As far as software products are concerned, it's not just the solutions themselves that need to be tailored to the next iteration of Windows, it is also Windows 7 that needs to adapt in response. According to Microsoft, the goal with Windows 7 is not only to ensure that all Vista-compatible applications will continue to work, but that even broken apps will integrate seamlessly with the new operating system. The Redmond company is actually rescuing Windows Vista broken software and tailoring it to Windows 7. By making sure that Windows 7 embraces Vista rejects, the software giant is attempting to boost the level of application compatibility for the next version of the Windows client.
“Along with the core tenet of ensuring that any application that worked on Windows Vista also works on Windows 7 we have a stretch goal to “raise the bar” and make applications work on Windows 7 that never worked on Windows Vista. For Windows 7, we have some good news early in the development cycle. So far we have made over 30 applications that were “broken” on Vista work on Windows 7. This means that Windows 7 will have higher application compatibility than Windows Vista. We are continuing to push this number up,” revealed Grant George, the corporate vice president for testing in the Windows Experience team.
But Microsoft is not stopping at Windows 7. The company is also promising that, as possible, broken apps salvaged for Windows 7 will also be made to work for Windows Vista. In this context, the company is looking to ensure that the fixes introduced with Windows 7 will be backported to Vista, and has flagged the resolves for possible inclusion in future updates, although no timetable for compatibility refreshes was delivered.
“We look at applications in 3 buckets. Global ISV (GISV) Applications – Localized software sold by major ISVs in several international markets as well as the United States. Microsoft (MS) Localized Applications – Microsoft software that has been localized for use in other markets other than the United States. 3rd Party Local Applications – Software where the user interface language is not-English and the application is sold in non-English speaking markets,” Grant stated.
The challenge with Windows 7 is to adapt the platform to a worldwide audience via International Application Compatibility. Over 1,200 applications localized in no less than 25 markets have already been tested on Vista's successor. This means that Microsoft is ensuring that Windows 7 will play nice with no less than 300 applications on top of what Vista brought to the table.
“Testing applications means more than just installing them and making sure they launch,” Grant explained. “Every application gets a unique test plan written for it to cover as much functionality as we can. We write test cases to cover primary and secondary application functions – for our word processing example this would include opening a file, typing a letter, adjusting formatting, save, and print, emailing a copy to someone, etc. These applications go through 6 or more test passes during the product cycle.”