Today, we’re pushing once again a major update to our website. If you prefer to visit preview.changewindows.org instead of our normal website, nothing here will be new for you, if you don’t… well… not much here will be new for you either.
Desktop isn’t desktop anymore
However, there is one minor yet major change that I would like to address. Desktop has been the category on ChangeWindows with which it all started, and today, we’re dropping it. You will no longer see us reference to the Home, Pro, Education and Enterprise SKU of Windows with the name “Desktop”. Instead, we’ll now use “PC”. Why? Well, whenever we reference to “Desktop” as a hardware platform to run those SKUs on, we are actually pointing to desktops AND laptops, tablets, AiOs, convertibles, 2-in-1s and more. “Desktop” simply didn’t fit the bill, it never did. It was time for us to move on from that term, so here we are. Obviously, you’ll still see us reference “desktop” as in the software environment within Windows as that simply is its name. For now, using “desktop” in URLs will continue to work, however, this won’t stay for long.
Improved (mobile) UI
If you often visit ChangeWindows with a smartphone or other small-screen device, you’ll notice that we’ve changed the UI on a number of places. ChangeWindows will now better handle these small screens with a cleaner UI. Especially the menu got some enhancements to make it more touch-friendly on those little devices.
Some old ChangeWindows 2.x features
Todays update also brings back a number of old ChangeWindows 2 features that got lost in the transition to ChangeWindows 3. For example, it is now possible again to quickly navigate to the previous and next build. We’re now once again showing the buildstring for each release in the minilogs (not the main changelog for each build) and if a source URL is available, the string will be clickable to go to the Windows Blog announcement or KB article.
Additionally, we’ve added vNext as a build to our milestone overviews to make these changelogs accessible from all views and you’ll find a link to the vNext logs in the sidebar of our home.
Another massive management update
Like ChangeWindows 3.2, this update makes it once again more easy for me to manage ChangeWindows. You won’t notice anything from this, but I do. And it is massive. We also cleaned up our code, both Mainstage and Backstage.
Thinking about the future
Of course, we’re also looking further into the future. We’re already making plans for ChangeWindows 4, in fact, I hope to start development of this revision of the website soon. With the next major update, I would like to introduce an account system and allow you guys to change what you see on our home page and more. Plenty more things will be possible.
Universal Windows Platform App
Another thing I’m looking into is an Universal Windows Platform App. Zac Bowden – from Windows Central – recently brought the Westminster Bridge to my mind again, a bridge that I’ve played with before, which allows a website to act like an app. Ever since, I’ve been playing around with some possibilities.
ChangeWindows 3.3 already includes some code to manipulate Windows APIs when running as a UWA (mostly some customization like title bar, etc., nothing to fancy). And perhaps soon you’ll see the ChangeWindows app pop-up in the Windows Store! However, this will still be a very basic Westminster app, basically a wrapper. But there are plans to extend that. Right now, I’m looking into native notifications when new builds become available and Cortana integration, so that you can say things like “ChangeWindows show the changelog for build 14971” or “ChangeWindows show Redstone 2” and such.
I’m not saying this will materialize any time soon if the app goes live. Maybe it will always stay as a handy wrapper. But perhaps not. I hope not. And maybe, one day, we’ll have a full native app.