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NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14

Microsoft has released a second preview of the next major release of Visual Studio. Much of the attention has gone on Microsoft’s embrace of open source, with the Roslyn .NET code compiler. But is this isn’t necessarily the biggest change in Microsoft’s comprehensive dev suite. There’s a radical change coming to ASP.NET and …
Tim Anderson, 23 Jul 2014

Microsoft C# chief Hejlsberg: Our open-source Apache pick will clear the FUD

“Pushing that button was one of the more impactful clicks of my career,” says Microsoft’s C# lead architect Anders Hejlsberg. The click in question was made on stage at Microsoft’s Build conference in April, and its effect was to publish the .NET Compiler platform, codenamed Roslyn, as open source under the Apache 2.0 licence. …
Tim Anderson, 16 Jun 2014
Love

Xamarin: Design an app for Windows, iOS and Android ... from one codebase?

Perhaps the most striking feature of Microsoft's Build developer conference in April was the crowd that gathered to hear Xamarin's Mac-toting Miguel de Icaza talk about mobile apps – meaning, of course, his company's tools for targeting iOS and Android with C#, the premier language of Microsoft .NET. The session was so popular …
Tim Anderson, 30 May 2014
Windows 8.1 Update  Storeapps Taskbar

Windows 8.1 Update: Throws desktop drones a bone but still as TOUCHY as ever

After months of slowly inflating expectations, Microsoft recently released its follow-up act to Windows 8.1 – the Windows 8.1 Update. It’s a transitional release, with the destination being a substantial reworking of the original concept. The problem for Microsoft is that it based Windows 8 around a new touch-friendly app …
Tim Anderson, 09 Apr 2014
French fries

Amazon Workspaces: A dish best served later

Amazon Workspaces, the etailer-cloud-service-provider's Virtual Desktop Infrastructure service based on a “Windows 7 desktop experience”, has been uncorked. Actually, it's Windows Server 2008 R2 with the desktop experience enabled – possibly for licensing as much as for technical reasons. Microsoft is awkward about licensing …
Tim Anderson, 28 Mar 2014

Move over Microsoft: RealNetworks has a GOOGLE problem

“When you start a company that has good success, then you step away from it and it doesn’t continue on the trajectory you would like it to be on, your pride kicks in,” says RealNetworks chairman and interim chief executive Rob Glaser. Glaser was explaining why he returned to the company in mid-2012 after a two-and-a-half year …
Tim Anderson, 24 Mar 2014
Why did you click to see the picture with images turned off

Microsoft's SQL Server 2014 early code: First look

In-memory database engine, improved integration with Windows Azure, and new indexing technology for high performance data warehousing applications - there's plenty to like in SQL Server 2014, released to manufacturers on Tuesday. But while Microsoft has been busy and done some heavy lifting, the code that will become generally …
Tim Anderson, 18 Mar 2014
Visual Studio

Visual Studio 2013: 50 Shades of Grey not a worry for MONSTER dev TOOL

How good is the latest iteration of Microsoft’s monster development tool, Visual Studio 2013? Visual Studio is the product that has to follow all the twists and turns of Microsoft’s developer story. Unlike Visual Studio 2012, which introduced a controversial makeover that removed most of the colour from the IDE, this is a …
Tim Anderson, 27 Nov 2013

Microsoft, Xamarin give Visual Studio a leg-up for... iOS and Android?

Microsoft is giving a leg up to Windows developers building apps for iOS and Android using C# and Visual Studio, with dev specialist Xamarin. Xamarin has announced support for Portable Class Library (PCL), a subset of the .NET Framework that works across multiple platforms. The development was made possible after Microsoft last …
Tim Anderson, 13 Nov 2013
Surface 2 teaser

It's NOT an iPad - but that's FINE: I learned to LOVE Microsoft's Surface 2

Microsoft’s first take on Surface RT was a disaster, culminating in a $900m stock write-down in July. Curious then that the company has now produced the Surface 2 with a similar design, and also running Windows RT, the locked-down ARM build on which you cannot install desktop applications – only new-style apps from the Windows …
Tim Anderson, 23 Oct 2013

