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Windows 7 Developer Guide: The Best of Windows and the Web

With Windows 7, it’s easy to get connected and stay connected. Windows networking offers developers options for better caching and sharing of data to improve network performance. Network diagnostics in Windows 7 give developers relevant information for monitoring network issues. Whether the goal is to connect devices, connect to a network, or simply understand the status of your connection, Windows 7 provides an enhanced platform. 


Windows 7 provides a powerful, highly extensible, and manageable platform for building and integrating the Web services and applications of the future.

Windows 7 offers both managed-code APIs and native APIs for building and running web services. A variety of new features are built on top of a new extensibility layer that allows developers to extend all APIs, in native code or within the .NET Framework.

Windows 7 also lets developers take advantage of better caching and searching capabilities. With these enhancements, developers can retrieve data faster and reduce network bandwidth usage.

Windows 7 Developer Guide

Windows Web Services

With Windows Web Services, you can create applications that communicate easily with a local computer or a remote web service. Windows Web Services is a native-code implementation of SOAP and provides core network communication by supporting a broad set of the web services (WS) family of protocols. Windows Web Services is a peer to Windows Communication Foundation (WCF – managed-code web services), and provides a high-performance subset of WCF functionality. Windows Web Services provides the following benefits:

  • The ability to build native code web services in C/C++ in Windows client and server.
  • Extensive integration with Windows Communication Foundation services.
  • The ability to build web services with minimal startup time.
  • The ability to build services based on the core WS family of protocols and W3C standards.
  • The ability to use web services in resource-constrained environments.

Distributed Routing Table

Windows 7 makes it easier to build sophisticated peer-to-peer applications like distributed file systems and content distribution networks with the Distributed Routing Table. The Distributed Routing Table provides a secure, scalable mechanism for publishing and searching for keys in a peer-to-peer system. It can be used to build distributed hash tables and construct topologies for overlay networks.

Windows BranchCache™

Windows 7 improves application responsiveness between central servers and branch-office computers. In today’s networks, communication between central servers and branch offices is often congested, which leads to slower performance for applications in the branch office. With Windows BranchCache, clients can retrieve data from other clients in their own branch that have already downloaded the data, instead of having to retrieve the data over remote servers. As a result, WAN link traffic decreases and application responsiveness improves. The cache keeps a copy of all content that clients in the branch have requested and ensures that only the clients that are authorized by the content server can access the requested data, while preserving end-to-end encryption of the data.

Windows BranchCache is already integrated with HTTP and SMB. If an application uses the Windows APIs for either of these protocols, Windows BranchCache can help increase the performance of this application on Windows 7 without making any changes to it.

If your application retrieves the same data multiple times from a server over a WAN link and is not automatically optimized using Windows 7, it is easy for you to use the Windows BranchCache APIs to optimize your application to work faster on Windows 7 and satisfy your branch users.

These new features help reduce wide area network (WAN) traffic and latency while ensuring compliance with security mandates.

Windows Connectivity Platform

Windows 7 provides a platform that gives users ubiquitous connectivity to their data from nearly any locale. Trends in network convergence of voice, video, and data are driving the deployment of higher bandwidth everywhere. However, limitations in addressing have forced the deployment of private addressing and Network Address Translators (NATs). Windows Connectivity Platform addresses these limitations by defining a pluggable extension that provides the following benefits:

  • Enables developers to build applications to work with this technology through existing APIs in Windows 7.
  • Defines a public interface that’s a third-party NAT traversal that solutions can use.
  • Enables multiple NAT traversal solutions to coexist on the same computer in a secure manner.
  • Enables Windows applications to get better end-to-end IP connectivity.

Federated Search

Windows 7 supports searching for documents beyond the user’s own PC. Developers and IT professionals can enable their search engines, document repositories, web applications, and proprietary data stores to be searched from Windows 7 without needing to write and deploy client code. This enables end users to search their corporate intranet or the web as easily as they can search for their local files—all from within the same familiar Windows interface.

