Delivering reliable and trustworthy Metro style apps


As we developed the app model for Windows 8 and the new Metro style apps, a key architectural requirement has been to deliver apps to customers that can be used with confidence–confidence that apps will be well-behaved with respect to resources, that apps will not interfere with other apps, that apps use system resources with your permission, that apps can be installed and uninstalled with ease, and so on.  These attributes require a robust platform and strong set of tools for developers.  This is an effort that requires a fresh start and cannot be retrofitted on an existing system.  Windows 8 is a fresh start in this regard.  This post details some of the work we have done at the platform level to deliver reliable and trustworthy Metro style apps.  This post is authored by John Hazen, a program manager on our Developer Experience team. –Steven

One of our core principles in the development of the Windows 8 Metro style app platform was to ensure that users would have confidence in their apps. This is a mission we’re in together; in this post, I explain our vision for app confidence and reliability and help you build confidence by design into your apps.

Let me start by explaining what we mean by confidence. Picture a customer browsing the Windows Store looking at a Metro style app; we want them to be thinking only about the app and whether or not it is right for them. We want them to assume—in fact be confident—that the app will behave the way they expect and thus will perform well on their system, will use only the data and information they authorize, and will harmoniously co-exist with their other applications.

Our goal with the platform is to help us all build great apps that embody this vision of confidence so that we get confidence by default. To that end we made investments throughout the system. Here’s how we picture it:

Diagram of factors contributing to App Confidence as enumerated in the caption

App Confidence: Windows 8 SDK for Metro style apps, Windows App Certification Kit, App Signatures,
App Container, Ratings and Reviews, Store Onboarding, Frictionless Install, Telemetry Feedback

This post covers these areas and towards the end goes into depth on our app capabilities. First, a quick overview:

  • Windows Store – For customers, it starts with the Store, their one-stop-shop for Metro style apps. To get into the Store your app is reviewed for both technical and policy compliance, including security checks. After it’s published to the Store, your app will be rated and reviewed by the community. Together, the onboarding process and community reviews help create an environment in which customers can try apps with confidence.
  • App install – Windows 8 handles all the details of deploying apps on your behalf so your customers don’t have to worry that installing, updating, or removing one app will adversely affect other apps.
  • SDK – The Windows 8 SDK for Metro style apps provides a well-defined set of APIs that help you build reliable apps that conform to the Store onboarding requirements and provide the best experiences for your customers.
  • App container and capabilities – Windows 8 provides a greater degree of separation between apps than was possible with traditional desktop apps, so you can build apps that interact with each other in more predictable ways, giving customers a more consistent experience.

We of course recognize that any onboarding process can be gamed, API sets can be abused, SDK limits cleverly avoided, and that app containers are not impenetrable. But we are confident that the investments we made in this new ecosystem will help you build apps that delight customers. This multi-dimensional approach is the most effective way to build customer confidence and we will improve each dimension over time as we learn from experience. Now let’s talk about confidence.

The Windows Store

Several folks on the team have shared quite a bit on the Windows Store Blog about the overall design and plan for the Store. If you have not had a chance yet, read about the Store, because it plays a central role in helping you connect with your customers. Let’s look at a few ways in which the Store helps build confidence in the app ecosystem.

First, the Store onboarding process establishes a consistent baseline for app quality and reliability. The technical conformance tests, contained in the Windows App Certification Kit, help you know that you meet the expected standards before you submit your app. As you and other devs continue to deliver apps that meet these standards, customers will be excited to discover and try out new apps, creating a stronger app ecosystem for all of us.

The Store also makes it easy for customers to provide ratings and reviews that will help the best apps stand out, enticing even more customers to try out the top rated apps with confidence. In the sample app listing page below, note the highlights not just for ratings and reviews, but also two other important elements of the app listing page. Prior to installing a new app, customers can see what permissions the app has once it is installed (more detail on this later in the blog). After installing an app if the customer has concerns about app content or behavior, they can easily report their concern and we can follow up with you to address any problems identified. Helping customers decide which apps best meet their needs and allowing customers to provide input and feedback is an important way to improve overall confidence in the Windows 8 app ecosystem.

Sample game app listing page on Windows Store, calling out ratings, reviews, permissions and reporting link

App listing page from the Windows Store

Finally, the Store collects telemetry data that can help you investigate problems your customers see, including the number and types of crashes they suffered. We review this automated telemetry for indications that an app’s behavior is unreliable or inconsistent with the expectations of our customers. Our goal is to make effective use not only of the individual feedback that customers provide on apps through ratings and reviews, but also provide insight into how your app is actually behaving on customers’ machines and give you the opportunity to improve your app based on this data.

In all these ways, the Windows Store is your partner in connecting you with people who want your apps, and helping them have a great experience with your apps.

Apps are just a click away

When you have your customer’s attention on the app listing page, you don’t want anything to get in the way of your customer getting your app. On Windows 8, getting an app is a matter of clicking a single button. Customers no longer have to wade through a series of questions or click button after button. After logging into the Store, when they find something they like, they just click the button, confirm the purchase, and go!

The great news for you is that you don’t have to write a single line of installation code to make this magic happen; it is all provided for you as part of Windows 8. Not only is installation handled, but Windows uses digital signatures to ensure the integrity of your app all the way from the Store to installation and even when the app is loaded and running on your customer’s computer. If Windows detects that the app no longer matches its digital signature, it guides the customer to download a corrected version from the Store.

