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Microsoft's preview of Windows 8 has developers 'horrified' - report

The prospect of writing software for "Windows 8" in HTML5 and JavaScript has reportedly "horrified" Microsoft's development community, which is anxiously awaiting more information.

The new developer program for Windows shown off by Microsoft earlier this month is based on HTML5 and JavaScript, giving applications for its next-generation operating system, currently referred to as "Windows 8," a new look and feel with its touch-friendly tile interface. That news has concerned developers who have become invested in Microsoft's existing development tools for Windows, according to Ars Technica.

Author Peter Bright noted that Windows developers have invested "a lot of time, effort and money into the platform," learning to program in Win32, COM, Visual Basic 6, .NET, Silverlight and WPF, just to name a few. But concern arose when Microsoft Vice President Julie Larson-Green said the new developer platform is "based on HTML5 and JavaScript."

"Hearing that Windows 8 would use HTML5 and JavaScript for its new immersive applications was, therefore, more than a little disturbing to Windows developers," Bright said. "Such a switch means discarding two decades of knowledge and expertise of Windows development — and countless hours spent learning Microsoft's latest-and-greatest technology — and perhaps just as importantly, it means discarding rich, capable frameworks and the powerful, enormously popular Visual Studio development environment, in favor of a far more primitive, rudimentary system with substantially inferior tools."

Microsoft's new development platform for Windows 8, built on HTML5 and JavaScript, is a frustrating change for some developers, who are concerned that the tools available for Windows 8 will be less powerful and full-featured than its predecessor.

The change has caused a "justified fear" among developers, in Bright's words, exacerbated by the fact that Microsoft has opted not to speak out on the controversy. Instead, Microsoft has promised to talk about its Windows 8 development platform at the company's "BUILD" event in September.

Windows 8

Mike Angiulo, corporate vice president at Microsoft, shows hardware partners "Windows 8" earlier this month.


"The developers that the company should be courting are being given good reason to doubt the future of the platform," Bright wrote. "And they're genuinely angry and worried by this. The prospect of being stuck with HTML5 and JavaScript for their development is encouraging them to jump ship."

Of course, come September Microsoft could reveal that it will offer a more powerful development platform for Windows 8, in addition to HTML5 and JavaScript. But The Redmond, Wash., software giant's silence has caused great consternation among the Windows development community.

Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer initially said that Windows 8 would arrive in 2012, though a company spokesman later retracted those comments as "a misstatement." The company also clarified that it has not officially revealed a name for the next-generation version of Windows, set to become available in the company's coming fiscal year.

While Microsoft is staying mum on its next-generation platform, Apple is set to launch Mac OS X 10.7 Lion in July. The next-generation Mac platform will be available only in the Mac App Store for $29.99, and will pack more than 250 new features — many of them inspired by the iOS interface found on the iPad.