October 26, 2012 1 Comment
Microsoft is releasing Windows 8 this week, their latest desktop operating system, as well as the Microsof Surface, their first tablet computer. This will be closely followed with the next versions of Office, their mobile platform and even Xbox advancements and improvements. All of these releases signal a significant change for Microsoft, one that, as experts and analysts have discussed at great length, will either make or break Microsoft moving forward.
As a software developer that specializes in Windows technologies, we couldn’t be more excited for these changes. We pride ourselves on staying up-to-date with technology and in ensuring our products work across as many platforms as possible. We do this so that customers who stay current with their software, either by keeping their upgrade protection current or by reinstating expired versions, can reap the benefits of the work we put into each release.
So what did we have to do?
Windows 8 presented its fair share of issues. If changes to their primary desktop operating system wasn’t enough, we also have the new Surface tablet to deal with as well as the recent release of Windows Server 2012. Therefore, it wasn’t a simple matter of just making our standard adjustments and releasing new versions.
The first challenge was that the security levels in Windows Server 2012 are much higher than in previous Windows server versions. This fact meant we needed to focus more on ensuring our installations didn’t throw odd security exceptions for administrators. Therefore, we needed a bit more finesse and attention to how our products install and how they interact with both our installers and the operating system in general.
Another issue was dealing with changes in Internet Explorer 10. Microsoft changed their Web browser just as much as they changed their operating system. While it was easy to make all of our products work by running IE 10 in compatibility mode, this in not the best solution. Therefore, we had to make changes to our interface as well as the inner workings of all 3 products in order to run them natively in IE 10.
Another challenge was Exchange ActiveSync. Windows 8 includes an email client, a calendar application and contact system within the OS itself. Windows Mail provides a user with a few options, one of which is Exchange ActiveSync. We had to re-work our EAS implementation to accommodate this as we noticed that the default applications tended to continually request updates rather than request updates on a specific interval. This caused problems with connections and impacted server utilization. We made changes so this is no longer an issue.
Finally, we take pride in ensuring that all of our products work “right out of the box.” That means that we include a default Web server with each installation so that customers can get their applications up and running as quickly as possible. Getting that default Web server to install and run correctly under both Server 2012 and Windows 8 presented a unique set of problems that required an extensive amount of time to revise and test. While we were at it, we updated the Web server to be more robust, stable and faster. Keep in mind, the internal Web server is still not intended to be a production Web server like Internet Information Server (IIS), but we had to make the adjustments to make it easy for customers to begin using our products.
All in all, we’re always up for a challenge as it helps keep us on our toes. We are excited to see how Microsoft’s new operating systems, not to mention their foray into tablet computing, are received and how they will help keep Microsoft on the cutting edge of personal and business computing.
All that being said, what are your impressions with Microsoft’s products or our integration? We’re always interested to hear your opinions, so comment away..