My first development experience with Surface

Microsoft has been generating a lot of buzz with Surface and this concept of Natural User Interface (NUI).  To briefly describe it, you have to think about to the way computer applications were originally designed; with command line interfaces (CLI).  Operating systems, such as Windows, brought the graphical user interface (GUI) to fame.  GUIs have been in heavy use for the better part of a two decades, however, with GUIs there is still a level of indirection between the user and the system.

Enter NUI, which is what Microsoft is billing as the next popular form of application interface design.  NUI strives to make interaction very similar to how we interact with everyday objects; this is the goal.

Recently I had a chance to actually use a Surface and then, at CodeMash, actually learn how existing WPF code can be easily transformed into Surface ready WPF.  After about a month of speaking with my contacts at Microsoft I was finally given the go ahead to download the exclusive Surface SDK and this evening I had the opportunity to program my first application and play with the simulator.

For myself not being graphically inclined, creating these ultra rich and vibrant applications is not easy; mostly from the graphical perspective as writing code does not change much.  But it really is enticing playing with the simulator and just seeing what is possible and thinking of the many uses for these types of applications.  So I wrote a simple application that utilizes the fly out keyboard with the Surface Textbox and then says ‘Hello’ to the person who enter’s their name.

Overall, developing on the Surface is very simple and straightforward.  Having existing knowledge of WPF will certainly help, but is not required, I will keep a running update of my continuing ventures in Surface.


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