The tablet craze is really in full swing and new Windows 7 devices are being released almost every week. Consumers and business users alike are snapping up these tablets and they want to be productive with apps right away. Yes, they’re treating these wireless devices just like they’re Smartphones or iPads. As well they should! This means that aside from Microsoft Office, they’re expecting to quickly download apps from the Internet or various marketplaces without a lot of fuss. This means no DVDs.
One way to ensure fast, seamless downloads of your apps is to not take dependencies on large runtimes, installation media, or plugins that may not already be installed on Windows 7 by default. Silverlight isn’t a big deal because the plugin is very small and should download and install quickly along with your app. If you’re delivering an app that requires all the power of .NET though, you might consider using version 3.51 since it’s part of the Windows 7 OS image.
Don’t flame me for not recommending .NET 4.0, I use it all the time. That being said, if the requirments of your WinForm app are met by the features and base class libraries found in .NET 3.51, then don’t unnecessarily take dependency on 4. Your app will download, install and run without any extra steps. This is not unlike how most Windows Mobile enterprise customers over the last decade targeted the version of the .NET Compact Framework found in ROM instead of taking advantage of the extra features found in version 3.5. It frustrated me for a while, but I finally got it.
The Consumerization of IT must drive new behaviors by corporations. Speed and simplicity of app deployment to employees is one of those behaviors.