Because Windows installs each app in a discrete location with separate and private locations for each app’s data and settings, customers don’t have to worry that installing, or removing, one app will interfere with the behavior of other apps or their computer. Customers will be more willing to try more apps than ever before, knowing that installing and removing apps won’t degrade their experience over time (in fact, with Windows 8 contracts, each app you install makes the experience better). You benefit by knowing that there is little another app might do that will damage your customer’s experience of your app.

Having a single, verifiable, and consistent mechanism to install apps not only simplifies your work, it provides an easy and positive experience for your customers, giving them confidence to get even more of your great apps. You can learn more about app deployment in App packages and deployment.

Windows 8 SDK for Metro style apps

The better experience customers have with your apps, the more readily they will try new apps and updates as you release them. The Windows 8 SDK for Metro style apps is a great foundation for you to build apps that customers won’t hesitate to install.

We put a lot of thought into the API set we offer for Metro style apps, not only to simplify the Windows programming environment, but also to provide a well-tested platform on which you could confidently build your apps, knowing they will work well with the Windows 8 Metro style app model.

Resist the temptation to find ways to invoke APIs that are not included in the SDK. This ultimately undermines the expectations that customers have for your app. APIs that are outside the SDK are not guaranteed to work with Metro style apps either in this release or in future releases, so you may find that your app doesn’t function properly for all customers. These APIs may also not function properly in the async environment that is foundational to Metro style app design. Finally these APIs may undermine customer confidence by accessing resources or data that Metro style apps would not normally interact with. For all these reasons, we have provided checks in the Windows App Certification Kit to help you catch places where you might have inadvertently called interfaces not exposed by the SDK.

While it is possible to hide or obfuscate calls to APIs that are not included in the SDK, this is still a violation of customer expectations and Store policy. In the end, we have created this platform to help developers like you to build amazing apps that work well with the system and with other apps and devices to delight customers. Working with the Metro style SDK is fundamental to your realizing that goal.

Working well together and apart

A clean installation process is important to your customers, and the SDK helps you build apps that integrate well with the system. Beyond this, customers expect a high degree of reliability from your app and our platform. We help you achieve your reliability goals by providing a greater degree of separation between Metro style apps than is possible for traditional Windows desktop applications. On Windows 8, each Metro style app runs in the context of a unique app container that helps insulate it and its data from other Metro style apps.

App containers provide a few characteristics that are shared by all Metro style apps. They:

  • Provide a dedicated environment for your app, including your own store for data and settings. You have little worry that some other Metro style app will change your app’s data, settings, or behavior.
  • Help ensure that your app doesn’t accidently interfere with the reliability of the Windows platform itself, or accidently use your customers’ data or devices in ways they don’t expect.
  • Provide a well-defined way to extend the capabilities of your app through declarations you make in the manifest and disclose to your customer in the app listing page.

Having this degree of separation makes it far easier to write apps that are reliable and respectful of the user. At the same time, we all want apps that interact well with one another. Windows 8 provides several mechanisms for Metro style apps to work with each other and with the platform to provide these satisfying experiences, including:

  • App contracts, which are the glue that binds Metro style apps together and to the system UI.
  • The FilePicker, which allows your app to interact with data the user selects.
  • App capability declarations, which allow your app to programmatically interact with devices and data, when appropriate for your functionality.

These are all well-defined ways for your app to engage more deeply with other apps and the system. The app container exists to help you deliver on your customer’s expectations of reliability and respectful use of their system and data. The constraints of the app container are designed to help realize customers’ expectations for consistent and intuitive app behaviors, and using techniques that allow your app to run code outside of an app container is a violation of user trust and Store policy.

In our discussions with developers during this preview period, we have seen apps that have misunderstood or accidently misused some of these mechanisms, so let’s go into more detail about the app capabilities in particular.

App capability declarations

The app container can be extended in a variety of ways using capability declarations, each of which is designed to enable certain scenarios. Therefore, we recommend that you use them only under certain conditions. These capabilities fall into 4 primary buckets:

  • Data libraries: By default, apps have no access to the customer’s data libraries, like the Music library, or the Documents library. We recommend that you use the FilePicker to interact with these libraries, but in some rare cases it is necessary for your app to be able to directly read and manage data in these locations.
  • Device access: By default, apps can’t use devices that most users consider sensitive for their privacy, including the webcam, microphone, and location. When apps need these devices, they must both declare their intent, and get consent from the user.
  • Network access: By default, apps have no access to the customer’s networks. Because most apps interact with the Internet, we enabled this particular capability in all the Visual Studio templates for Metro style apps. If your app needs more than just simple Internet access, you can read about your options below.
  • User identity: These capabilities provide direct access to a particular customer’s corporate logon info, or to certificates associated with their identity. These capabilities, although rarely needed, are necessary for certain enterprise apps, and you might need to use them in scenarios like banking transactions in which a smartcard might be required for authorization.

Declaring a capability in any of these categories is as simple as checking it off in the Visual Studio manifest designer. But add capabilities only if they are critical to realizing a scenario for an app. During the Consumer Preview, we saw several apps submitted to the Store that declared every capability or a capability that was not essential for the app. So, while the list of possible capabilities is relatively short, it is worth reviewing in more detail each of these capabilities and how to use them.

