With the release of any new OS release, the question facing developers is whether or not to port existing applications. Often the answer hinges on two major factors: Will the operating system be widely adopted and what's downside of doing nothing?
In the enterprise the decision is often made for you, when policy dictates whether the company will upgrade its desktops to something new. According to a survey of 450 developers conducted by Visual Studio Magazine published this month, almost two out of every five (38.9%) are currently developing for Windows 7 or plan to do so within the next three months. That, despite the fact that not all of Win7's promised capabilities will be present in .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack, which is included with the release. The Multi-Touch UI, ribbon toolbars and other major functionality will have to wait until next year when .NET 4.0 comes out.
While UI whistles and bells are a major focal point of Windows 7, most of the developers surveyed were more interested in better performance. When asked about their "level of excitement about specific Windows 7 features," the top two responses were improved security and optimized I/O handling. Tied for third place were a "power-efficient infrastructure" and an "updated graphics stack and high DPI support."
Will Windows 7 be the must-have OS that XP was, or will it fall flat in the enterprise as Vista did? I'll admit I'm rooting for Microsoft. After all, Apple's OS fortunes certainly turned in the 1990s with System 7, the focus of which was not on look and feel, but on performance and peer-to-peer functionality. Perhaps Microsoft will be as fortuitous when Windows 7 arrives in stores on Oct. 22. The way I see it, Windows 7 is already widely referred to as "Vista fixed," meaning that Vista's coming whether the world wants it or not. So you might as well get to work.