Windows 8 - Reading between the lines

A listing of the different teams working on Windows 8 gives us clues as to what we might see in the final OS.

Microsoft's president of the Windows Division, Steven Sinofsky has started talking about Windows 8 on the new Building Windows 8 blog, and already we're learning stuff about the upcoming operating system.

In a post called 'Introducing the team' Sinofsky outlines the teams responsible for the development of Windows 8 ... and it's an interesting list:

  • App Compatibility and Device Compatibility
  • App Store
  • Applications and Media Experience
  • App Experience
  • Core Experience Evolved
  • Device Connectivity
  • Devices & Networking Experience
  • Ecosystem Fundamentals
  • Engineer Desktop
  • Engineering System
  • Enterprise Networking
  • Global Experience
  • Graphics Platform
  • Hardware Developer Experience
  • Human Interaction Platform
  • Hyper-V
  • In Control of Your PC
  • Kernel Platform
  • Licensing and Deployment
  • Media Platform
  • Networking Core
  • Performance
  • Presentation and Composition
  • Reliability, Security, and Privacy
  • Runtime Experience
  • Search, View, and Command
  • Security & Identity
  • Storage & Files Systems
  • Sustained Engineering
  • Telemetry
  • User-Centered Experience
  • Windows Online
  • Windows Update
  • Wireless and Networking services
  • XAML

Some of the teams (which I've highlighted) are interesting:

App Store Mention of a Microsoft App Store was made in leaked Windows 8 plans dating back to June of last year. This inclusion in Sinofsky's list all but conforms that Windows 8 will feature an App Store. Everything needs an App Store these days and Microsoft doesn't want to be left out.

App Experience Separate to the App Store, indicating that the Microsoft app experience will differ from that of the regular applications.

Human Interaction Platform Sounds to me like touch interface or maybe even something like the hands-free Kinect controller.

Hyper-V Those who have been playing with the leaked builds of Windows 8 will have noticed that the client builds contain Hyper-V virtualization capability, a feature previously only found in sever versions. Will the client version of Windows 8 feature Hyper-V? I hope so, but that might not happen. As Sinofsky points out (emphasis added):

I mentioned earlier that Windows contributes code to lots of other products and vice versa, so when you look at this list, keep in mind there are features from other groups (for example, our browser language runtime comes from the development tools group) and some of the work here goes into other products, too. For example, all of our kernel, networking, storage, virtualization, and other fundamental OS work is also part of Windows Server-that's right, one team delivers the full Windows Client OS and much of the foundation for the Windows Server OS. And some features are built in the core OS but are ultimately only part of the Server product.

That said, I don't recall Hyper-V being part in any of the leaked Windows 7 builds I saw.

Runtime Experience This fits in with rumors I've been hearing about how Microsoft is putting effort into the user experience above and beyond performance and reliability. Think aesthetics, workflow and ease of use.

User-Centered Experience Usability? Personalization?

XAML This is an XML-based language used by .NET and Silverlight to create user interfaces.

Those of you with good memories will recall that Sinofsky made a very similar post of the Windows 8 post for Windows 7 exactly three years ago. In that post he outlined that Windows 7 development was being spearheaded by 23 teams, compared to the 35 for Windows 8, and this 35 doesn't include Internet Explorer (which is made up of two teams) and the Windows Live group.

Notice how many times the word 'experience' features in a team description, a whopping eight times, compared to only once back when Sinofsky talked about Windows 7. A clear indication of how things have changed at Redmond.

In comparing the Windows 8 team list with the list for Windows 7, two omissions stand out:

  • Applets and Gadgets is gone ... not surprised in the least, these were a total and utter flop
  • No dedicated Media Center team ... again, hardly surprising

So, are you seeing what you'd like to see from the glimpse into the Windows 8 development process?
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