Screenshot of Visual Studio manifest designer, showing the capabilities tab where you can select system features or devices your app can use

Visual Studio’s manifest designer

Data libraries

These capabilities grant your app access to user data that wasn’t necessarily created in your app. Users expect apps to be respectful of access to their private data. One way to honor the trust users place in your app is by declaring only the minimum access necessary for your app. In most cases you can avoid using these capabilities entirely by using the FilePicker, through which the user can browse files anywhere on their hard drive or network. For example, use the FilePicker to provide a File open experience, or to add Save as to your app in order to give your user the opportunity to save content from your app into their library locations or to removable storage.

Manifest declaration

What it provides

musicLibrary

Provides the capability to add, change, or delete files in the Music Library for the local PC and HomeGroup PCs.

videoLibrary

Provides the capability to add, change, or delete files in the Videos Library for the local PC and HomeGroup PCs.

pictureLibrary

Provides the capability to add, change, or delete files in the Pictures Library for the local PC and HomeGroup PCs.

documentsLibrary

Provides the capability to add, change, or delete files in the Documents Library for the local PC. The app can only access file types in the Documents Library that are defined using the File Type Associations declaration. The app can’t access Document Libraries on HomeGroup PCs.

removableStorage

Provides the capability to add, change, or delete files on removable storage devices. The app can only access file types on removable storage that are defined in the manifest using the File Type Associations declaration. The app can’t access removable storage on HomeGroup PCs.

During the Consumer Preview, we saw app submissions that declared these capabilities when they really didn’t need to. For example, apps declared documentsLibrary for a variety of reasons including:

  • Storing app-specific settings in the documents library. The private store is designed to provide this function. You can learn more about app settings and storage here.
  • Store a user-generated file. This is more properly accomplished using the FilePicker to allow the user to save the file to any location, including the documents library.
  • Sharing a document with another app. The Sharing contract is designed for this purpose.

If your app is designed to be the primary handler on the system for a given file type, for example a Fax Viewer that needs to handle all .TIFF files in the user’s documents library, then declare this capability.

Device access

Many devices, like orientation sensors and accelerometers, are available to any app. But most customers consider certain devices more sensitive than others, given that they are strongly associated with user privacy. There are a lot of great apps you can build on these devices. For example, if you have a casual game that allows shared gameplay, using proximity is a great way to establish a connection between devices.

Because these devices are closely coupled to user privacy, Windows 8 ensures that if you declare the capability, the customer will be prompted to approve this access the first time your app tries to access the particular device. For example, if your app offers mapping, you likely want to access the customer’s geolocation data. The first time your app tries to get this info, the customer sees a prompt to approve your app’s access. This approval sticks until the customer decides to explicitly remove the access through Settings at a later time. Because the customer can decline your app’s access to these devices, even if you have added the capability to the manifest, design your app to handle the lack of access gracefully. For example, if the customer has denied your app access to the built in GPS, you could simply prompt the user to select their location from a map.

Manifest declaration

What it provides

location

Provides access to the current location, which is obtained from dedicated hardware like a GPS sensor in the PC or derived from available network information.

webcam

Provides access to the webcam’s video feed, which allows the app to capture snapshots and movies from connected webcams.

microphone

Provides access to the microphone’s audio feed, which allows the app to record audio from connected microphones.

proximity

Provides the capability to connect to devices in close proximity to the PC via near field proximity radio. Near field proximity may be used to send files or communicate with an app on a nearby device.

Network access

Most apps need an Internet connection, so the Visual Studio templates for Metro style apps include the internetClient capability by default. If your app doesn’t need to communicate over the Internet, you should remove this capability. The internetClientServer capability is generally used in peer-to-peer (P2P) scenarios like gaming or VOIP, but unless your app must open a port in the firewall, don’t use this capability. Use the privateNetworkClientServer capability when your app needs to communicate over private networks, for example between devices within a home, or over a corporate network connection.

Manifest declaration

What it provides

internetClient

Provides outbound access to the Internet and networks in public places like airports and coffee shops. Most apps that require Internet should use this capability.

internetClientServer

Provides inbound and outbound access to the Internet and the networks in Public places like airports and coffee shops. This capability is a superset of internetClient. The internetClient capability doesn’t need to be enabled if this capability is also enabled.

privateNetworkClientServer

Provides inbound and outbound access to Intranet networks that have an authenticated domain controller, or that the user has designated as either home or work networks.

User identity

Most developers don’t need these capabilities. Use of these capabilities will be highly restricted and subject to additional onboarding policy and review. But there are cases where such capabilities are necessary and appropriate, for example some banks require two-factor authentication and need to allow customers to provide a smartcard that carries a digital certificate that confirms their identity. Other apps that are designed primarily for enterprise customers rather than consumers might need access to corporate resources that cannot be accesses without domain credentials.

Manifest declaration

What it provides

enterpriseAuthentication

Provides the capability to connect to enterprise intranet resources that require domain credentials.

sharedUserCertificates

Provides the capability to access software and hardware certificates, such as smart card certificates, for validating a user’s identity. When related APIs are invoked at runtime, the user must take action (insert card, select certificate, etc.). This capability is not necessary if your app includes a private certificate via a Certificates declaration.

Building confidence

Customers want to safely enjoy Windows 8 and the apps you build. The Metro style app experience is designed to make it easy for you to build apps that everyone can try and buy with confidence. This sets up a constructive cycle where people love and buy lots of apps that then generates opportunities for developers to create and deliver even more great Metro style apps.