Bigger, fiddly to manage: The second coming of Windows Server 2012

New Windows client, new Windows server seems to be the pattern; and October 18, 2013 saw the release of Windows Server 2012 R2 as well as Windows 8.1. The R2 release is a paid-for upgrade, but uses the same CALs (Client Access Licenses) as Server 2012, mitigating the cost of transition. Microsoft calls Server 2012 a Cloud OS, by …
Tim Anderson, 22 Oct 2013
Windows 8 multi monitor

Windows 8.1: A bit square, sure, but WAIT! It has a Start button

Windows 8.1 adds a layer of polish to the previous release, Windows 8, and fixes various annoyances. But has Microsoft done enough to rescue its OS against a background of plummeting PC sales and unimpressed customers who want Windows 7 back? Discussion of Windows 8.1 tends to focus on the Start screen and revived Start button. …
Tim Anderson, 18 Oct 2013

Microsoft watches iPads flood into world's offices: Right, remote desktop clients. It's time

Microsoft will release its own apps to manage all the iOS and Android devices that are flooding into organisations as part of the Bring Your Own Device trend. They will be available for download from app stores later this month. The official Remote Desktop (RDP) clients were announced on Monday along with a new RDP client for …
Tim Anderson, 08 Oct 2013

Windows 8.1: Microsoft's reluctant upgrade has a split-screen personality

Microsoft will release Windows 8.1, a free update for Windows 8, on 18 October. The plan had been for no pre-release code until then, but Microsoft has back-tracked. The release to manufacturing (RTM) code is now available early to developers and IT professionals via Microsoft’s MSDN and TechNet subscription sites. There are …
Tim Anderson, 12 Sep 2013

Happy 20th birthday, Windows NT 3.1: Microsoft's server outrider

It started on the server, became the desktop, it's still there in Windows 8 today, and it just turned 20 years old: Happy birthday, Windows NT. Windows NT 3.1 was released to computer manufacturers on 26 July, 1993, and initial sales of Microsoft’s debut server operating system were modest – fewer than 500,000 units sold in the …
Tim Anderson, 01 Aug 2013
Windows 8.1 tile resizing

Windows 8.1: So it's, er, half-speed ahead for Microsoft's Plan A

Following approximately one year after the release to manufacturing of Windows 8.0, which incorporated some radical changes, based around a new tablet platform running alongside the traditional desktop environment, Windows 8.1 is a critical release. Most Windows users have not warmed to the platform variously called Metro, …
Tim Anderson, 28 Jun 2013

Microsoft SQL Server 14 man: 'Nothing stops a Hekaton transaction'

Microsoft’s SQL Server 14 will include a new memory optimisation feature code-named Hekaton, with the potential for huge performance gains – provided your data fits in RAM. Hekaton is not a separate product, but will be part of enterprise editions of SQL Server 14, for which no availability date has been announced. The latest …
Tim Anderson, 03 Jun 2013

PowerShell daddy on Windows Server 2012 R2: Cloudy cloud cloud

“We don’t spend much time on our virtualisation competitors any more. We’ve moved beyond that,” said Jeffrey Snover, Windows Server and System Center Lead Architect, at a press preview of Windows Server 2012 R2. “How many of you ever paid for a sorting library? Memory managers? TCP stacks? Now you just get it in the operating …
Tim Anderson, 03 Jun 2013
Mosaic spinning world logo

Mosaic turns 20: Let's fire up the old girl, show her the web today

NCSA Mosaic - marking its 20th anniversary this week - was not the first web browser, but it was the first to be widely used. Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the web, describes its early days in his book Weaving the Web. Berners-Lee states that the first browser - WorldWideWeb - was text-based, and he had an early version working …
Tim Anderson, 26 Apr 2013

Shaky liftoff for Sputnik: Dell's Linux lappie runs its own cloud, ish

Want a laptop running Linux? You could do worse than Dell's XPS 13. This svelte model began life a year or so ago as a Windows Ultrabook. More recently it was updated with Intel Ivy Bridge processors and a 13.3" 1080p screen. The XPS 13 Developer Edition - because only software developers use Linux, right? - uses a high-end Core …
Tim Anderson, 11 Apr 2013
The Register breaking news

Steve Jobs' death clears way for Adobe CTO defection

Long-standing chief technology officer Kevin Lynch has left Adobe, but why? Adobe has just announced first quarter 2013 results that were a little ahead of its target and show strong take-up of Creative Cloud - by which it offers up its cloudy software services for subscription rather than one-off purchase - roughly akin to an …
Tim Anderson, 21 Mar 2013

You've made an app for Android, iOS, Windows - what about the user interface?

