[Update: Mary Jo Foley has posted a blog entry saying that her sources are saying that .Net will be available for immersive Windows 8 development. If true, it'd be nice if Microsoft would actually come out and say that.]
Microsoft demoed the tablet application framework for Windows 8 development Thursday. Going forward, traditional apps written in C++, .Net and other legacy technologies will be available to tablet users but utterly painful to use while away from one's keyboard and mouse. You could see a bit of that in the conference video where the presenter fumbles several times trying to snap Excel's document window into place. Old apps are going to be dreaded while in tablet mode. People will need new applications, and combined with the new application store, some developer is going to make a bundle on a touchable version of Notepad.
Why is this strange?
Three. It is conversely and perversely possible that is .Net itself that doesn't scale well in performance at least, and wasn't up to the task of being scaled up from a little phone screen to 30 inch monitors, at least in how Microsoft's OS team would have used it. Presumably, if Microsoft could have released a version of Office built off the .Net framework, they would have. I've had some tangential experience with .Net and complicated renderings, and it hasn't been good, but I'd always assumed things would work out given time to optimize.
As I said perplexing.
And frustrating for anyone seeking to use a base of code across a range of platforms. At one time, a story was building up that you could write a chunk of code in C#, and execute it on the Mac and Linux via Mono, on Java platforms via a code translator, on Android via either Xamarin's .Net framework or a Java translator, on iOS via Xamarin, on Windows Phone 7 via Silverlight, and Windows 8 tablet via either SIlverlight or extensions to .Net. Maybe it wouldn't run well, and wouldn't compete with natively developed apps, but the story was there for project managers to believe. And now that story is sounding iffy.