Does anyone actually care about WinRT?

March 20, 2012

If ever there was a blog post that ensures I will not be awarded the Microsoft MVP award again, this is the one. Not that I care…

Windows 8 was announced and distributed as a developer preview back in September of 2011. There was a short burst of excitement in the blogosphere about WinRT, which is the supposed replacement for the Win32 platform.

That fizzled out pretty quickly.

Recently Microsoft released the Windows 8 consumer preview. The most notable responses to this have been an overwhelming dislike for the new look and feel of Visual Studio, and a series of criticisms of Windows 8 for its usability by the average PC user (such as this video).

That hasn’t fizzled out yet.

Even firmly entrenched Microsoft developers, such as many of us in the XAML Disciples (formerly known as the WPF Disciples), have expressed a lack of interest in learning WinRT. See this Disciples thread which veered away from its original topic (an announcement of some WinRT feature) into a series of thought-provoking explanations of why people are not bothering to get into WinRT. The general consensus on that thread is that if you lack confidence in the prospects of Windows 8 and, by extension WinRT, why bother learning it? Why not spend your time and energy learning more successful and in-demand technologies, whose futures look bright and promising?

I am not saying that Windows 8 will fail spectacularly, nor am I saying it won’t. All that I can say with certainty is that the .NET developer community is decidedly not flocking to it, and that should be very concerning for Microsoft.

I think that WPF is the safest bet these days for Windows desktop developers. I can’t see enterprise software leaving the Windows desktop any time soon, and I certainly can’t see it migrating en masse to Metro for the PC. I think that we will start seeing more and more enterprise software being written for tablets, in particular the iPad.

If you have a compelling argument that proves me wrong, I’m all ears (well, all eyes, since this is a blog…).