Native Windows Code Is Here for a While

Posted by Kirby Turner on June 21, 2006

I’m one of those rare developers who have moved from .NET managed code to native Windows code over the last year. After living in the managed code world for years, I’ve returned to native windows coding and I find I am doing more and more native Win32 work each month for customers. Sure the products White Peak Software is writing are native Windows applications but recently customers have been asking White Peak Software to develop native Win32 custom software. The most common reason? The desire to eliminate the dependency on the .NET Framework.

I often hear, “We don’t know if the server hosting your program will have the .NET Framework installed,” or “The end users do not have .NET installed on their desktops so we need something that will run without .NET.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I love .NET. It’s a great framework, but there is something to be said for native Windows applications. And there are still many cases where a native Windows application should be written instead of a .NET equivalent. For instance, I feel .NET applications are ideal for in-house development typically found in corporations, and I feel commercial applications are typically better served as a native Windows application. Of course there are always exceptions to my general thinking, hence the recent resurgence seen at White Peak Software in customer requests for custom native Windows applications.

Don’t believe me? Think everything running on the Windows platform should be managed code? Well, individuals at Microsoft know that native Windows applications are staying around for a while. When the IE Lead Project Manager Christopher Vaughan was recently asked if components of the new IE7 would be implemented in managed code his response was, “No, IE7 remains purely native code throughout. I think as we develop future versions of IE you’ll see a larger focus on managed code, most likely to enable great plug-ins of that type for our platform. One thing people shouldn’t expect is that IE8 be re-written in managed code. For a variety of reasons, native code is where we’ll stay for a while.”

Posted in programming. Tagged in windows.

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