In 2009 Microsoft kicked PowerShell up a notch to the next level, a move which coincided with the release of the latest iteration of the Windows client, Windows 7. In this context, July 22nd marked the release to manufacturing of PowerShell 2.0, while October 22nd was synonymous with the general availability, as the new Windows command-line shell ships included by default into Windows Vista’s successor. Now developers can also access the Windows PowerShell 2.0 software development kit (SDK) which is designed to bring to the table not only sample code, but also reference assemblies that enable the creation of applications with Windows PowerShell at the core.

“This SDK contains reference assemblies and samples that demonstrates how to use the Windows PowerShell 2.0 APIs to build a rich set of applications. In this package, you will find sample code which shows how to use the new PowerShell class, how to write cmdlets that supports eventing, transactions and jobs. In addition, there are examples of host applications that connect to remote computers using individual runspaces and runspace pools. This SDK also includes modified Windows PowerShell 1.0 samples using the modified and improved Windows PowerShell 2.0 APIs,” Microsoft revealed. More »

Microsoft has made available for download updated DirectX 11 resources tailored to Windows 7 and Windows Vista, but also additional Windows client and server operating systems. According to the Redmond-based company, the refreshed DirectX 11 release brings to the table the RTM version of Direct3D. Essentially, what it is offering is an update for the DirectX software development kit. Developers are free to grab the SDK via the Microsoft Download Center since September 8, 2009.

“The August 2009 DirectX SDK contains the first official release of the DirectX developer resources for Direct3D 11, DXGI 1.1, Direct2D, and DirectWrite. Developers can now publish and distribute Direct3D 11 applications and games that leverage all of the software and hardware features of DirectX 11 in Windows 7 and Windows Vista,” Microsoft noted. “ll headers, import libraries, and symbol files (.pdb files) are no longer marked as beta with the ‘_beta’ suffix and now link to the RTM versions of the runtimes. In addition, the HLSL compiler features for Direct3D 11 are now of release quality. The beta DLLs are no longer available in the DirectX SDK.”

With the August 2009 DirectX Software Development Kit update, Microsoft is offering developers the new Effects runtime for Direct3D 11. More »

Microsoft is pushing ahead with the final stretch associated with the development process of its next iteration of the Windows client. Windows 7 will continue to cook for a little over a month as the Redmond company is baking the RTM build, with the Release Candidate milestone continuing to be available for a taste of the platform’s final development build. As Windows 7 starts on the last yards ahead of next month’s release to manufacturing, the software giant is not only focusing on the testing for the operating system, but also on getting the ecosystem of hardware and software solutions orbiting Windows ready for the successor of Windows Vista. One aspect of the company’s efforts is the Windows 7 RC Training Kit for Developers.

“The Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers includes presentations, hands-on labs, and demos. This content is based on Windows 7 RC and provides an early peak to our final training. This training kit is designed to help you learn how to build applications that shine on Windows 7 by utilizing key features such as: Taskbar, Libraries, Multi Touch, Sensors and Location, Ribbon, Trigger Start Services, Instrumentation and ETW, application compatibility,” Microsoft explained. More »

The Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 is an integral part of Microsoft’s focus to drive a high level of application compatibility for its next iteration of the Windows client, the Release Candidate build. Still, Application Compatibility Toolkit 5.5 is by no means limited to Windows 7, as the resource also streamlines the deployment of Windows Vista and Internet Explorer 8. The resource is designed to provide a comprehensive inventory that spans from apps to hardware and even devices in order to check their compatibility with Windows 7, Vista, Window Update and IE8. At the same time, ACT is not limited to just checking the compatibility of applications and websites, but also offer mitigations to resolve issues, including Compatibility Fixes or “shims.

Jeremy Chapman, a senior product manager in the Microsoft Core Infrastructure Solutions team, explained that the Windows 7 compatibility evaluators were in fact approximately identical to what ACT 5.0 had to offer for Windows Vista. “We made the process of sending and receiving files to the application compatibility web service much more transparent in ACT 5.5. Now you can tell exactly what are sending through to the web service from your application inventory,” Chapman stated. “This is the fastest way to sync application data with the same data used in the Windows Compatibility Center. This is what you see now when using the “Send and Receive” function of ACT 5.5.” More »

Just like their precursors Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, Windows 7 client and Windows Server 2008 R2 do not feature Windows Help by default. Windows Help is a program designed to allow end users to access Help files. Microsoft has discontinued the integration of WinHlp32.exe into Windows after the release of Windows XP.  Instead, the application is available via the Microsoft Download Center as a standalone download. At this point in time, the Redmond company has informed that Windows Help will come to Windows 7 only after the next iteration of Windows will be released to manufacturing.

“There is currently no WinHlp32.exe download available for Windows 7. However, a download will be available after the RTM version of Windows 7 is released,” the software giant stated. Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 users are now able to grab the Windows Help bits in order to access .HLP files. Windows Help is only offered as a standalone program from Microsoft, and is no longer available to third-party developers to be included and distributed with their software products. But this is only valid for Vista and Windows Server 2008. Windows 7 users will have to wait after the operating system’s RTM in order to grab a copy of Windows Help tailored to the operating system. More »