Wednesday 14 March 2012

Windows 8: Application Compatibility and Certification

I should have mentioned this before, when I blogged about the Windows 8 Consumer Preview (see post here: link), as the release of each major milestone of Microsoft's operating system usually corresponds with an updated documentation set. 

The key bit that I am interested in here is the updated Windows 8 Application Compatibility Cookbook which you can find here:

In addition to this great document (the app-compat bible - thank you Chris Jackson), Microsoft has provided a list of certified applications that compatible with Windows 8. 

As you would expect, I did a quick search on our products (ChangeBASE WorkBench) and it appears that ChangeBASE (the application compatibility automation platform) IS compatibile. And, I can prove it with the following screen-shot;
Whoot! Whoot! And, compatible with 64-BIT no less - Fantastic!

That said, Independent Software Vendors (ISV) probably need to care most about the Windows 8 certification process. You can download the latest version of the Windows 8 certification guide here:

The Microsoft certification process is actually pretty rigorous (I did it - and I found it pretty tough) and there are some interesting eligibility criteria that must be met before you start the Windows 8 application certification process including;
  • It must be a standalone app
  • It must run on a local Windows 8 computer
  • It can be a client component of a certified Windows Server app
  • It must be code and feature complete
So far, so fair - (let's ignore the middleware question for now). However, the certification process get's a little more serious with the following NEVER's;
  • Your app must not take a dependency on Windows compatibility modes, AppHelp message, and or any other compatibility fixes
  • Your app must not take a dependency on the VB6 runtime
  • Your app must not load arbitrary DLLs to intercept Win32 API calls using HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows AppInit_dlls.

The whole certification document is quite explicit about what to do to get your application certified - and, in my opinion this is probably the best place to start when determining if your application is going to work well (and play nicely with others) on Windows 8.


A great summary of the Windows 8 Compatibility Cookbook can be found here:

Certification Requirements for Windows 8 desktop apps


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