Cross-platform development is a big deal, and will continue to be so until a day comes when everyone uses the same platform. Android? HTML? WebKit? iOS? Windows? Maybe one day, but for now the world is multi-platform, and unless you can afford to ignore all platforms but one, or to develop independent projects for each platform …
Tim Anderson, 25 Feb 2013

World's 'most green' supercomputer in red-hot battle between Intel, Nvidia

Non-profit consortium CINECA has deployed what may be the greenest supercomputer in the world at its Bologna centre in Italy. Called Eurora, the new machine claims it can perform 3,150 megaflops per watt, compared to the 2,499.44 achieved by Green-500 king the Beacon supercomputer at the National Institute for Computational …
Tim Anderson, 04 Feb 2013

Help us out here: What's the POINT of Microsoft Office 2013?

It was Verity Stob who identified the key challenge for Microsoft Office upgrades: "Name just ONE feature introduced into Word in the 21st century that the weak-willed upgrader regularly uses," asked the antiquarian. Fourteen revisions since the first Office that it may not be easy, because spell checking, grammar checking, …
Tim Anderson, 30 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

Lotus 1-2-3 rebooted: My trip back to the old (named) range

Lotus 1-2-3, released on 26 January 1983, was not the first spreadsheet. That achievement belongs to VisiCalc, invented by Dan Bricklin at Harvard, programmed mainly by Bob Frankston, and released for - surprise - the Apple II in 1979. But as I fired up 1-2-3 on its 30th anniversary, I was reminded that while it wasn't an …
Tim Anderson, 28 Jan 2013
The Register breaking news

Stroustrup on next-gen C++: I didn't want to let go of my baby

C++ 11 is “far better than previous versions”, says the inventor of the language Bjarne Stroustrup. He was speaking at an online event marking the launch of Embarcadero's C++ Builder XE3, a rapid application tool targeting Windows and Mac OS X. C++ Builder XE3 is a promising but curious product. Delphi and C++ Builder were …
Tim Anderson, 13 Dec 2012
The Register breaking news

Coders grill Herb Sutter on future of C++ at Microsoft

"The world is built on C++ and so is Microsoft," proclaimed Herb Sutter at Microsoft's Build conference last week in Seattle, Washington. Sutter is chair of the ISO C++ standards committee and Microsoft's Visual C++ language architect. Native code is currently ascendant inside his company, with C++ prominent in SDKs for Windows …
Tim Anderson, 12 Nov 2012
Windows RT native code options

Windows Phone 8: Exceptional tools, but where are the devs?

The Windows Phone 8 SDK emerged at the Microsoft’s BUILD conference in Seattle last month. After so much hope, hype and promise, what’s new for developers? A lot, as you would expect given that this version of Windows Phone is built on the same core as Windows 8, whereas the 7.x line is built on Windows CE. At the same time, …
Tim Anderson, 05 Nov 2012

Surface RT: Freedom luvin' app-huggers beware

“It’s the ultimate expression of a Windows PC,” says Windows chief Steven Sinofsky... or “a compromised, confusing product”, according to Apple’s Tim Cook, who has not used one. This is Surface RT, Microsoft’s first own-brand tablet, which went on sale today. Along with the fact that it runs Windows 8, there are two notable …
Tim Anderson, 26 Oct 2012
Windows 8

Windows 8: Is Microsoft's new OS too odd to handle?