As I noted at the beginning, we’re in this together; we are confident that the collective investments we made in this new ecosystem will help you build apps that people will be delighted with, and we look forward to partnering with you in delivering amazing new experiences to our joint customers.

–John Hazen

Comments (84)

  1. Russian Five says:

    I am looking forward to the changes in the upcoming Release Preview!

    Keep on keeping on.

  2. Suraj kc says:

    Looking forward to improved, fast and functional metro apps in the release preview

  3. Ilija Injac says:

    Wonderful! It stays quite exciting! Thank you guys.

  4. Paul from Italy says:

    Interesting, keep improving Windows this way!

  5. ReMark says:

    There is a bit of confusion between Windows Store (metro), Windows Marketplace (phone) and other marketplaces (pc games, pc softwares, windows versions, hardware etc…), Xbox, etc…

    With the union of the IDs (Microsoft Account) more things are now simplyfied, but markets… In Europe we need to go to xboxLive to buy something > download Microsoft Games for Windows Marketplace > download the game.

    it's really messy and confusing…

  6. The Lord says:

    how much will Win8 cost???

  7. Neticis says:

    Oh.. lastly after Linux, Mac and Android, Windows also got appstore.

    Will it include open source packages also?

  8. Wonderful! Thank you guys for all your hard work. Looking forward to start testing and writing how to's on Windows 8 Release Preview.

  9. ReMark

    Thursday, May 17, 2012 9:27 AM

    #There is a bit of confusion between Windows Store (metro), Windows Marketplace (phone) and other marketplaces (pc games, pc softwares, windows versions, hardware etc…), Xbox, etc…

    Good point.  You've described a very serious problem at Microsoft.  There was MS Works and there are MS Office versions (PC and Mac). Their files aren't completely cross-compatible.  There is Outlook Express, Various Outlooks, Live Mail and soon just Mail.  Their files aren't completely cross-compatible. There have been various MS music services and now, as ReMark pointed out there are multiple marketplaces.

    Really Microsoft? Can't you guys just get your act together?  How about one word processor and one spread sheet capable of reading any product you've offered. How about one mail service capable of importing and merging all mail from any MS mail application past or present.  How about one app store with different departments depending on the machine that is accessing it.

    Please decide on one thing and do it right.

  10. NM says:

    very informative & useful, terrific stuff.

  11. I got half way through the first paragraph. I gave up. Use a spell checker.

  12. ReMark says:

    @AZJack  

    Totally agree.

    Another problem in Windows software is "this software exists?".

    I know Expression and other programs (like the software to build panoramic photos) from Google, a nice """store""" in future Windows could list these free software (like Movie Maker etc…) like the current Windows Store lists apps (productivity/security/etc)

    So:

    - markets

    - IDs(fixed)

    - software redundancy

    - software not sponsorized

    Time to fix.

    PS: a bit off topic, but Gadgets in the RC/final? They are very usefull (udmeter, stats, etc…), please don't drop them, but give us the option to "block them", it's annoying move them by mistake:

    http://www.lollercoasterlab.com/…/windows-gadgets-how-can-i-lock-them.html

  13. “SDK – The Windows 8 SDK for Metro style apps provides a well-defined set of APIs that help you build reliable apps that conform to the Store onboarding requirements and provide the best experiences for your customers.”

    Why could you not have incorporated these refinements and functionalities into standard desktop apps?  You made most the improvements via VS and the underlying architecture.  I don’t understand why the applications MUST be Metro based.

    “•App install – Windows 8 handles all the details of deploying apps on your behalf so your customers don’t have to worry that installing, updating, or removing one app will adversely affect other apps.”

    Was that not the purpose of the Windows Installer service?  Why make this sound as if it is something new when you have already done similar years ago?

    “The Windows Store”

    As if people had a hard time finding application in the past.  If you really wanted a central location, why not just build a simple website where developers could post installers.  Just as you are already doing with WHQL signed drivers, you could have done the same with a simple web site.  You could have created a WSQL (Windows Software Quality Lab) where developers would submit applications and get a seal and signature similar to WHQL thus providing customers with the confidence the software application met certain benchmarks.  You don’t need a store for that.  Likewise, why does the Windows App Certification Kit only work with Metro applications?  You mean you, MSFT, could not extend that to certify desktop applications?

    I guess I will have to wait until the Release Preview (as if “Release Candidate” was a bad name in the past) to see how this really pans out.  Really, as a MSFT evangelist, I hope that this “new” direction works out; presently, I just fail to see how.

  14. Gunjan says:

    Most of applications require little to no internet connection apart from updating (which is handled by Store) or some telemetry data (In Consumer Preview). It would be better if Apps gracefully handle situation when user prohibits internet connection access. Currently its not possible with current apps, either they work or they don't. Also Data Library access (write and delete) is far to much for applications which might misbehave. Apps which access these must have more stringent review process.

  15. I have an off-topic question.

    Why are comments locked on older blog posts?  This is not a real deal for those of us who have been following the blog since inception.  What about people who are just getting turned on to the Building Windows 8 blog?  Are you saying that their comments, opinions, and questions don’t matter?

    A friend of mine just became aware of the blog a couple of days ago.  Why can he not make a comment to the “Making Windows Media Center available in Windows 8” post—that was just posted two weeks ago?  You just posted “Redesigning chkdsk and the new NTFS health model” SEVEN DAYS ago and already the comment section is locked.  Is this how you judge feedback?  With it being based on the promptness of the comments?  That does not seem to be a fair representation of the people you need to hear from.

