Windows 10 – What’s in it For Developers?

Windows 10 was unveiled on September 30, 2014 as a technical preview for individuals that signed up to become a Windows Insider. Since the release, we’ve seen a lot of coverage from media outlets regarding new features that end-users will be excited about, but very little coverage for developers. In this post, I’m going to point out several things that caught my eye as a developer that works daily with the Microsoft stack.

Please note that I am using Build 9860 for this article.

A Package Manager Built In

Developers have grown to love package managers inside IDEs to install frameworks, libraries, etc. They also enjoy OS package managers to quickly find and install third-party applications. With Windows 10, developers finally get one.

OneGet is a package manager included in Windows 10, that allows you to install additional software from the PowerShell command line. Simply open a PowerShell window and type the following command:

Install-Package -Name Firefox

Using the Windows 10 Technical Preview, you will see the following screen as shown in Figure 1. You will want to read this blog post for more details on what commands OneGet offers.

Figure 1 : Installing Firefox from the PowerShell command line in the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

Figure 1 : Installing Firefox from the PowerShell command line in the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

Powerful New Console

Every developer is looking for a way to enhance productivity especially using the Windows Console. In the Windows 10 Technical Preview, you can turn on “Enable experimental console features” by right-clicking on the command prompt and going to properties. There you will find an “Experimental” tab that you can turn on as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2 : New Command Prompt properties to enable experimental features.

Figure 2 : New Command Prompt properties to enable experimental features.

Besides the ability to use the control key to copy and paste text in the console, it comes with several other features that are self-explanatory. In this example, I changed the opacity and you can see the background coming through.

If you click on the link at the bottom of the property page, it will navigate to this site. It allows you to provide feedback as well as a comprehensive list of console improvements in Windows 10.

Yes, there are more features to the new console than copy and paste.

More Productive in Desktop Mode? You Got it!

If you are a developer, then one thing you are used to is switching between the “desktop” mode and the “Modern Apps” mode. I think it is safe to assume that most developers that use Windows 8.1 stay in the desktop mode for a majority of the day. This is where they are the most productive. It is where Visual Studio, Expression Blend and Microsoft Office lives. You may occasionally switch back to the “Modern App” mode to run Windows 8.1 apps, search or shutdown the PC, but it was rare (or at least it was for me).

With Windows 10, you can change the signed in user, turn the PC off, pin Modern Apps to the Start menu and much more – without ever leaving the desktop.

Windows 10 also has a Continuum mode that is smart enough to determine if you are using a Surface or a Laptop and launch either the desktop mode or the “Modern App” mode automatically. If you are using a Surface and attach a keyboard, then it will automatically go into desktop mode – remove it and you will see the “Modern App” mode. Figure 3 shows what the new start button looks like in Windows 10.

Figure 3 : Modern Apps run on the desktop and can be pinned to the "Start" button.

Figure 3 : Modern Apps run on the desktop and can be pinned to the “Start” button.

You also have the ability to search everywhere on the local machine and even the internet for something. This plays a major role if you created a Modern App, as it can be discovered from the Start button. Imagine that you need a tip calculator, if you type tip calculator in the box then it will search your local machine for one and if it can’t find one then it gives you Bing search results along with a suggested app in the Windows Store that can help.

Once a modern app is launched, then you are given several options as shown in Figure 4. that were previously only available via the share charm.

Figure 4 : Modern App Options available without the share charm.

Figure 4 : Modern App Options available without the share charm.

While this menu can only be accessed by the mouse at the time of this writing, I’m sure they will have keyboard shortcuts before Windows 10 ships.

A Better Task Manager

While not exactly new to Windows 10, a  better task manager has evolved. How many times have you wanted an easy way to disable applications that automatically start-up or learn more information about what a program actually is? What about more detailed information about the Startup impact of an application? As a developer, I invested in the latest hardware and don’t want an app to slow my system down or a suspicious program that might be a virus. Thankfully, you can take care of both of these issues in the Task Manager as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 : The new and improved Task Manager.

Figure 5 : The new and improved Task Manager.

Multiple-Desktop Support

The last feature that I found extremely helpful was multiple-desktop support. Imagine that you want to have multiple desktops configured with certain apps, etc and be able to toggle through them as needed. With the Windows 10 Technical Preview it is very easy to do as shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6 : Multiple-Desktop Support added to Windows 10.

Figure 6 : Multiple-Desktop Support added to Windows 10.