The big question. You are happily trundling along with Windows 7 and everything is fine. Should you upgrade to Windows 8, at Microsoft's tempting price of £24.99, or $39.99, for a downloadable copy? There is always the safe option of leaving well alone, but tell that to anyone who regretted installing Windows Vista and had to …
Tim Anderson, 24 Oct 2012
Bill Gates' 1970s' mug shot

Windows 8: An awful lot of change for a single release

Microsoft released Windows 1.0 on 20 November, 1985, a year later than first promised. Now, nearly 27 years on, Windows 8 is on the shelves. The operating system was chugging away full-steam ahead as Windows XP established itself - then it jumped the tracks at Vista. Where is Microsoft's OS going now and where did it come from …
Tim Anderson, 23 Oct 2012

'Your app will work on Windows 8 - but please rewrite it anyway'

Is Windows so much weighed down by legacy and the need to support existing applications that Microsoft cannot advance its platform? I put this question to Satya Nadella, president of the server and tools business at Microsoft, at the recent Visual Studio 2012 launch in Seattle, Washington. “We’re not afraid to make hard calls,” …
Tim Anderson, 24 Sep 2012
screen grab of visual studio sf for Tim Anderson piece

'Programming on Windows 8 just like playing bingo' - Microsoft VP

Windows developers have suffered multiple changes of direction in recent years. There is Win32, WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), Silverlight, and now WinRT (Windows Runtime), the platform formerly known as Metro. Can they be confident in the longevity of the new thing, or might it be swept away in favour of some other new …
Tim Anderson, 19 Sep 2012

There is life after the death of Microsoft’s Windows 8 Start button

The disappearance of the Start button in Microsoft’s new Windows has proved unsettling for users. “I want Start. Start I say,” said an early tester in a post entitled "Worst 60 minutes in my entire life". One year on, and the Start screen is still a contentious issue. “The advantage of the overlaid menu is that it preserves …
Tim Anderson, 11 Sep 2012

Windows Server 2012: Smarter, stronger, frustrating

Microsoft has released Windows Server 2012, based on the same core code as Windows 8. Yes, it has the same Start screen in place of the Start menu, but that is of little importance, particularly since Microsoft is pushing the idea of installing the Server Core edition – which has no Graphical User Interface. If you do install a …
Tim Anderson, 05 Sep 2012

Windows 8 Storage Spaces: Can you trust it with your delicates?

I have been watching a few Storage Spaces discussion threads on Microsoft’s support forums with interest. Storage Spaces is a new way to manage disk storage in Windows 8 and Server 2012. It allows you to create a pool from two or more drives, create virtual drives on them with an option for RAID-like resilience, and add or …
Tim Anderson, 28 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news

Visual Studio 2012: 50 Shades of Grey by Microsoft

Microsoft offended thousands in April with a preview of its next Visual Studio, a John-Major-inspired, grey affair intended to take Microsoft’s all-encompassing IDE closer to the look of Windows 8. Thousands gave the new look a thumbs-down on the Microsoft UserVoice poll, with people demanding a return to colour. The day of …
Tim Anderson, 28 Aug 2012
The Register breaking news

Windows 8: Microsoft's tablet-desktop still painful to swallow

Microsoft's Windows 8 is now in the hands of developers and IT administrators subscribed to MSDN or TechNet. They are the first people other than close partners and fearless torrenters to try the final code. Anyone expecting major changes from June's Release Preview, or concessions for those missing the old Start menu, will be …
Tim Anderson, 16 Aug 2012
Microsoft System Center logo

Microsoft concocts cloudy mixture with System Center 2012

Is it possible to have cloud and on-premise computing intermingled in a hybrid called the private cloud? Such arrangements are mocked by Salesforce.com chief executive Marc Benioff, who has said “beware the false cloud” on several occasions. But the concept appeals to enterprises that want the benefits of on-demand computing …
Tim Anderson, 27 Jun 2012
Azure icon

Microsoft: We tried to use Azure ourselves last year, and couldn't

In the first half of 2011, Microsoft made a series of changes at the top of the team running Windows Azure, its cloud. “A large group of new people came into the Azure team,” general manager Bill Hilf said at a Microsoft cloud event in London last week. “Satya Nadella came over, Scott [Guthrie] came over, I came over at the same …
Tim Anderson, 27 Jun 2012
The Register breaking news

