After a Couple Weeks With the New Longhorn Build

June 16, 2004
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I’ve had the WinHEC build of Longhorn for a while now and I have to say I am very pleasantly surprised.  It seems that Longhorn is really coming along.  I am very focused on WinFS programming, so I have not had too much time to dig into other interesting topics like Avalon (though Chris Sells loves the data binding) and Indigo.

The biggest change that has effected me is the lack of VS.NET.  Because of very different development schedules, there is not a version of VS.NET that works with this release of Longhorn.  At first I was a bit daunted…I have become so dependent on the tools.  I haven’t compiled from the command-line in quite a while.  Luckily, MSBuild came to the rescue.  After having been using NAnt, I was unsure what the big deal with MSBuild was and why it mattered.  I am now a big fan.  Instead of having to learn their XML syntax, I was delighted to find out that it will build based on a csproj file.  This helped me out a lot, because I know how to write those files like the back of my hand (mostly from hacking csproj’s to fix annoying problems like licx files remaining after you remove a reference).

Once I could build, I started digging into WinFS, I am suprised by the sheer scope of change in this version.  I do expect it to calm down in later builds and I know it is *really* early.  What has surprised me is the pace of development by the WinFS team.  Whole interfaces have changed drasticly and concepts (chielfly relationships) seem to be redesigned completely.  Truth be known, I am not sure it is for the better yet; much of the interfaces for navigating relationships seem much more heavy handed and complicated…but I have faith they’ll get it right before it is all over.

Lastly, though I would never expect it from an early OS, the startup/shutdown time in this version is vastly improved from the PDC bits.  Since I am dual booting to Longhorn, this really helps me switch back and forth quickly.