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Analysis: What would happen if Microsoft died?

Take a walk in a world without Windows

Ever wondered about what PCs and technology as a whole would be like if Microsoft's Windows didn't exist? We have. Here's our vision of a life without Windows.

Developer tools: Bloody purges and API turf wars will shape the new standards

As with client applications, the developer tools landscape will be fundamentally altered by the inevitable decline of the Win32 API.

Programmers will face a plethora of new and potentially critical design decisions, including how to create a workable UI in a world where the old Windows rules no longer apply.

The potential for freedom of expression and true innovation will need to be balanced against the reality of having to test early and often to ensure that your latest idea for a revolutionary new interface paradigm still plays in Peoria.

One of your first challenges will be achieving the level of UI richness that you became accustomed to in the pre-decline Windows era. AJAX, CSS, and HTML will have come a long way since the days when YouTube and Facebook were household names.

However, these and similar web technologies will still be restricted by the limitations of the underlying document model.
And with the world's regulatory agencies eventually banning Adobe Flash (and similar RIA solutions) for the good of the internet - which was collapsing under the stress of a gazillion animated Viagra ads - you may find your options for creating a compelling UI to be limited to strategically placed GIF images, DIV tags, and some clever use of HTML table borders and shading.

Another consideration will be how to integrate any newly designed application with the broader web.

Popular back-end data exchange APIs will abound, each with its own camp of fervent supporters, so you'll need to choose wisely.

The last thing you want is for your world-changing killer application to be relegated to obscurity due to a lack of interoperability with the rest of the cloud.

On the plus side, the demise of Windows means you'll never again have to worry if the user has the correct version of a critical DLL or library installed so that they can run your application.

Likewise, the chicken-and-egg debate over the .Net framework will be finally resolved (in favour of the chicken).

However, the days of the 'standardised' UI will be over, making the job of creating applications that work consistently, and which interact with both the user and other applications in a predictable manner, that much more challenging.

Bottom line: Expect much confusion as the newly cloud-centric world reorders itself through a series of bloody purges and API turf wars.

Navigating this minefield of fleeting pseudo standards and technology dead ends will help to separate the wheat from the developer chaff. Only the strong will survive.

NEXT PAGE: Hardware ecosystem: Chaos until a new overlord rises

  1. We look at what'll happen to tech if Microsoft dies
  2. Client applications: kiss consistency good-bye
  3. Developer tools: Bloody purges and API turf wars will shape the new standards
  4. Hardware ecosystem: Chaos until a new overlord rises
  5. Abandon all hope?

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