With Windows 10 set to be released July 29, developers need to be ready for the change in approach represented by Microsoft’s latest OS.
Developers have had an inside preview from some time, said John Thomas, senior director of application development products at Embarcadero Technologies, and while Microsoft has a good track record making sure applications from previous eras of Windows can run on the latest iteration, it doesn’t forego the need for testing. He said enterprises should be taking the time to run Windows 10 in a virtual environment and testing their applications.
Of course, that is par for the course for any Windows migration. What’s new is that Microsoft is clearly acknowledging and extending support for different operating systems, and CIOs and IT departments should reflect that shift when hiring developers, as Microsoft embraces the reality that applications run across different operating systems and infrastructures. Developers will no longer be able to silo themselves as Windows desktop developers, Thomas said. “Today’s Windows developer is a multi-platform developer.”
For example, Microsoft revealed in late April that iOS and Android developers will be able to port their apps and games directly to Windows universal apps by enabling Android developers to use Java and C++ code on Windows 10, and allow iOS developers to take advantage of their existing Objective C code. “The ability to rewrite Android apps is a big one,” said Thomas.
Microsoft is also offering a way for websites to run inside a Windows universal app, and use system services such as notifications and in-app purchases to allow website owners to easily create web apps and list them in the Windows Store.
Most significantly, Windows developers must not only be comfortable with the idea that their apps must work with multiple devices and operating systems, but also the Internet of Things (IoT), said Thomas. “2015 is the year developers are going to adopt IoT.”
At the start of the year, Embarcadero released the results of a survey it conducted that showed 77 per cent of development teams will have IoT projects in active development in 2015 with nearly half of IoT developers expecting these initiatives will generate business impact by the end of 2015.
Between mobile and IoT devices, as well as multiple operating systems that Windows 10 will need to interact with, CIOs and IT departments should emphasize approaches to quality assurance and testing, said Thomas, as well as a focus on user experience. “Developers need to take on challenges around mobile development. It’s more about the process than languages and frameworks.”