't get you anywhere. Sure Silverlight and XNA may be better dev tools than what iphone has but it won't easily make up for the millions of apps iPhone already has. They should allow you to reuse your old WM apps or even if it is just part of the code (since GUIs would not quite fit in with the new look, though I think that ridding of the old Win32 APIs is a crap idea). I also doubt that wince itself has lost those APIs so I really dont know what is going on here and im still waiting for a responce from a Microsoft representative....

  • I can see lot guys complaining here. Well I guess instead of whining what's not available, why don't people use what's available for now ? From what I see it's an epic opportunity.

    @Charlie, Is there a documentation that lists all the tech specs for the OS ? Like for e.g:  if ZIP, PDF etc formats are supported ? What formats are supported for images and videos etc ? Is H.264 encoding available for video streaming (to create mobile video websites) ?Networking support : Can we access TCP/IP or UDP etc ?

    It will be great if you guys can publish specs for the OS (what's supported out of the box). Final Question : When do we get access to developer phones to test our games against, is there a way we can submit an intent to sign up for developer phones (paid or subsidized). We are based in INDIA and planning 5-10 applications at launch ? Thanks.

  • Fed44
    17 Posts

    Ah yes one more thing why has there pretty much not been a single response concerning any of these issues from a microsoft representative? The most that we have gotten from them is a "this is a security feature". Thats not good enough, you say you listen to your audience, please respond!

  • If its as it sounds...  This is a pretty significant buzz kill.  As bad as the the previous versions of winmo were, atleast you could use it as a platform for internal corporate applications.  Now from a coprorate perspective, it really can't ever have anything internal or corporate proprietary.  And using the "has it been an issue for iPhone" ... yes .. while thre's a million and 1 iPhone apps it doesn't mean they're of any value (see the news.com article awhile back showing how people download apps but only use about 5 % of them, i.e. pandora), no one has built anything specific that helps make their own business better... winmo apparently used to to offer that.

    So basically winmo7 as it stands will not be able to do anything truly corporate proprietary, because basically I've gotta advertise to the world that I built an this internal (potentially competitive advantage)app to do XYZ ... and enterprises will want this device?

    Also, calling a spade a spade putting my app to sleep and then waking up is like calling a go-cart a high performance vehical because it has fancy wheels.

    With statements like "nothing in this world will suit 100% of everyone"... really ... this is the type of thinking that a 5 year old would use.  We're trying to see how make the advantages of winmo7 work for our own companies and this is the response?  Help us come up with a solution that we can use with our organizations instead of treating something that many people did with previous versions as a discounted use case.

    Has MS never had any internal apps they used on WinMo (I find this hard to believe, so obviously they saw the value at one point).

  • Fed44
    17 Posts

    Well I have to kind of agree with RBeaubien, I get the feeling microsoft is enforcing too many limits everywhere instead of just where it was necessary. Enforcing stuff like G-Sensors, proper graphics accelerators or fast processors is good but if you want to limit SD card usage or pc tethering let that be a hardware manufacturing companys decision (and or use GP's). Removing true multi-tasking and replacing it with pseudo-multi-tasking, not a good idea especially since the Win CE platform supports it! And if you think that the ARM architecture is not good enough just allow apps to either "register" to the OS as multi-tasking apps or sth. Also removing C++ is always a bad thing, although C# is very good at many things I think there are some areas where it is just better to use a native programming language. Also like I had mentioned before somewhere else I really think the marketplace should be an optional developer choice that is FREE for free apps and for commercial apps you can split the profit.

    One very interesting thing though, is how much Microsoft is copying apple. Limited multi-tasking, a very controlled marketplace (5 bucks there will be anti-trusts in this one), very similar marketplace prices (though iphone eventually became free for devs AFAIK but iPad has like the exact same pricing), no proper tethering/no SD cards etc. Will there actually also be huge contracts that were partially o so ridiculed?. Also, I do wonder how many patent infringements are being made here, lets not forget that apple was bragging about the x-thousand patents (you can't even read that many) they got while developing their phone, chances are there will be quite a few court cases...

  • Um

    1. I can't imagine how much Winforms code can be used in Silverlight (or XNA for that reason).  Especially if its in VB.

    2. Its a limitation that I have to be a registered developer on the Mobile Marketplace.  Siverlight is supposed to be deployed in browser.  Write once, use everywhere.  So much for that theory.

    3.  I'm sorry.  I write PRIVATE apps for customers that I don't want published for the whole world to have access to.  That is why iPhone will never see corporate support for a lot of things.

    4.  I can't write multitasking apps for WP7.  The OS may support it, but only for Microsoft's programs.  iOS4 developers can now write multitasking apps (albeit limited).

    5.  Didn't say an app couldn't send email, but an app can't look at incoming emails and do something in response to those emails.  Nor can it get a list of contacts, or incoming text messages.  If this is not true, then Microsoft has evangelists that are saying otherwise.

    6.  Goes back to #1.  I can certainly write in C#, but since I hate it, and EVERYTHING else I do is in VB, whats the point.

    7.  I can live with this one.

    We'll just have to agree to disagree.  I think WP7 is as much of a step backwards as it is a step forwards from what WM6.x is.

  • GTRoberts
    10 Posts

    @RBeaubien... you have a twisted view of the world there.

    1. Not true at all, a lot of previous code can be reused.

    2. SL OoB (& XNA) apps only,  this is true "for now" but MSFT has stated they are looking at this BUT have you seen the seriously amazing work people have been doing so far with this 'supposed' limitation?  As for no-side loading of apps, this is also true but again, whats the problem? Just publish your app via the Marketplace.

    3. Yes.. all public apps must be. This has not proved to be a problem for the iPhone has it?  Charlie refers to private app loading above.

    4. Incorrect. WP7 *does* have multitasking and its much the same as the iPhone method.

    5. Incorrect. Apps can use the various APIs to send emails, SMS, etc. Look at the dev documentation. Its there.

    6. Correct "for right now" but MSFT have also stated they are looking to add support for other languages in the near future. Of course, real dev's use C# ;-)

    7. Themes are supported by the OS and dev's can also make use of them in their own apps... but all handsets are meant to have a general 'look' that is consistent across form factors. Again, this "issue" has not stopped the iPhone from selling has it?

    Nothing in this world will ever be revolutionary... nothing in this world will suit 100% of everyone. Its a fact of life, accept it :-)

  • As a longtime Microsoft Developer, I have always used and developed softwar for Windows Mobile.  I spent an hour the other day watching a video of a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 evangelist touting the new "features" of developing for that platform. I came away with the following conclusions:

    1. All work I did for the previous WM platform is wasted.

    2. WP7 only supports Silverlight (out of browser only) and XNA apps. This means you can't publish an app on a website for someone to come by and download/run.

    3. ALL apps MUST be installed through the App Store (basically no business proprietary apps).

    4. NO multitasking support at all. Android support multitasking, iPhone just added multitasking. This thing isn't even released yet and is behind the curve on this point.

    5. Apps on the phone CANNOT interact with any other apps on the phone. This includes email, text messages, contacts. Basically I can't develop add on features for existing components that make things better.

    6. The only development language currently supported is C# (no VB support in V1).

    7. No theming or styling of the handsets allowed at all.

    I'm trying to figure out any positives from this information.  What am I missing?  I certainly doesn't sound like something I want to use nevermind develop anything for.  I can't even say the new interface is anything other than "different".  Certainly not anyting that I would consider revolutionary.