    I don’t know of any other blogs that stops taking comments after a newer post is posted.  Especially after only a couple of short weeks.

    It makes me wonder if the collected telemetry data is not similarly altered to fit whatever paradigm deemed necessary.

  16. I see the benefits and advantages of Metro-style apps over desktop apps for customers who want to experience a rich ecosystem minus all the technical hassles. Combined with Reset and Refresh which will preserve Metro-style apps, I think it's a huge step forward in making computing very easier for casual users. The work done under the hood to ensure a smooth experience for the end user is amazing. Thanks team. But, Microsoft must realize that power users also need the full versatility and choice Windows offers.

    For example, one very disappointing change made in Windows 8 is that ALL app installers or the apps themselves, including desktop apps can no longer programmatically configure, change or query file associations or set themselves as the default for a file type or protocol! While it's understandable why this change was made – because Microsoft felt each app tried to set itself as the default and the user wasn't in control, you must also understand that most of the times it was just very convenient for users to intentionally allow programs to associate with file types automatically. Power users especially will be very angry over this change (I am already very sad and angry). In Windows 8, file type associations have to be and can only be configured manually by the user from the Default Programs Control Panel or the Open with dialog.

    For all existing apps that try to associate with file types, it's broken. They just don't associate automatically. It's very very very disappointing and frustrating. As a solution, I propose that Microsoft make this change only for Metro-style apps but keep the experience unchanged for desktop apps. Many customers *want* desktop apps to be able to associate with file types. For Metro-style apps, because it's a fresh start, this is acceptable. Please consider this Windows 8 team. It's just too disappointing and almost makes me pull my hair out when I need to set the file associations myself for each installed app from the Default Programs Control Panel. Will you *please* listen? Allow desktop apps to associate programmatically, but not Metro-style apps.

    Coming to Metro-style apps which I will surely enjoy, I want to know will the internetClient or internetClientServer capability be shown to the user, worded in simpler language? e.g. "Do you want to allow this app to access the internet to fetch information?" for internetClient capability and "Do you want to allow this app to access the internet to fetch as well as send information?" for internetClientServer capability. Or something similar. You get the idea? Because privacy-conscious users don't want to even send any data if it's possible. I know the Windows Firewall can block outgoing access of course, but given that it's a fresh start, this would be a nice improvement to disclose to the user that a particular app is going to be sending information too.

    Please consider the file association problem for desktop apps. It's just too inconvenient. I was shocked when I first came across this change in Windows 8 Developer Preview.

  17. I love app models that declare finely-grained permissions.  It makes me feel much better about installing an app when I know exactly what it could access.  This looks like a good start in that regard.  One thing I would love added to the store page is a expanded permissions section where a developer could explain why this app is requesting these permissions.  For example: I won't download an app that requests access to my documents library normally, but if the store page says why, I might.  Having a page during app submission that examines the manifest for permissions and provides a box to explain why those permissions are needed (or two – one public and one for reviewers) would also make developers think twice about requesting unnecessary permissions.

  18. ReMark says:

    @xpclient about the file association problem for desktop apps

    related:

    The old Xp way to change file types stuff (icon, description, etc) is gone away in Windows Seven, to do these few things (but basic things) users need to install 3rd-party software… (or dig in the registry, use some commands on PowerShell). Annoying.

    Simply tasks like these MUST be done out-of-the-box in a comfortable way.

    But hey, we have fun to dig in the registry and write commands on PowerShell, but sometimes… easy things must be done in a easy way!

    Allow users to fine tuning their experience. It's VERY important!

    Sorry for the OT, but where we can say this?

  19. WndSks says:

    There should be a firewall/control panel for app permissions so that even if an app wants internet access, I should be able to install this app and then DENY it internet access. It is my machine after all! (This is a issue on Android and you have to root to get this kind of control)

  20. JF says:

    Thank you for the insightful post. One issue that wasn't addressed here and that I have witnessed in the CP's store is in regards to different device capabilities. There currently is no system in place to hide apps that use features that are incompatible with the user's device. For example, an app that relies on accelerometers or multitouch gestures should be be available to a user on a desktop PC.

    Sometimes, only a portion of the app requires incompatible functions. Is there a system in place to catch apps that will not work optimally with a user's device? I would hate to purchase an app only to find out that certain functions are inaccessible to me because they are unavailable on my device.

    Ideally, I would rather all apps be written with an alternative control scheme whenever a feature is called that may not exist on all devices, but when this cannot be done, the app should not be visible to users for which it will be in essence incompatible.

  21. @ReMark, I am not talking about file types tab gone in Windows 7/Vista. I am talking about a change made in Windows 8 which means the user must manually choose the default program for each file type, no more automatic association at all. Install Office, must choose its associations. Do the same for your favorite media player, PDF reader, archiving program, image organizer, Adobe's tools etc. No third party tool can fix this. The Windows 7/Vista removal of file types tab was better compared to this as the underlying functionality was all intact, only the UI was removed. Now they are removing the ability for apps to associate on their own.

  22. JF says:

    EDIT: *…an app that relies on accelerometers or multitouch gestures should NOT be available to a user on a desktop PC

  23. CPUser says:

    @xpclient " Install Office, must choose its associations."

