Over the weekend Microsoft "retired", that is removed, its Windows Live Gallery, the online repository for, extensions and add-ons for various Windows Live services and products including Windows Vista and Windows 7 Gadgets.
Our headline perhaps overstates the situation - Gadgets still exist, you can download them and you can write them. But what has been taken away is the showcase where you could share them and even receive payment for them, i.e. an app store for gadgets. This seems to be another example of Microsoft overthrowing the established order in its rush towards Windows 8.
If you attempt to access http://gallery.live.com you reach a page which states Microsoft's reason for this abrupt retirement:
In order to focus support on the much richer set of opportunities available for the newest version of Windows, Microsoft is no longer supporting development or uploading of new Gadgets.
Visitors who were looking for existing gadgets will find the most popular ones still available on the Gadgets page of the Windows Personalization Gallery. Information about building Gadgets is still available in the MSDN Library and if you want to share a new gadget you've written the advice is to put it on CodePlex - which while well known to programmers is hardly a shop windows for users.
Meanwhile you are exhorted to switch your efforts to Windows 8, just as Microsoft is doing, and visit the Windows Dev Center which is now the new focus.
We noticed changes since our last visit including sections importing tools and information for developing for IE9 and for Desktop Apps for "all versions of Windows" - although this turns out to be just Windows 7 and Vista and mostly a rehash of old information. There's also a Hardware section that has driver kits. The Metro Style Apps section, which is undoubtedly the star of this show, certainly has quite a lot of new content but it is still incomplete and frustrating to use.
Even so many developers will be dismayed at the speed with which so much existing technology is being demolished and thrown out to make way for the new and the rehashed.
Getting started with Windows 7 Gadgets
Getting started with C# Metro apps
Windows 8 - the Developer's Take
Windows 8 - after the dust has settled
To be informed about new articles on I Programmer, subscribe to the RSS feed, follow us on Twitter or Facebook or sign up for our weekly newsletter.