Beta Experience - The pleasure of testing
Windows Vista and 2007 Microsoft Office release
Windows Vista and Microsoft Office Beta Experience Newsletter Number 2, April 4, 2006 MSDN
Alexander Holy  
Welcome to the second edition of the Beta Experience newsletter!

It is April now and the next CTP (Community Tech Preview) of Windows Vista still a few weeks out. If you do not have access to the latest CTP (February CTP, Build 5308) you can still download WinFX and the Windows SDK and start developing WinFX applications on Windows XP.

Nevertheless we want to give you an idea what’s coming up in terms of user interface changes and improvements. Have a look at the videos demonstrating present versions of Windows Vista below.

But User eXperience is not only about new features. As developers, we need to step back and rethink what is useable and user friendly, instead of just adding flashy effects. The Windows shell team has done a lot of background work and I want to present you an example how we are reworking dialogs in Windows Vista.

While it is likely your current developer workstations will work just fine with Windows Vista, several people asked for hardware recommendations. So if you need to purchase new hardware before Windows Vista ships, it might be helpful to keep an eye at the proposed requirements for the Windows Vista Hardware Logo.

Alexander Holy
Chief Editor for Windows Vista content
Developer & Platforms Group
Microsoft EMEA Beta Experience Team

2007 Microsoft Office release
Video Richard McAniff   
Yes folks we now have a real name for Office “12”.

The 2007 Office release: It's more than you think

The 2007 Office system is a breakthrough solution platform that includes clients, servers, services and tools. Built on XML and a set of new extensibility technologies, it gives you the solution building blocks you need to meet today's business demands more quickly than building from scratch.
Back in January Dave Webster had the good luck to interview Richard McAniff, VP of Office Data and Business Intelligence in Microsoft. Richard shows off some of his favourite UI features in Office Excel 2007 and gives some insight on where we are going with the product, how we build it and our commitment to Access as a product and to VBA. Click here for the video!

Later this spring we expect to ship Beta 2 which will be our first widespread public beta. As soon as the bits are available to you we will ramp up the content of our newsletter to include sample code you can try for yourself, and more in depth scenarios. In the meantime enjoy the video and as soon as Beta 2 comes out we will let you know.

Windows Vista sessions and demos

You might be wondering what's in it for you, when your organization should start evaluating Windows Vista and when you should set up a pilot. This session will give you an introduction and overview of the features that Windows Vista will offer. You will get a clear picture where the big changes are and what direction Windows client operating system is taking.

So you did not find time to install a Beta yet? You are wondering what all the talk about the new User Experience is? How working with Windows Vista will differ from using XP today? Tony Krijnen demonstrates Vista key features from a User perspective:

Windows Vista Demo Part 1, 36 minutes
Windows Vista Demo Part 2, 24 minutes

More Resources for Windows Vista UI Design

Make your applications look good on Aero
Aero Effects   
If you have seen or tested Windows Vista builds, no doubt you will have noticed the distinctive Aero look. It’s creators describe 'Aero' as an acronym for 'Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, Open & approachable'.
In our role as a developer or software vendor we want to make sure our applications are looking as as the new OS itself. Read more...

Windows Vista and WinFX Betas

The most recent available Build is 5308 (February CTP, available for download to MSDN subscribers).
You can develop WinFX applactions on Windows Vista, Windows XP SP2 or Windows Server Server 2003 SP1. The most recent WinFX Build is the January CTP. You can install it both on the 5308 build of Windows Vista as well as on Windows XP SP2 or Windows Server 2003 SP1.
In order to setup up these componets, first install the WinFX runtime, then install Visual Studio 2005 or the free Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition.
In order to develop WinFX application you will have to download and install the Windows SDK. If you want graphical support for Windows Presentation Foundation in Visual Studio, you have to install Visual Studio Extensions for WinFX (optional). If you want to develop for Windows Workflow Foundation, install the Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for Windows Workflow Foundation (optional).

WPF cover   
Programming Windows Presentation Foundation is the first book on building Windows XP/Vista User Interfaces using Windows Presentation Foundation (aka WPF, aka “Avalon”). And it might as well be the only book you need on WPF. Read more...
As author Chris Sells points out in his Blog, the book now ships in Japanese as well!
Monad cover   
Monad (Monad Shell, MSH) is the name of the next generation command interpreter for Microsoft operating systems. If all your previous scripting experience is cmd.exe, the book has excellent examples how to apply familiar constructs to MSH. But MSH goes far beyond what you can do with today’s command environment. It handles the registry (accessible like a file system) equally well as XML files. Read more...

Guess the Launch Date Contest
Guess the Launch Date Contest  
From December 2005 until end of February 2006 people from various countries in Europe and Middle East could participate at a contest where they had to guess the Launch date of Windows Vista. Most people guessed that Windows Vista will be launched on December 1st, on the second place is November 11th and the third most popular guess is November 2nd 2006. As soon as the official launch date is published we will notify the winners. We will keep you up to date ! A thank you to the huge number of participants!

From the Community
Adnan Hashmi   
Microsoft Windows Vista offers significantly enhanced User Experience or UX which, in addition to a far superior look and feel aesthetics, also encompasses a new means of managing and searching for information stored on the hard-drive. This article would discuss some of the new and exciting features offered by the Windows Vista UX.

Adnan Hashmi is a Windows SDK MVP, and an INETA (International .NET Association) Pakistan speaker. He is also Founder and Director of Voicability, a Speech Technology startup. Read his blog.

Calling all Developers, System builders and ISVs! The Code Master Challenge Contest launches March 20th. Build the best new application with Windows Vista to win $50,000 cash! There are no limits to what you can create, and the app is yours to keep or sell. We won’t ever ask for your coding secrets!

Learn more


Download and evaluate the Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Preview — and explore the improvements in security, user interface, and development platform.

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Don't miss the next issue! Among other things you will learn about RSS and get a Microsoft Office release overview. We will also feature an interview with Kurt DelBene Corporate VP Office Server for a discussion on Sharepoint Server version 3.0.
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