Windows Classic is dead in Win8

In Windows Developer Preview, Windows Classic theming mode no longer exists, and UX theming mode has been modified to include support for high contrast themes. Also, the system now stores the current visual styles so that they are always available, even when the Themes service is not running. Because of these changes, applications that target only Windows Developer Preview no longer need two separate code paths to support visual styles and high contrast themes.

It’s crazy that the old Windows 95 widget support exists under the hood of every Win OS up to Windows 7. As a developer this presents added work in insuring support, especially in projects like Mozilla, which handle common control theme rendering internally. I can’t believe it’s taken this long for MS to kill Classic off – this is great news. Good F’n riddance!

Zune Gets Its Game On

Little is out yet, but so far –

– it’ll be open to developers
– based on XNA, Yow!
– wireless multiplayer gaming supported
– full touchpad input
Gen 3 Gen 2 will support it and Gen 1 may well too depending on the controls used in the games.
– SDK to be released this spring

Definitely one piece of Microsoft’s Unified Gaming Network (yes, my predictions do occasionally come true). Sweet. I love the fact that they went with a Galaga type game for their first release. Classic. I wanna write a game for my Zune!

Update – I meant Gen 2, sorry, no Gen 3 detail out yet but naturally it will support it too.

AQtime

I’ve been searching for a non-compiler assisted instrumentation based profiler that’s friendly with the mozilla codebase, and I finally found it – AQtime. The toolset within the app is quite robust, giving you the ability to target specific dlls or functions which saves tons of time during runs and makes it easy to find what you’re looking for. There’s also source integration so you don’t have to open suspect code in your development environment to see what’s going on. If you’re working with a project that’s built using Microsoft’s compiler and linker but isn’t based on a Visual Studio project (or if you couldn’t afford Team Server) AQtime is an excellent solution. It also supports cygwin apps built with GCC and .NET projects. Single licenses run about $500.00, which is pretty reasonable for a tool of this caliber. They also have a 30 day free trial so you can check it out. Highly recommended.

Fact

Writing a small block of security related code that ultimately lands on 50+ million desktops worldwide can be a bit intimidating.

Thankfully things look good right now, bugzilla shows no new bugs related to the work I did on 2.0.0.8. (PC World has a nice summary of what’s covered in the release.) Still, this was the first time I had to do something like this, and I was a bit nervous. After all, as I’m sure most developers out there know, software development is an inexact science. No matter how careful you are, how sure you are, ultimately, some system out there somewhere is bound to have an issue, or some user will find that something that worked previously now works differently, or does not work at all. (Even if the new behavior is more safe or ‘correct’, they’ll still be pissed.)

This kind of responsibility though is also why I love my job so much. : ) Here I sit, an anonymous developer in a little town in Florida called Destin, while a small chunk of code I wrote that improves user’s security slowly creeps it’s way out to millions of desktops all over the world. I am in your browser, making it more secure. Neat.

.NET Going Shared Source

We’ll begin by offering the source code (with source file comments included) for the .NET Base Class Libraries (System, System.IO, System.Collections, System.Configuration, System.Threading, System.Net, System.Security, System.Runtime, System.Text, etc), ASP.NET (System.Web), Windows Forms (System.Windows.Forms), ADO.NET (System.Data), XML (System.Xml), and WPF (System.Windows). We’ll then be adding more libraries in the months ahead (including WCF, Workflow, and LINQ). The source code will be released under the Microsoft Reference License (MS-RL).
..
VS 2008 will include support to automatically retrieve the appropriate .NET Framework source files on demand from Microsoft.

The entire UI library for Forms and WPF. Sounds like this will inlcude all the custom .NET forms controls, including toolbars and the like. Friggin’ cool!

Link