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Windows 7 Slates: Rapid App Deployment

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.

Keep Coding,

Rob

Sharing my knowledge and helping others never stops, so connect with me on my blog at http://robtiffany.com , follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RobTiffany and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/robtiffany

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Rob is a writer, teacher, speaker, world traveller and undersea explorer. He’s also a thought leader in the areas of enterprise mobility and the Internet of Things.

4 comments On Windows 7 Slates: Rapid App Deployment

  • I somewhat disagree with you.

    Opposite to consumer market which is highly commoditized and where this tip can be accepted without doubt, business market requirements are very segmented and each software product usually unique and tailored for for specific needs.

    So, until there is specific requirement to not install any additional frameworks (due to IT or hardware cost, for example) – the frameworks (provided installation experience is polished) are not an issue at all, even on tablet. If the program is needed – everyone in the company will download whatever is needed.

    And more, sometimes it makes a lot of sense to push frameworks “in advance”, tied with major software upgrade, for example, even no feature of that framework is used used yet.

    For example, you want to replace some screens of your app in the future with WPF. NET4 has much better WPF then 3.5SP1 (text, layout rounding!). But that will be small upgrade, feature-wise, one year down. It would be unwise to not prepare customer for that future upgrade now, when they decided to make investment in your WinForms application.

    • I hear you. My head has been so wrapped up in this large Consumerization of IT trend, that I’m always viewing employees as consumers who just brought a new tablet in the door and want to be instantly productive.

  • Hi Rob,

    Have you spent time with any of the new Windows 7 slates that you can recommend?

    Cheers
    Derek

    • Derek, try out the Asus EP121 Windows Slate. It has 12″ of Gorilla glass, a fast Core i5 dual core processor, & 4 GB of RAM.

      -Rob

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