    Strange… When I installed Office 2010, *.doc(x) and *.xls(x) open respectively with Word and Excel without having to do anything with the Default Programs Control Panel or the Open with dialog…

  24. B8Blog says:

    @DarienHawk67 — Sorry about that.  We want to promise folks an audience with the dev team and we aren't able to follow comments on all the posts all the time.  In addition, if you notice, the longer a comment thread remains open the more it diverges from the original topic so we just close comments after each post and keep this moving forward as a dialog.

  25. Mattias S says:

    Amazing to see you completely missed to address my biggest problem with Windows – how to make sure you really, really get an application UNINSTALLED. Seeing the slow decay during normal use of your Wibdowsinstallation is painful. How many times haven't you spent time uninstalling and reinstalling broken apps only to find out that you need to clean the Regustry or delete some directory buried in you Profile….? Of course you can (and should) blame the developers but I have spent hours trying to get Office 2010 to work as well. Also broken installations… Jeeze don't get me started – why do I need 12 different versions of VC++ Runtime on my system and how do I know they play nicely together?

    Throwing all the old stuff overboard will get you to your goal of confidence, but the Metro apps I have seen so far makes me wonder how I will get stuff done…

  26. NP says:

    What I don't like about the iPhone is that when you install a new app, it sometimes asks you: "This app wants access to your location" "Don't allow or OK", or, "This app wants to be able to send you notifications" etc. etc.

    I don't like this because it does not tell me the reason why this particular app wants access to my location, camera, microphone, etc. What steps did you take to make this problem not be present in Windows 8.

    If I were you I would have required developers to provide a piece of text to be shown with every prompt requesting capability access which would give the user the reason behind this access request. For example, "This access is required to be able to show you a map of your location". And so the prompt would then change to : "This app wants to have access to your location. Explaination: This access is required to be able to show you a map" "Don't allow, OK".

    That message would be much better than the one that iPhones currently show where I don't know if I should allow an app to have a certain cabability or access or not. I don't have enough information to make an informed choice.

  27. Martin says:

    How to bypass WinRT sandbox using simple trick/social engineering :)

    forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php

    "By design Metro application cannot access underlying PC directly, only using WinRT API and available capabilities. But when you create back-end service for accessing the PC and all data there, it's basically no longer running in sandbox.

    The only "problem" is that user must manually install this back-end service, but that won't be a problem using some "social engineering":

    User downloads "PC browser" Metro app, user can browse all pictures, music and videos, using WinRT API, but the app also shows message at the bottom:

    "Download our PC browser powerpack and browse your entire PC, for FREE"

    User is redirected to web page, from where user can download classic desktop installer containing "PC browser" back-end service for accessing files on users entire PC. Once this desktop service is installed, the Metro app can detect it and use it for browsing the entire PC. User is happy, but the WinRT sandbox is compromised.

    Of course this won't work on Windows 8 ARM tablets. Using this workaround it could be even possible to build Metro apps for classic desktop apps like antiviruses, torrent/P2P clients, etc."

  28. Raymond says:

    I agree with DarienHawk67 which is why I will re-post on blog posts I could not post on due to closing. Windows Media Center 8 and windows media player. I have never heard a more dumb idea. Windows media center being only included in Windows 8 pro is a bad move on the contrary to your "data" not everyone that uses windows media center has Ultimate or the most "professional" version. Also feature overlap? Give me a break. Windows media player is used for basic tasks such as watching a dvd. A media player that cannot even watch dvd? What is the point of that? That's like saying there is already a program with a certain feature and another program you build will not have that feature. I would not want to have media player if it cannot do basic tasks. As you guys have failed to update the media player in general. It looks almost exactly and works exactly as it did in windows XP. It is still sluggish and I have failed to see any of these so called great "metro" influences. Windows media center itself has errors and works and has much the same problem as windows media player.

  29. Luke Filewalker says:

    "This app has permission to use: Your Internet connection", who gave it to it? LoL, I mean, there must be a way to change that at user's will…

    "This app was denied permission to use your Internet connection". "Change" as a clickable text to restore it trigging a UAC prompt. Easy.

  30. Julian says:

    Is there a way to have "optional" capabilities? For example, it would be useful to have an app that connects to the internet if the user wants to allow it, otherwise the app can downgrade it's functionality but still function without internet.

    Concrete scenario: very often I decide not to install an app where I do not know the publisher if it could have sensitive information and requires internetClient capabilities for syncing to dropbox for example (from experience with phone apps). If I do not intend to use the dropbox sync capability, I'd like to deny internetClient capabilities entirely to the app, but still use it without worrying that my data may be sent to a malicious server.

  31. Chris says:

    My problem with these permission schemes is they are always "Tick to REQUIRE this" I think this is completely wrong.

    First, apps might have features which not everybody uses. If someone isn't going to use a feature which requires Permission X why should they be forced to grant it?

    Secondly, time after time we have seen that this is something developers can't be trusted with. You mentioned your data even backed this up – developers just want access to everything. Look at facebook apps, "you want to read this article? That's fine but you have to give us access to all your data and all your friends data" It's terrible.

    In my opinion all Permissions should be optional, and they should also have a "Fake it" option. So if your "Learn Japanese" app insists on having access to your location (This has happened on my Windows Phone) I can click "Fake it" and let it believe I'm in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

    So I think when you install apps a developer should have the option to ask for permissions but the user should have the options

    "Allow" "Deny" "Don't Install"

    When a developer tries to use something they don't have permission to, the user should be again asked with the options

    "Allow this time" "Always Allow" "Deny" "Fake it"

    Developers should also be  allowed to justify why they want a permission.

