Microsoft Delivers Surface Workstation SDK

Microsoft has seen significant momentum in the adoption of its Surface computer system and software over the past year. In addition, the company released a software development kit for developers to use on their PCs to simulate the Surface environment.

LOS ANGELES -- Microsoft has seen significant momentum in the adoption of its Surface computer system and software over the past year.

Brad Carpenter, general manager for software development on the Microsoft Surface, said Microsoft has seen downloads of the Surface software development kit (SDK) grow from 300 at the time of last year's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) to more than 5,000 at the PDC 2009. Carpenter spoke with eWEEK at the PDC 2009 here.

"At last year's PDC we had 60 partners working with us on Surface applications, today we have 250," Carpenter said. "Also, last year we were in two markets -- the U.S. and Canada -- with the Surface and now we are in 18 markets," he said.

However, despite the obvious boost in momentum for Surface adoption, perhaps the biggest piece of news from Carpenter's team is that the SDK for the Surface Workstation edition is now available.

In a blog post, Eric Havir, a member of the Surface team, said:

""We are announcing the broad availability of the Microsoft Surface SDK Workstation Edition. Now anyone interested in developing collaborative, engaging massive multi-touch, multi-user experiences for Surface can easily access the software at no cost through The Surface hardware is needed to deploy an application, and many use the Surface Developer units to create and test their applications directly on the device. The SDK Workstation Edition lets you use a PC to develop and a PC based simulator to test applications using multiple mice and tag simulation tools. We launched resources for developers, designers and IT Professionals.""

In addition, Carpenter said his team has taken all of its content and moved it from only being on the Surface website to being more broadly available on TechNet and the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) sites. "We're making things easier for our developer partners," he said.

Moreover, Carpenter said that when the .NET Framework 4 and Windows Presentation Manager (WPF) 4 ship next year, "We will expose our Surface controls on WPF 4 to enable developers to write applications on Windows 7 touch machines. This will help to drive the level of consistency across all Microsoft platforms and devices."

Carpenter also said Microsoft named the winner of its Touch First contest to build the best application for the surface platform. In his blog post Havir said:

""We are also pleased to announce the winner of the Touch First developer contest, with the grand prize being a Microsoft Surface Developer unit. We received nearly 40 contest entries from around the world and the judges had no easy task given all of the amazing applications submitted. Congratulations to the winner, User Interface Design GmbH in Ludwigsberg, Germany!""

The Surface computer can be found in a variety of places and markets. Microsoft targets six primary vertical markets with the technology: leisure and entertainment, healthcare, financial services, automotive, public sector, and retail, Carpenter said. The Hard Rock Cafe has several Surface computers, Vodafone has units in 62 of its stores, Surface computers are in use at the two Microsoft retail stores that have opened, and "there is even a Surface unit at a tattoo parlor where you can go in and design your own tattoo," he said.