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Putting the TouchXPRT pedal to the metal

Since we announced TouchXPRT early this year, we’ve been following a typical benchmark development path. We started with the most important question—“What are people likely to do with a touch-based Windows 8 device?”—and built from there. We looked at what people are doing now with iOS- and Android-based devices. We worked with early Windows 8 units. We studied app stores. We spoke with members of the development community. And so on. When we were done studying, we moved to coding.

We’re making great progress, but something has been nagging at us: When Windows 8 tablets and other devices ship next week, there just won’t be much in the way of tools for measuring their performance when running Windows 8 apps. Sure, you may be able use standard benchmarks to assess the performance of typical desktop applications, but that won’t tell you how the devices will perform with tablet apps.

So, we’ve decided to put the pedal to the metal and provide everyone in our development community with a special treat. Sometime next week, before Windows 8 ships, we plan to release a sneak preview of TouchXPRT, the TouchXPRT 2013 Community Preview 1 (CP1).

CP1, as its name makes clear, is not the final TouchXPRT release. It is, though, a useful tool for beginning to measure Windows 8 device performance. It is also a great way for everyone in the community to see the current state of our thinking and to provide us feedback—rather than read a design spec, you can actually run this version of the tool and see what you think! (If you would like to read the informal design spec, check out http://www.hdxprt.com/forum/touchxprt2013cp1.php .)

To make the tool easier to evaluate and more useful to all of us, we’re also taking two more unusual steps:

1.            We’re not putting any publication restrictions on this preview release. Test at will, and publish your findings.

2.            We’re releasing the source code to all community members. If you’re curious about not just what we’re doing but how we’re doing it, you can find out.

We hope these steps will speed acceptance of TouchXPRT 2013 and foster more and faster feedback. Releasing a preview version is more work, because we have to do much of the work of a software release and on less-than-final code, but we believe the value to our community justifies the effort.

Next week, when we release CP1, I’ll go over more details, the known limitations, and how you can get us your feedback—feedback we very much want.

Between now and then, we’ll be readying CP1 for your use.

Bill

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