  32. Visual Studio 11 Metro sample apps – What's Microsoft's policy / attitude towards their usage?

  33. Windows 888 nippon says:

    Thank you for the translation.

    I feel that it is the first for Windows in which early outlook is honestly so bad.

    Is it really OK?

    Please do your best seriously more.

    There was "an employee also makes a mistake" report by news of Japan.

    It is whether it is OK and an anxious place even if it sells as it is.

    (The part is quoted from the news of a certain. It is ending with translation at English. )

    ———————————————————————–

    In the event for developers of Microsoft "Windows Developer Day" held in the hotel in the city of Tokyo on April 24 and the 25th, a sight in which the company's person in charge redoes a charming call several times was caught in spite of the keynote lecture.

    Although the rehearsal of a keynote lecture should be performed carefully, I think it wrong in the design of a user interface itself to still make an operation mistake.

  34. Guest says:

    Where is the post about multi monitors ? deleted ?? why ???

  35. Windows 888 nippon says:

    They are the further postscript and a request at the comment like the point.

    Such a design will also be how if the present design is disrepute.

    What is necessary is just to introduce. Although it is anticipation by Windows9, doesn't it consist of 8?

    It was looking and this seemed to be easy-to-use.

    Please use future reference. It is the touch which unified Metro UI and a desktop well.

    Windows 9 Installer UI Concept

    http://www.youtube.com/watch

  36. App Disk Consumption says:

    I don't know if I am missing something but, the App install page does not show the "disk space" the app is going to consume. This is a must.

    The other day I was installing the Hydro Thunder Hurricane game app and since there was no indication of the disk space, the download took a long, long time.

  37. Sarvesh says:

    Will there be any option of changing the tile colors such as from green to blue??

  38. B8Blog says:

    @Sarvesh developers choose the color of their tiles.  The SDK provides a palette that we suggest developers work with.  See msdn.microsoft.com/…/hh779072 for a host of the design assets we provide to developers for Metro style apps.

  39. bzsys says:

    "Please consider the file association problem for desktop apps. It's just too inconvenient. I was shocked when I first came across this change in Windows 8 Developer Preview."

    Another major, and possibly related issue with the defaults is that there's currently no way to set a different program as your default viewer for images (for example, or another file type) opened from within the desktop than the one set to open from within Metro style apps. This is annoying as it breaks scenarios where I want to use the same device sometimes in desktop workflows and sometimes not, but generally staying within the flow I'm in (e.g. a tablet that I sometimes use docked w/ mouse and keyboard). I noticed that in DP this problem existed for web links too but that was fixed in CP – really hope it'll be fixed for file associations too …

  40. Peter says:

    The more I read about Windows 8 the more confused I get! I can't help but think Microsoft has lost its way. Windows 7 is good but needs to be simpler. Has anyone had a good technical look at PC-BSD? An operating system like this with the backing of a company as big as Microsoft would be terrific.

    Microsoft, step back and have a good look at where you are going before its too late.

    Regards,

    Peter

  41. Sounds great! Now just bring all these advantages to desktop style apps so I don't have to worry about those apps messing up my system.

  42. @Steven Sinofsky says:

    That is retarded, I hate some of those ugly colors.

    Windows 8 is dead to me.

    Aero > Metro

  43. kamesh @ indian says:

    its more interesting as day by day that this of Metro apps are working and keep on making different types of apps for the customer

  44. No name @WindowsTeam says:

    Since there are many such opinions in Japan, please hear it.

    It is feedback directly in development headquarters.

    - Make it want you to be able to display a start button (I need your help by option treatment).

  45. 1) Naming of Windows "global objects" for data containers vs. user concepts (not "global objects" … yet? – but more like global concepts)

    Although its possible to rename those libraries – a renaming that may be confusing to people, you (MS) as an opportunity to do so – now when recreating or renewing Windows in all these many ways. musicLibrary should be soundLibrary – a similar to videoLibrary (which is not named movieLibrary). Then you can have a folder soundLibrary/Music – just like you can have a videoLibrary/Movies folder.

    Same goes for documentsLibrary. If you take "telemetry" for that space, it will contain stuff similar to AppData – like VS project files an so on. It should be named something like dataLibrary instead – an then you writings can go into dataLibraryDocuments. For global objects like videoLibrary or soundLibrary those would also be available at i.e. dataLibraryvideos (or is it video?). Anyway not great, that stuff without a "global object" namespace goes into Documents … should be DATA. Documents is a special thing – i.e. more written text in those – and nominating Documents for data in general is cluttering the users workspace. Allowing for dataLibrary will fit users making their own concepts – like a user named folder, i.e. a concept containing both video, sound, text and binary files like VS-project files.

    I've spend the last 10 years of my life fiddling around with the above since my QA work in Novell R&D … don't ask me how many times I've rewritten prototypes, moved file hierarchies around and researched that domain of files organization and it's history – too see how far automation can be taken. It's possible to do it, I think – including automated life cycle management of data. What I analyzed is practical use of personal data vs. workspace data, the quantities vs. sync and different domains. I also added some more global concepts to Windows like 2-3 which will match and be able to contain most user concepts. So I think I have almost got it right. Currently I managed to move most personal data (PIM) into the userspace and put other stuff in 2 other domains. Even research including imports/exports can be automated for file hierarchies and moved around (similar to the intension in . I did it currently for a total 10 TB's of data and millions of files of course – so beyond the regular consumer.

