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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Building Tablet PC Applications













The year is 2015. You find yourself resting on a beach in Maui, watching nearby youngsters zip along the boardwalk on their brand-new Segway Human Transporters. The sound of the ocean, ever so soft and reassuring, fills the air with its soothing rhythm. Your early retirement has treated you well—it’s not a bad lifestyle at all for having invented Cheezy Dew, the world’s first and greatest caffeinated cheeze drink (the lawyers require that cheeze be spelled that way for reasons we won’t go into here). It’s a great time to continue writing your third best-selling autobiography, “Cheezy Does It.” You reach down into the icebox for a refreshing can of Cheezy Dew and grab your computer.

But what does it look like? Surely you aren’t holding a clumsy 3-pound laptop with a 2-hour battery life—it’s 2015, for Knuth’s sake! Maybe you’re imagining a quad-processor 64-bit machine the size of a credit card that’s capable of flawless voice recognition and responds to the affectionate name “Computer.” But what if, in addition to dictation, you want to draw a self-portrait of your profile for the cover (à la Alfred Hitchcock)? What you’re therefore imagining is a powerful computer the size and weight of a light clipboard that allows you to draw on it with a pen. What you’re imagining is a tablet computer.


Tablet computers have been one of the Holy Grails of computing for decades. Television and movies such as Star Trek popularized the notion of tablet computers to a broad audience of technophiles. When we imagine the future, slate-like computers with interactive screens just make sense—tablet computers are the natural and expected evolution of desktop and laptop computers. In considering tablet computers, it is not a matter of whether they’ll arrive, but when.

This book is specifically about Microsoft’s tablet computer and the Tablet PC Platform. It explains how to best use the new Tablet PC Platform API as well as how to design your applications for pen-based users.

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