“What’s the Windows 8 app platform going to look like?” Steven Sinofsky asked rhetorically, opening his keynote address at Build 2011 that September. It was the same question we’d all been asking since his bizarre Windows 8 reveal at D9 months earlier. “The Windows 8 platform for Metro-style applications lets you pick the language you want to use … What we’ve done is, we’ve reimagined the Windows APIs. And we call them the Windows Runtime or WinRT.”
As he said all this, a slide with a diagram depicting the Windows 8 platform---curiously labeled as Windows 8 Platform and Tools despite the absence of the latter---displayed behind him on stage. The diagram was, in a word, problematic. It made existing desktop frameworks and environments like native Win32 and .NET seem small and insignificant when compared to the new Metro-style app framework, WinRT. And it confused the relationship between Win32, .NET, and WinRT, making them all appear as if they interacted directly with the Windows kernel.