Windows 7 compatible OpenSearch support can be added by developers and IT professionals to any existing searchable web application by adding RSS or ATOM output as defined in the public OpenSearch standard ( OpenSearch description files can then be authored by developers and advanced users to define the connection parameters that enable the desktop client to create a Search Connector for the service.  

SharePoint® Search Server can also query these compatible OpenSearch services. This enables access to your search service from the SharePoint search center web interface as well.

Sensor Platform

Windows 7 has changed how developers use sensors. It includes native support for sensors, expanded by a new development platform for working with sensors, including location sensors, such as GPS devices.

Built on the Sensor platform, the Windows Location APIs are a new Windows 7 feature that enables application developers to access the user’s physical location information. The Windows Location APIs can abstract hardware, simultaneously support multiple applications, and seamlessly switch between different technologies, relieving the application developer of the burden of managing these constraints. The Location APIs can be used by programmers through the C++ programming language (by programmers familiar with COM), or by using COM objects in scripting languages, such as JScript®. Scripting support gives easy access to location data for projects such as gadgets or web pages.

Windows 7 provides a solid, easy-to-use platform for using sensor devices, such as an ambient light sensor or a temperature gauge, to create environmental awareness in Windows applications. PCs can use sensors that are built into the computer, connected through wired or wireless connections, or connected through a network or the Internet.

The Sensor and Location APIs provide a standard way to discover sensors, and to programmatically access data that sensors provide.

The Sensor control panel lets users enable or disable sensors, control access to sensors that might expose sensitive data, view sensor properties, and change the descriptions of sensors.

The Sensor Class Extension is a core part of the driver development model for the Sensor platform. It provides the following mechanisms, which are used when writing a User-Mode Driver Framework (UMDF) sensor driver:

  • Integration with the Sensor platform
  • Security enforcement

Internet Explorer 8

The evolution of the Internet has introduced new sources of rich information and more ways to access it. This growth has created new opportunities, experiences, online services, and standards to the Web. With this intensity and reliance, Web developers face an evolving set of needs, which Internet Explorer 8 addresses in three key ways.

First, Internet Explorer 8 provides real-world interoperability with other browsers and compatibility for existing sites. It includes enhancements to the core platform and architecture, offering improved performance, safety, reliability, and compatibility. With previous versions of Internet Explorer, developers and designers have sometimes noted that Internet Explorer has had its own interpretation of Web standards and the way the browser handles HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), scripting, and so on. In some cases, interpretations were decided upon because Internet Explorer supported certain features before corresponding standards were finalized. If those standards change as they are finalized, Internet Explorer’s implementation can vary from what the standard specifies. With Internet Explorer 8, the decision to support legacy behaviors versus strict standards will be put in the hands of developers by enabling you to select the rendering mode on a page-by-page basis.

Second, Internet Explorer 8 makes Web development faster and easier with built-in developer tools. With advancements in support for Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) applications, as well as improvements that simplify the process of building cross-browser applications, Internet Explorer 8 enables developers to be more productive when building the most robust Web applications possible.

Finally, Internet Explorer 8 enables experiences that reach beyond the page through new browser features that effortlessly connect users to innovative Web services. Internet Explorer 8 features a set of integrated developer tools that are a component of the browser. As a result, performance is improved and no memory is used when the tools are not running. The integrated Developer Tools make it faster and easier for developers to develop and troubleshoot rich content sites. Internet Explorer 8’s Standards mode layout engine was also built with the CSS 2.1 spec in hand and full compliance in mind, helping developers to easily support the latest standards while having the option to fall back to Internet Explorer 7- compatible (or earlier) behavior if necessary.  To assist developers in taking full advantage of the elements offered by HTML 4, Internet Explorer 8 provides upgraded support for several presentational elements. For example, the Q element represents an inline quoted string, and the object element may now represent any “object,” including images. Through improved support for these and other HTML elements, Web developers can deliver more expressive and accessible HTML markup.

In addition to the improvements made to the underlying platform and developer experience, Internet Explorer 8 introduces new features that deliver new opportunities for Web developers to extend their experience beyond the Web page. These new features are enabled through community standards rather than building custom client code that is not interoperable across browsers.