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Microsoft recently held their Windows 7 Launch event in St. Louis where I was very fortunate to be able to deliver the Windows 7 introduction to developers track (opposite Mike Benkovich from

This St. Louis event was held at the AMC Theater’s in Creve Coeur, Missouri and supposedly drew 1200 local IT resources (roughly 600 for the developer track and 600 for the IT pro track but I didn’t get an exact count from anyone).  I was involved with the developer track and in my auditorium I had roughly 250+ people who fell into one of two categories:  first, those who were software developers and interested in Win7 as a new platform for rich client development or, second, those who were interested in Win7 as a consumer tool and took advantage of the opportunity to learn a bit more about the OS (and possibly just to get the free copy given away at the launch event :)

For those of you who are .NET developers and interested in developing applications which take advantage of the great features of Windows 7, information can be found below. 

API CodePack

I would first start you out by pointing you to the Windows API CodePack for .NET.   This is a set of assemblies you can utilize from your .NET application to easily access all of the cool features of Windows 7.  Things such as:

  • Windows 7 Taskbar Jump Lists, Icon Overlay, Progress Bar, Tabbed Thumbnails, and Thumbnail Toolbars.

  • Windows 7 Libraries, Known Folders, non-file system containers.

  • Windows Shell Search API support, a hierarchy of Shell Namespace entities, and Drag and Drop functionality for Shell Objects.

  • Explorer Browser Control.

  • Shell property system.

  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 Common File Dialogs, including custom controls.

  • Windows Vista and Windows 7 Task Dialogs.

  • Direct3D 11.0, Direct3D 10.1/10.0, DXGI 1.0/1.1, Direct2D 1.0, DirectWrite, Windows Imaging Component (WIC) APIs. (DirectWrite and WIC have partial support)

  • Sensor Platform APIs

  • Extended Linguistic Services APIs

  • Power Management APIs

  • Application Restart and Recovery APIs

  • Network List Manager APIs

  • Command Link control and System defined Shell icons.

  • “PhotoView” Sample Application

    Another great Windows 7 resource for .NET developers is utilizing this sample application as a starting point.  It’s called XP2Win7 and is a sample photo viewer that demonstrates a clean way to have a single application which exposes the appropriate functionality depending on the OS it is running on.  It runs effectively in XP, Vista, and Win 7 while adding OS specific features based on it’s host.  On a Windows 7 machine it supports Jump Lists, MultiTouch, etc.  It’s definitely worth the look to see some cool Win 7 features in action.


    At this recent launch event, my three sessions were related to Windows 7 developer topics.  I covered the following topics:

    Taking Your Application to the Next Level with Windows 7

    Basically this talk covered common compatibility issues with moving legacy applications into Windows 7.  It also talked about a number of breaking changes in Windows 7 when compared to previous Windows OS platforms.  We also introduced newer concepts such as the Jump Lists, the new Task Bar, breaking changes when moving form XP to Vista, Troubleshooting Packs, etc.

    My presentation can be found here: Presentation

    Beyond Human Interaction with Windows 7 Sensor and Location Platform

    Here we talked about the new sensor platform and used a cool Freescale Sensor board for the demo’s.  We talked about the Win7 Ambient light sensor and used the board to demonstrate an accelerometer sensor.  The final part of this session discussed location sensors.  I had some pretty cool demo’s for this one including modification to the XNA Racing Starter Kit which allowed me to play the game with the board and the accelerometer and also use the ambient light sensor to affect the night/day aspect of the game.

    If you are interested in the board I used for the demo you can buy the exact board here.  The cost is ~$30 according to their site.

    My presentation can be found here: Presentation

    Building next Generation UI with Multitouch and Windows Ribbon in Windows 7

    The final talk I gave related to the new Windows Ribbon and the Multitouch capabilities in Windows 7.  I was using an HP TouchSmart Notebook with a 64-bit version of Windows 7 and the full TouchPack loaded on it.  The demonstrations were pretty cool and I got to play some games on the big screen. 

    Many people came up to me after the show and asked where they could find info on this laptop and here you go: Laptop Info.

    I definitely foresee a day where all laptops have these same capabilities.

    My presentation can be found here: Presentation


    In addition to sharing the presentation, the links below will definitely help any .NET developer learn to take advantage of the great new developer oriented features of the Windows 7 platform:

    Compatibility Resources

    Windows Application Compatibility Center

    Application Compatibility on TechNet

    Application Compatibility Online Remediation

    Application Compatibility in Windows 7 Training Kit

    API and Other Dev Resources

    Windows Developer Center on MSDN

    Windows Application Compatibility Developer Center

    Windows 7 Remediation Labs

    Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers

    “PhotoView” Reference Application (XP2Win7Project)

    Windows 7 Blog for Developers

    Windows 7 on Channel 9

    Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 11:25 AM | Back to top

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