Microsoft Servers forgetting developers?

I do development using a Hyper-V guest with Server 2016 (and 2012R2).  These Virtual Machines (VMs) are hosted on Windows 10 Professional.  This is a requirement for SharePoint development.  This is desirable for web-based development to work in a similar environment that will host these applications (even if hosted in Azure).  Windows 10 is too far removed.

So when Microsoft released Server 2016 without UWP or Microsoft Store support, that was  bit of a surprise.  That meant no Edge browser support, so we cannot test our applications against their premiere browser.  We cannot develop and test UWP applications.  So we don’t support them.

Microsoft Windows Server 1709 is Server 2016 on Build 1709 but without an GUI.  So that isn’t very useful for running Visual Studio.  That means our developers (myself included) are using Server 2016 Build 1607 because we need a GUI for our development tools.  This means we can’t take advantage of 1709 features available in Windows 10.  This includes OneDrive Files On-Demand.  Why is this feature so OS-specific anyway?  It should be a product feature that we can install anywhere.  This makes no sense.

At the end of the day, Microsoft is making it hard to support OneDrive and Edge browser.  And UWP applications.  Okay, I am better about not supporting UWP applications if Progressive Web Apps (PWA) becomes a first class development platform in Visual Studio.  But think of all of the developers who program in C# and don’t want to learn JavaScript, HTML5, etc.  They are desktop developers, not web developers.

So they have created a set of really inconsistent platforms (read: fractured) and confusion with developers on how best to support various platforms.  Or not support them because it is too hard for us.  Developers help make the platform because the ecosystem cannot survive without them.

I will take a look at moving to Windows 10 Pro VMs as a development platform.  Maybe that is the way to go, with the exception of SharePoint development (unless such can be done with the upcoming SharePoint 2019).  In years past, it was too painful to do DevOps on a desktop OS while supporting a server OS.  That is why we developed on server OSes.  Time will tell.

The New Firefox (Quantum)

In November, Firefox Quantum (Version 57) was released.  It is a big deal (at least to me now, and those that have always liked Firefox).  It is fast.  It is beautiful.  It is on a wide range of platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Linux).  And it has brought me back (at least for now) to Firefox after 6 years of being on Google Chrome (I was a Firefox devotee for many years before Chrome).  Yes, I still like Chrome (for the most part) because it is still the most used (right now) but it has become stale and bloated.  Yes, I like Edge (for the most part) because it is also fast but it is only on Windows 10 and with limited add-ons.

It feels fast when I launch the application for the first time.  It feels fast when I use it.  It has nice built-in themes (Default, Dark, and Light).  Firefox once again defaults to Google’s search engine (instead of Yahoo!).  It has a new browsing engine that takes advantage of multiple cores in modern devices.  It has moved to a unified address and search bar (sometimes I like the separate bars when searching for something it believes is a domain name), drops legacy extension support, implements stronger security (better sandbox, for example), and more touch device friendly.

I am still testing Firefox with all my websites and using as a debugging tool.  Right now, it is doing great (for the most part) and it is my default.  It will be interesting to see what the others do in response.  In the meantime, it is great to see a standalone initiative (the non-profit Mozilla Foundation) releasing such a quality product.

Windows 2016 without UWP

Microsoft would like greater UWP (Universal Windows Platform) acceptance.  Right now, only Windows 10 supports UWP.  One operating system out of many present.  Not so universal.

While it may be understandable to not go back and support older Operating Systems, such as Windows 8.1, 8, and 7, Microsoft has continued to bypass Windows 2016 (which was released after Windows 10).  Developers use Windows 2016.  Developers create UWP apps.  There is a desire to make UWP more accepted, but it doesn’t support the latest server OS.  The reasoning given is that UWP support is often updated, which is counter to server OSes.  Yet there is the push to use the most secure and fastest browser, which is Edge and not Internet Explorer 11 (talk about sending contradictory messages).

Windows Server 2016 only supports Internet Explorer from Microsoft (as well as Chrome, Firefox, Opera, etc.).  Yep, still scratching my head on this one.  And yes, still not developing UWP apps because of it.