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Sinofsky Introduces Windows 8 Feature Teams, Shining a Small Light on New Features

We're going to be reading between the lines every time Steven Sinofsky and others on the Windows team post to the Building Windows 8 blog ahead of BUILD. But today's "meet and greet" post, in which he introduces the various feature teams working on Windows 8, doesn't really require that much thought. Here, for the first time, is a peek at some general Windows 8 features, including such things like App Store, Hyper-V, and Windows Online.

Very interesting.

"Windows 8 has new features across the full breadth of the product," Sinofsky writes, sort-of answering the big question I've been asking lately.

"We organize the work of Windows into 'feature teams,' groups of developers who own a combination of architectural elements and scenarios across Windows," he notes later, getting to the meat of the discussion. "We have about 35 feature teams in the Windows 8 organization. Each feature team has anywhere from 25-40 developers, plus test and program management, all working together."

"In general a feature team owns and builds what that most folks would identify as an area or component of Windows. 'Feature' is always a tricky word ... When we set up different feature teams, we pair the architecture (code, subsystems, components) with the scenarios (user experience) in which users will encounter it, while also working to make sure we keep teams small and manageable.  We long ago stopped trying to count new features because of the difficulty in defining a feature."

According to Sinofsky, the Windows team is organized into seven groups that pull related teams together. These groups include:

Devices and networking
Core OS
Developer experience
User experience
Web services Engineering system

Additionally, the related Windows Live group--which includes Hotmail, Messenger, SkyDrive, Photos, Windows Live ID, and more--also has a similar structure, Sinofksy notes. And the Internet Explorer group is also a couple of teams on its own, and yet still contributes "across" Windows 8, too. Which is an interesting way to put it.

Anyway, the list. Sinofsky provides the following list of feature teams in Windows 8:

App Compatibility and Device Compatibility
App Store
Applications and Media Experience
App Experience
Core Experience Evolved
Device Connectivity
Devices & Networking Experience
Ecosystem Fundamentals
Engineer Desktop
Engineering System
Enterprise Networking
Global Experience
Graphics Platform
Hardware Developer Experience
Human Interaction Platform
In Control of Your PC
Kernel Platform
Licensing and Deployment
Media Platform
Networking Core
Presentation and Composition
Reliability, Security, and Privacy
Runtime Experience
Search, View, and Command
Security & Identity
Storage & Files Systems
Sustained Engineering
User-Centered Experience
Windows Online
Windows Update
Wireless and Networking services

That's quite a list, much of it familiar, much of it not. Again, very interesting.

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