The failings of development in Windows

Drinian (regular commenter here) pointed me to a great series of articles on the failings of Microsoft in recent years. Particularly, the Windows APIs are inconsistent and not pleasurable to use from a development perspective, and with Windows Vista and its flagship applications, Microsoft has released a wildly inconsistent smattering of user interfaces. I’m not going to try to sum up the articles in any further detail; they’re so full of content that you really have to read them for yourself:

  1. From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user’s conversion to Mac OS X – Part I
  2. From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user’s conversion to Mac OS X – Part II
  3. From Win32 to Cocoa: a Windows user’s conversion to Mac OS X – Part III (Updated 2008-06-01)

And yes, I know there’s a lot of “Mac OS X” in the title there, but the majority of the content really is about Microsoft and Windows. The third part in the series isn’t out yet, but when it is, I’ll try to update this blog post with a link to it.

For the record, I personally agree with pretty much everything Peter Bright says about Windows development. I did a good bit of it at my previous job and it was ugly. .NET hasn’t made significant improvements in this regard because it makes way too many concessions to long-deprecated functionality. And the wide variety of official Microsoft user interfaces in Windows Vista is incredibly off-putting. Why does every large Microsoft application function completely differently?! If I’m a third party developer writing my own application, what do I try to make it look like? The answer isn’t Microsoft Office 2007 (even though it’s my favorite new interface of the lot), because the ribbon menu implementation is specific to the Office codebase and doesn’t even have a public API! Brilliant!

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