Simply click on Task View, then click “Create Desktop” and place the applications in it as needed. You can use the keyboard shortcut: WINKEY + Ctrl + Left Arrow or WINKEY + Ctrl + Right Arrow to toggle between desktops. You can even move a window to another desktop with a right-click then “Move to” and select your desktop of choice.

Stay on the Bleeding Edge of Windows 10

Like most developers, I love staying on the bleeding edge with most technology. In Windows 10 Technical Preview Build 9860 it contains a way to always have the latest build with a few mouse clicks. Go to PC Settings and click on “Update and Recovery” and switch “Preview builds” to fast instead of slow as shown in Figure 7.

Figure 7 : Preview Build changed to Fast in Windows 10.

Figure 7 : Preview Build changed to Fast in Windows 10.

At the end of the day…

Even though Windows 10 is a Technical Preview, .NET Developers will still write the code they know and love for this new OS. Thankfully, Telerik has solutions for Windows Universal Apps that span both the phone, tablet and desktop to WPF and Web Apps ready to implement today. While all of the features shown in this article may or may not make the final cut, but I’m betting the majority of them will. So what features am I missing that developers will love? Sound off in the comments below and I may create a second post calling out your feature!

To learn more about our Universal Apps offering please check out this blog post.

Header image courtesy of Sweetie187

Comments

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  • B. Clay Shannon

    How is OneGet better than NuGet, for which you don’t need to resort to PowerSmell?

    • Think of OneGet as a package manager for software and NuGet as a package manger for the Microsoft development platform.

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  • data3oh

    Reading through, the bit about Task Manager was readily available in Windows 8.0… All in all a very good look into Windows 10 🙂 Look forward to future posts

    • Thank you! Yes, the task manager improvements were found in Win 8, but very few developers (or at least in my circles) actually knew of the improvements. I thought it would be helpful to call them out again.

  • 1antares1

    I like Windows 10 as 8.1. For now, I’ll keep for a while in 8.1 …

    However, there are details that do not seem like multiple news desk, large console, among others, who already had been using GNU / Linux at the moment for years. I have no time to try some distribution.

    Of the rest, I find it interesting … now if they will appeal to the picky by “traditional start menu”.

    Best regards.

    (Sorry for bad english).

  • BeCool

    Install packages from Power Shell(dos Prompt?),…,WOW!

  • Corey Brand

    It looks like “OneGet” is really just NuGet under the hood.

  • swati

    better modern apps and include whats app

    • Bruce Baxter

      you can install whatsapp through bluestacks. I’ve been running whatsapp on my pc for over a year now

  • Rob Sherratt

    I think Windows 10 is not yet ready to get the buy-in for corporate desktops. The remaining things corporates (at least all my work colleagues) will need are as follows:

    a) People have been using the Windows 7 Aero Glass window manager and love the look and feel of the windows, the shading, and that it makes the look of stacked windows look … stacked. The flat and square look of the modern UI may be fine for portable devices, but is not ideal for desktop use. Stacked and overlapping windows are hard to discern, and the visual look and feel for desktop business users seems like a return to the dark ages of Windows 3.1.

    b) People are used to having a LAN/Internet activity “LED” indicator in the Toolbar area with Windows 7. My work colleagues who have tried Windows 8/81/10 complain that this “LED” indicator is missing.

    c) Many Corporates are still using IE 9 or earlier, and have not adopted IE 11, and will not adopt it even under Windows 10. Why is this? There has been insufficient compatibility testing with corporate apps. Microsoft Live Meeting will not run correctly under IE 11, Microsoft Outlook Web Client will not run correctly under IE 11, numerous corporate database web client and time booking web applications will not run correctly under IE 11. However, everything works fine under IE 9 or earlier. So I suggest that Microsoft attend to IE 11 compatibility with earlier versions of IE if the new Windows 10 is to gain corporate buy-in.

    I suggest that Microsoft should contact corporate IT managers and ask them what issues will prevent migration from Windows 7 to Windows 10. There are many other issues, not just the ones I list above, but the ones I have mentioned are the ones visible to all my colleagues who are at present corporate Windows 7 users.

    Thanks,
    Rob Sherratt

    • Eletruk

      Removal of VBScript from IE broke a lot of HTML tools I have developed over the years. Yes, putting in the IE9 compatibility tag makes it run, but you can’t debug it. Blech.

