If you’ve read the post Windows 7.. 8.. Midori?!?, you’ll know by now that Microsoft is working on Sapphire. There’s going to be a session in PDC 2008 covering this, called Windows 7: Graphics Advances. Which is basically what ‘Sapphire’ is supposed to do that Mary Jo Foley blogged about. ( Don’t confuse this with Sapphire that was blogged about in 2003 by MJ ! )
Windows 7: Graphics Advances Windows 7 enables you to advance the graphics capabilities of your applications while carrying forward existing investments in your Win32 codebase, including GDI and GDI+. New enhancements to DirectX let Win32 applications harness the latest innovations in GPUs and LCD displays, including support for scalable, high-performance, 2D and 3D graphics, text, and images. Also learn how to leverage the GPU’s parallelism for general-purpose computation such as image processing.
According to AeroXp, Microsoft is building an unmanaged version of WinFX (at least the WPF and WCF components of it), currently known as .NET Framework 3.0. This could really make all those Longhorn concepts a reality ( note: could! ), not that Microsoft would really do that. If Microsoft doesn’t implement all those Longhorn concepts, Sapphire would really be a lost cause from Microsoft, since they themselves wouldn’t be benefiting from it.
One of the major problems with Longhorn builds was the performance, as the explorer was written in managed code, it used to be a major memory hog and crashed a lot. If Win32 will be able to take advantage of WPF ( which we think should have been the way to go in the first place), then we’ll see developers jumping abroad the WPF wagon faster then how we’re seeing with Vista. As they will be able to leverage the UI goodness of of WPF, and use GPUs to provide high performance graphics in their existing applications in coded in Win32.
This all sounds like a big dream. But then we can all just hope at the moment. One of the reasons for the negative image that Vista has, are the Longhorn concepts. They showed something that wasn’t there. And unlike old times, these concepts spread over the internet like wild fire. So if you think that an average Joe is still unaware of them, think again. ( hint: blogs and Youtube )
And for those of you who still missed these concepts, here’s a flash back from the Longhorn era. Drool over these concepts and hope for the best, as these goodies ‘might’ very well make it into Windows 7, if our speculations are correct.
Here are a few links worth checking out on Paul Thurrott’s Supersite, that really show off the Longhorn UI very well.