Windows 8: We kick the tyres on Redmond's new tablet wheels

The surprising thing about the Windows 8 Release Preview just delivered is not how much has changed from February's Consumer Preview, or even the Developer Preview from September 2011, but rather how little. Microsoft is set on delivering this hybrid tablet-and-desktop operating system pretty much as-is, despite widespread …
Tim Anderson, 01 Jun 2012
Cat 5 cable

Core Wars: Inside Intel's power struggle with NVIDIA

Intel and NVIDIA are battling for the hearts and minds of developers in massively parallel computing. Intel has been saying for years that concurrency rather than clock speed is the future of high performance computing, yet it has been slow to provide the mass of low-power, high-efficiency CPU cores needed to take full advantage …
Tim Anderson, 21 May 2012
The Register breaking news

Windows 3.1 rebooted: Microsoft's DOS destroyer turns 20

Yes it crashed a lot. It crashed less than its predecessor though, and kept Microsoft on the path to desktop domination. This was Windows 3.1, released on 6 April 1992, nearly two years after Windows 3.0 was pushed out in May 1990. Minimum system requirements are MS-DOS 3.1 or later, 2MB RAM, and a hard drive with 6MB free. This …
Tim Anderson, 06 Apr 2012
Windows 8

Windows 8: Sugar coating on Microsoft's hard-to-swallow tablet

How do you bring legacy-encrusted Windows into the mobile era? Microsoft's solution is to take all that baggage and place it into a compartment labeled desktop, while reinventing the Windows user interface in a second compartment called Metro. Metro is primary, and conceptually the old desktop is now an app in the Metro Start …
Tim Anderson, 02 Mar 2012
The Register breaking news

Microsoft drops 'risky' Windows 8 preview on World

Microsoft has released to the World near-final code for Windows 8 - its riskiest bet yet. Officially called a Consumer Preview, but actually a beta, the next Windows 8 milestone will be the release candidate followed by release to manufacturing, Windows Division president Steven Sinofsky said Wednesday. Microsoft chose the …
Tim Anderson, 29 Feb 2012

RIM's apps revolution swings on Blackberry 10

"I'm a Java developer. What can I do to bring my apps over to BlackBerry 10?" asks an attendee at BlackBerry Devcon Europe in Amsterdam this week. The answer comes back: "Rewrite your code." The exchange illustrates how deeply RIM is changing its mobile platform: from the Java-based BlackBerry OS used in current smartphones to …
Tim Anderson, 10 Feb 2012

Petaflops beater: Nvidia chief talks exascale

"Power is now the limiter of every computing platform, from cellphones to PCs and even data centres," said NVIDIA chief executive Jen-Hsun Huang, speaking at the company's GPU Technology Conference in Beijing last week. There was much talk there about the path to exascale, a form of supercomputing that can execute 1018 flop/s ( …
Tim Anderson, 22 Dec 2011
The Register breaking news

Gone in a Flash: Adobe's long march to HTML5

Surf the web and it's ubiquitous. Ask most web developers building media content what runtime stack tools set they should – or do – target. The answer is simple: Flash. Or it has been until recently. For the better part of a decade, Adobe's media player plug-in has dominated everything from modest web animations to films and …
Tim Anderson, 29 Nov 2011
The Register breaking news

Fear and slow loading: Eclipse celebrates 10 unsettling years

In November 2001, IBM made its Java tools IDE and platform, developed for WebSphere Application Studio, available under an open source licence. It was the beginning of Eclipse, which now claims 65 per cent of the Java IDE market. But why was Eclipse founded and what has been its impact over a decade? The Reg spoke to Mike …
Tim Anderson, 23 Nov 2011
The Register breaking news

Making sense of SharePoint 2010

Adoption of Microsoft SharePoint is growing rapidly, with Microsoft reporting “double-digit growth” in its latest financials, yet it remains widely misunderstood. What can you do with SharePoint, what is the difference between the free SharePoint Foundation and the full product, and what are the pros and cons? Microsoft calls …
Tim Anderson, 21 Nov 2011