Microsoft’s Windows is the most widely used desktop operating system worldwide. Operating systems are software systems that make using computers more convenient for users, developers and system administrators. They provide services that allow each app to execute safely, efficiently and concurrently (i.e., in parallel) with other apps. Other popular desktop operating systems include Linux and Mac OS X. Popular mobile operating systems used in smartphones and tablets include Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS (for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices) and BlackBerry OS. Figure 1.5 presents the evolution of the Windows operating system.
Windows in the 1990s
In the mid-1980s, Microsoft developed the Windows operating system based on a graphical user interface with buttons, textboxes, menus and other graphical elements. The various versions released throughout the 1990s were intended for personal computing.
Microsoft entered the corporate operating systems market with the 1993 release of Windows NT.
Windows XP and Windows Vista
Windows XP was released in 2001 and combined Microsoft’s corporate and consumer operating system lines. It remains popular today—according to a 2012 Netmarketshare study, it’s used on more than 40% of Windows computers (netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0).
Windows Vista, released in 2007, offered the attractive new Aero user interface, many powerful enhancements and new apps and enhanced security. But Vista never caught on—today, it has “only” six percent of the total desktop operating systems market share (that’s still a pretty significant number; netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0).
Windows 7, now the most widely used version of Windows, includes enhancements to the Aero user interface, faster startup times, further refinement of Vista’s security features, touch-screen with multi-touch support, and more. Windows 7 had a 44% market share, and overall,Windows (includingWindows 7, Windows XP and Windows Vista) had over 90% of the desktop operating system market share worldwide (netmarketshare.com/operatingsystem-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0). The core chapters of this book use Windows 7, Visual Studio 2012 and Visual C# 2012.
Windows 8 for Desktops and Tablets
Windows 8, released in 2012 provides a similar platform (the underlying system on which apps run) and user experience across a wide range of devices including personal computers, smartphones, tablets and the Xbox Live online game service. The new look-andfeel features a Start screen with tiles that represent each app, similar to that of Windows Phone—Microsoft’s operating system for smartphones. Windows 8 features multi-touch support for touchpads and touchscreen devices, enhanced security features and more.
Windows 8 UI
Visual C# 2012 supports the new Windows 8 UI (previously called “Metro”) which has a clean look-and-feel with minimal distractions to the user. Windows 8 apps feature a chromeless window—there’s no longer a border around the window with the typical interface elements such as title bars and menus. These elements are hidden, allowing apps to fill the entire screen, which is particularly helpful on smaller screens such as tablets and smartphones.
The interface elements are displayed in the app bar when the user swipes the top or bottom of the screen by holding down the mouse button, moving the mouse in the swipe direction and releasing the mouse button; this can be done with a finger swipe on a touchscreen device. We discuss Windows 8 and the Windows
You can sell Windows 8 UI desktop and tablet apps or offer them for free in the Windows Store. The fee to become a registered Windows Store developer is $49 for individuals and $99 for companies, however the fee is waived forMicrosoftDreamSpark program students (see the Preface). For Windows 8 UI apps, Microsoft retains 30% of the purchase price and distributes 70% to you, up to $25,000. If revenues for your app exceed that amount, Microsoft will retain 20% of the purchase price and distribute 80% to you.
The Windows Store offers several business models for monetizing your app. You can charge the full price for your app before download, with prices starting at $1.49. You can also offer a time-limited trial or feature-limited trial that allows users to try the app before purchasing the full version, sell virtual goods (such as additional app features) using in-app purchases and more. To learn more about the Windows Store and monetizing your