    • Timothy

      You’re kidding, right? Your top two bullet points for corporate concerns about Windows 10 are the lack of Aero Glass and the removal of the blinking LAN indicator? Seriously what corporation even has that on their radar at all? Your last bullet point about Excel is just flat-out nonsense. If you are experiencing hangs in Excel in Windows 8/8.1, you probably have a driver or hardware compatibility issue, or some other software is interfering. Excel is not hanging in Windows 8 due to some fundamental OS design difference in the memory paging subsystem.

    • Thanks for the feedback Rob. While all of these are valid concerns, it is still in the Technical Preview state. I’d suggest you add these suggestions to uservoice. https://windows.uservoice.com/forums/265757-windows-feature-suggestions

  • CodingChris

    I’ve been ‘previewing’ Windows 10 and I’m quite impressed with it thus far. As you mentioned, the flexibility given with ‘Modern App’ layout vs. desktop makes a huge difference. I too spend most of my time in desktop when working with 8/8.1 and it doesn’t work nearly as well as the Windows 10 version does. They’ve more closely followed the layout of 7 on the desktop. This will hopefully permit buy-in for upgrading to it from all of those who simply won’t leave 7 yet. Of course, I also like the fact that were I to write a tip calculator and put it in the store, users could find it when they need it – instead of aimlessly wondering through a billion of unrelated apps. Thank you for the article.

    • I think most developers will enjoy the new desktop mode and modern apps mixed it. You don’t have to switch between modes is a big plus for me. Thanks for sharing.

  • Sean

    I find it highly amusing that most of the above i.e package manager, multiple desktops etc, have been in the linux environment for nearly a decade, suddenly windows are doing it and its “WOW”

    • I don’t think it is as much “WOW” as it is, here is a couple of things Windows 10 added to make developers life easier.

      • puccup

        Multiple desktops has been available on windows as an external program since windows 95. for example, http://virtuawin.sourceforge.net/ It is nothing new, just like the PDF reader, I no longer have to install a separate program: it comes with the OS. What would be nice is if they had something like http://www.maxivista.com/ That would be really useful. Right now, that’s my best friend.

  • Spooky911

    I am a developer with 35 years under my belt, at 72 still work 8-10 hours a day. Was on the core level team that wrote Norton Antivirus in the early 90’s. Not try to toot my horn but trying to identify myself as “hardcore” device driver guy. Win 7 does everything for me and does it very well. I am looking for real reasons to adopt and learn “new” stuff in the O.S. arena. These features mentioned here seem kindof good but I want to hear a lot more from my fellow coders before I jump. In the past new versions from M.S. caused nothing but a bunch of grief most of he time. Things disappeared, got moved somewhere else, produced new and different results. Finally Win 7 was a pleasure to adopt, ‘specially after disaster Vista.
    What? Do I sound apprehensive?
    Microsoft did release Win 8, remember?
    What were they thinking?
    NOT!

    • Peter Adam

      Windows 7 is Vista with a clumsy, touch-almost-first interface.

    • Time will only tell. It is only a Technical Preview, who knows what is in store for the beta release.

  • Eletruk

    So far only the initial download of Windows 10 has worked for me. Any of the online updates bluescreen my computer (an Acer Transformer tablet). So far it’s unusable crap.

    • FYI: Since I don’t have the dedicated hardware, I’m running it in a VM using Parallels 10. So far, I haven’t had any issues.

      • Eletruk

        Sure, run it with the generic VM drivers. However, this is a Windows 8 Certified machine (came with Win 8 installed) and they botched up something with the drivers.

        Plus I don’t like how they deal with the touchscreen & keyboard setup. Apparently touchscreen has priority over having a keyboard which is backwards in my mind. Starts modern UI first, won’t give me new start menu (have to manually turn it on).

        • Because continuum isn’t implemented in the tech preview yet, it will work fluidly later in the builds…

  • Vishnu Bharathi

    Great article mr.Michael Crump . I have been wondering to have a package manager in Windows for a very long time.

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  • Emily Mainzer

    Information provided in this page is nice.At the same time technology is developing rapidly these days.One of the major firm in IT, Microsoft planning to release Windows 10 .In this Windows,will find the Lumia camera app.Found few details related to Windows 10.

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  • Dimitar Stefanov

    More like “What’s in it For The Power user?”. As a developer I would like to know are there new features/APIs available for Store Apps, something in those lines.