Well, Windows 7 is going to be released by the end of next year. This is great news, because it seemed, that Microsoft finally understand how to get the best of Windows Vista and make it to work not only on monster machines.
It even works on new brandy my wife's pinky machine. And if it works there and my wife is happy with it, this OS going to be very impressive.
But from the other hand, we, as developers should be ready today to developer Windows 7 ready application (by the way, Vista Battery Saver works for Windows 7 as well as for Windows Vista, in spite of the fact, that power management in Windows 7 was improved dramatically). So let's start!
First thing we need is to read big Windows 7 Developer Guide. This document will explain most of new features for developers to build applications right. What is includes?
Windows Driver Kit (WDK) 3.0
Basically, Windows 7 works with Vista drivers, however, hibernation, power management, networking, PREfast will work much better. You also will have new WMI access for reliability monitors and ACPI.
Management and deployment
By default Windows 7 uses PowerShell 2.0 and Windows Installer. For PowerShell it includes enhanced cmdlets to manage Active Directory, IIS, etc. For Windows Installer, you finally can build "chainers" by yourself (the same approach, used for latest deployment of Microsoft products such as Silverlight, Visual Studio 2008 SP1 etc.) Also, you can get advantage by using Windows Filtering Platform (Firewall) and User Account Control (UAC) from inside your application by using new APIs.
The most significant change in Windows 7 for end-user point of view is improved performance. Windows 7 kernel is much smaller, that kernel of Windows Vista. Also it uses specific patterns to decrease background activities on low power, based on system triggers. New user-mode and kernel-mode APIs are used by Windows Drivers Foundation much more efficiently. Also system services are much smarter. For example, DCIA starts only when you connect new hardware. After drivers were installed the service shuts down. The same approach used by domain join, GP changes, new IP fetching etc. Windows 7 knows to run and stop services, based on system events, which decreases average work load and enhances whole system performance.
Multi-touch gestures and Interia API and used interface in general
Yes, you can use this API for your applications. Finally we can have more, then just mouse. And it is not only about multiple mouse devices. We can use single finder panning, raw touch input data, internal multitouch ink recognition, which is also supports math. Also it uses build-in MathML export feature.
There are a lot of other enhancements, such as smart bars, windows' stacking, gadget desktop (it does not eat battery as external process anymore), system ribbon menu integration. etc
Direct 11, new Direct2D, DirectWrite (we can turn text anti-aliasing for small fonts, hurrah!), improved WIC, DX/GDI interoperability on system level with automatic fallback for weak hardware (yes, you should not be worry about it anymore). Also new video and audio format support with human readable interfaces. Yes, no more DirectDraw hacks. We can use new high level interfaces such as MFPlay to manage playbacks, Source Reader for decoding, Sink Writer for transcoders and re-coding compressions.
Web and communication
WCF is inside, as well as distributed routing table for peer-to-peer operations. BranchCache - new technology to reduce WAN traffic and latency.
Also Windows 7 is compatible with OpenSearch (I told, that Microsoft does not know to build search engines). Sharepoint integration and environment sensors platform, that can be used either for desktop and web applications.
There are much more features, that makes Windows 7 to pretend to be very good operation system. If you want to learn more about all those Windows 7 new features, I highly advice you to download and read this document. It includes most of new features of new OS with explanations and screenshots to make your learn and understand what can your future application do with all those new features.
Have a nice day and be good people.
Download Windows 7 Developer Guide and start programming.