The developer-specific features of a new operating systems tends to receive relatively little attention in the grand scheme of things, but like it or not, the release of an OS can have a significant impact on your development process.For example, you might have to review your existing applications for compatibility with the latest version of the OS, then decide whether you are willing to make the changes required to make your app compatible with it. Similarly, your company or your customers might expect you to revisit your user interface and update it so it reflects the latest UI conventions. In this article, I'll walk you through some of the common issues you might face in the wake of a new version of Windows, pointing you to official Microsoft sites for tackling these issues in Windows 7. If you aren't familiar with the changes Microsoft introduces from a developer perspective, you can find an overview of getting started with Windows 7. From there, you can link to the "Windows 7 Developer Guide," which covers basic issues for developing applications on Windows 7, including how to improve rich application experiences and how to leverage the best of Windows and the Web.
Download developer toolkits
Microsoft has released a pair of new toolkits to help developers create applications for Windows 7: the Windows API Code Pack for Microsoft .NET Framework and the Windows 7 Training Kit for Developers.
Implement Windows 7 UI look and feel
Like earlier iterations of Windows, version 7 introduces a new look-and-feel for Windows applications that will become the de facto standard for current applications. You can find some of these UI controls—such as the Windows 7 Taskbar Jump Lists, Icon Overlay, Progress Bar, Tabbed Thumbnails, and Thumbnail Toolbars—in the aforementioned Windows API Code Pack for Microsoft .NET Framework.
Is your app Windows 7 compatible?
Whenever a new OS is released, developers often find themselves scrambling to determine whether their existing applications will run on it. It is likely that your application will run on Windows 7 if it works on Windows Vista, but there are exceptions. If you (or any of your clients) do want to run or port an existing application to Windows 7, you can visit what Microsoft calls the "Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Application Quality Cookbook."
It's one thing to ensure your application can run on Windows 7, but it's quite another to ensure that it is capable of being logo-certified. To receive this logo, you must submit your application to Microsoft, which will subject your app to a series of tests that measure compatibility and reliability when running on Windows 7. You can find more information on this process, including information on where to download a logo compatibility toolkit.
The links and sites discussed in this article should help you get up to speed on developer issues pertaining to Windows 7. You might also find it useful to bookmark the default developer site for Windows. This site includes links to developer resources (many of which are included in this article), but also links to various Windows team blogs, training videos, white papers, and a contest for creating apps that show off Windows 7-specific features. Finally, you can find a developer-centric blog on Windows.