Non-blocking UI != Async. My programs do all sorts of background processing using the standard Win32 multithreading model. Win32 has the most sophisticated implementation of multithreading of any OS. Instead of taking advantage of that, MSFT threw it away and implemented the goofy Async model, which intertwines threading and UI code. It's a horrible design. And not only is it a terrible design, it also has horrible performance due to Async and the FileBroker. For example, simply enumerating files is orders-of-magnitude slower in WinRT than in Win32 (Win32 is 180 times faster). You might say, "so what, WinRT is fast enough". Not true, the MSDN forums are full of baffled devs trying to figure out why simply listing all the photos on a device takes so long. Win32 could enumerate them in 15 milliseconds while RT's lovely Async **** takes three seconds. That's a real-world impact ... now add in the requirement to actually touch the data in image file (e.g. get the photo size) and things slow to an absolute, unusable crawl in WinRT.In this fast changing tech world, learning new things It's part of the job of a developer. I'm not a developer but I see the value of the new async interfaces for file access, http, etc. A non blocking UI is the essence of a touch device.
That's why MSFT should have simply added a native scalable UI API in Win32. MSFT needs to do only what's required, not go off on some idiotic "new paradigm" that screws all the existing Windows developers. They did the same back in my day with OS/2 and after it failed they fell back to Win16 (which is the equivalent to Win32 today) and had enormous success.Implementing Winrt in Windows 7 probably is too costly. Maybe they could have made Windows 8 a free upgrade, but the OS got such a bad reputation that few would have taken the offer.
Actually, adding quality touchscreen support in Windows is a good idea. The problem is that it wasn't added to Win32 (which only has limited support) but only in the critically limited and poorly implemented RT effort.Microsoft bet everything in the success of the Surface and PCs with touchscreen. They really thought that the touch interface add a lot of value for Windows users, but sadly for them the public didn't agree.
Final nail in the WinRT coffin? The fact that MSFT's own developers rejected it. Where is freaking WinRT Office??? It has been two years since the WinRT revolution and there's no WinRT Office available. The fact that the world's largest software company, with 90,000+ employees, couldn't manage to produce a sophisticated WinRT app in two years should tell you something.
Horrible design, horrible implementation ... yet Nadella is doubling down on "Universal Apps". MSFT is going to crash and burn big time in 5-10 years.