My thoughts on the Build keynote

Yesterday evening, I had a really great time. The Belgian Umbraco User Group (BUUG) organized a livestream to follow the keynote from the Build conference. As not all of us can make it to Build in California, this was a very good alternative! (Wich was also organized by several other usergroups btw).

At 05.00PM, we were expected at the offices of Combell at Ghent. There we were warmly welcomed by Thijs Feryn, which is really an super enthusiastic guy btw! After some food & drinks it was time to watch the keynote.. This is what I will remember from the talk:

First of all there were some demos about what they call the Windows metro style applications. Those applications use the new Metro design language which is already used on the WP7 devices. I think Microsoft is really convinced about that style of applications, as they are pushing to use it everywhere on every device. The demo applications Microsoft showed us were mostly developed by a team of interns. They were all created within 10 weeks, and developed by several teams of 2-3 developers. Those guys did some great work, and I think they will be really proud to put ‘First Windows 8 developer’ on their CV.

After the demos we saw a slide with ‘the’ change for Windows 8: The application development architecture. Which I personally think is really the way to go.


The way we build applications as for today is either .NET using VB, Silverlight, C# .. or web applications that use HTML/JavaScript.. or C++ applications using the win32 API. What will change is the way we can build applications on top of the Windows new AppModel called WinRT. They provide a whole set of API’s which we can use to create our applications (in Metro style) using HTML/CSS + Javascript, or XAML in combination with C/C++ or C#/VB. Using this languages we can do exactly the same thing. As from what I understand, they are pushing the use of HTML5 to create the Metro style apps.

The only thing I am concerned about that is the Cross-browser usage. They say you can build your apps using standard HTML5 and Javascript where they included a whole range of ‘WinRT’ specific functions. I think those apps will run in IE10 (am I right?) and on Windows 8. But what will happen if you run it on other browsers on other machines? Do you have to develop your apps with that in mind? I’m not telling you that I don’t understand their choice to put HTML5 into the spotlight. Because there are so many developers (even non-Windows) that are used to those technologies, it’s an opportunity to catch those guy to develop for Windows. Personally, I think I will prefer to use my good old (?) C# skills and combine it with the XAML based UI design. 

What I do find exciting is the usage of Blend in combination with HTML5/CSS. As I’m not a CSS genius, Blend will make it extremely easy to just position your HTML stuff, handle all the rotating and scaling issues without digging into CSS floats, absolute positions,..

The next part of the keynote was mostly about hardware, the speed of Windows 8, the reduced memory usage and the reduced processes. They also showed some awesome ultra-thin ultrabooks, some cool tablets, a high-end machine showing some very realistic renders.


I can’t wait to start playing with the WinRT API’s and getting to know them. As they always say, try before you judge!

Just wanted to say thanks to the BUUG and Combell for the friendliness! I had a good time.

All reactions are welcome, just post a comment.

Written by
Alexander Vanwynsberghe
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Alexander Vanwynsberghe

Belgium-based entrepreneur. Into technology, innovation and a bit of cycling and running too. Evangelist for everything related to smart-tech.