    When I think of consumer today – or that "consumerization thing" I've begun to see nothing new happening. What I have started to realize now is that "the market never really opened for consumers" until now. A long hype of using PC's. However, most only used it as a typewritter, right? Any graphics, encoding or stuff – you needed to be more of a superuser or get somebody to help you out. My sisters husband told me, he did not know how to operate his PC (even though he had a job as young building them). He just knew how to press a button to start, then write stuff and send, open, save a file. A then use the browser …

    However, what seems interesting now – which is different from "then", is that consumers or "everybody" has recognized they need to learn how to use computers and are looking for easy oppertunities. But that's not a new thing. This just means that only now real interest in learning has come around – and eventually those users will require more options and flexibility – as they evolve or get spontaneously educated and growing their user level. If that's right, we are actually in a development perspective here, where we will be getting more complex UI's – and not simple ones levelers, buttons and so on. But in a new way may be – at the application level, not the infrastructure or under the hood engines.

    Anyway my point here is just to explain this is not about simple – but users or everybody getting into the game of being "real" users and opting on other people to drive their car or open the trunk for them (like an old incapable lady). But that's not the same as we need to grow things down – I'd rather see that we can also discover that users have started to grow. Just think of their incredible use of disk space … more complex scenarios … just don't expect to understand video encoding standards (and bureaucracy …)

    2) Will it be possible to put an icon for legacy applications in the stact screen – replacing that default legacy app tile with a more custom made Metro-like tile? You should see my Start Screen. I've gone into becoming a Windows 8 user – running my stuff on Win8 – and BTW the new Start Screen is definitely quicker to use (much in the same way the new taskbar in Win7 was much better …)

    Too the left on my Screen I have an Info-group, then Data (i.e. regular data concepts or folder from the user space or the workspace), then Creative (i.e. VS, Photoshop, NLE), then SysOps, then Devices ….

    …. and then Media groups – and groups similar to media and beyond, Media group itself contains stuff like Music, Video players – and reencoders as well (also concerned with replaying stuff). Then Games … Then Entertainment.

    What's interesting is that up till now most Metro tiles fits that Entertainment group.

    Only some default like Wheather, Maps, Email, Messenger, People, Store fits the Info group.

    Skydrive fit the Data group

    Remote Desktop fit the SysOps groups

    Except for those – and my desktop walpaper'ed tile, all my other tiles are legacy looks … and I have to scroll to the far right to see anything Metro tile … i.e. Entertainment.

    I think for most other users this wil be the same … they already use Windows … so there needs to be room for transition as well. I.e. pseudo-tiles – like just an icon promoted into a pseudo-tile or a "proxy-tile" which can reflect info from local resources like a legacy app.

    Looking forward to the RC in like 3-4 weeks.

    Regards,

    Computermensch  

    It remains to be seen where this will take people …

  46. Simon Jones says:

    What is an "Onboarding Process"? "Onboard" is not a verb in any dictionary I know of. It is right up there with "Architecting" as a useless, ugly neologism. If you ask what an Architect does he says he "Designs Buildings". He does not say he "Architects". Please use proper English that everyone can understand.

  47. Marcos says:

    Where is the post about multi monitors ? deleted ?? why ??? [2]

  48. BTW Except for Entertainment – my far right group of Entertainment apps (i.e. food recipes) in the Start Screen – I keep my groups in the Start Screen down to 2 columns (i.e. prioritize – and on my 24" screen connected to a laptop on regular use or most work hours that's something like 12 tiles for each group). Beyond what I use Win+Q to look up that app or tool I use less frequently.

    With categories for applications like Info, Data, Creative, SysOps (or?), Media (Games, Entertainment) and lifecycle mgmt. (frequency) the layout of the StartScreen could be automated – or you could just have a component in "Windows" responsible for helping you out creating that layout.

    Another problem then would be – concerned with a particular functionality of the Start Screen – only scrolls to the right – apps will try to be positioned far left. However I am in control and in my case I am sorry to say those Media-domain'ed apps will have to go far right … because of the Start Screens constrainted functionality. If just I could have defined a reference start point of entering the Start Screen, i.e. with my Info Group to left in the default presentation of the Start Screen – then I could – to the left (outside the default "camera view") have had that Entertainment group (which is likely to receive most apps in the Appstore right now – just media-stuff, i.e browse some stuff)

    Finally, regarding that reference I put to "camera view". I am an amateur-photographer and enthusiast as well. The other day I read that blog-posting with one of the designer from the "metro-team". He stated that effect has been kept out of Metro on purpose to keep out distractions. If you take camera-works like selective focus (or tilt-shift .. whatever) and may be even selective color … then that's used to select focus. So you should may be reconsider that point. I.e. S. Jobs coming from the movie-industry, you can see in MacOS when going to launch an app the background is slightly blurred – i.e. selective focus … when speaking of distractions.

    Selective focus originates from old movie production tech … at the time they did not have good lense-tech. So they had to select their view. However much like to the almost spontaneous and sudden coming of antibiotics selective focus became the norm in camera works and important today in movie production. Just see how the background is blurred and the director selects your view or focus – when watching any movie or tv production.

    So not all effects are bad – you just need to know how to use those effects …

  49. I sure hope that this is not the buildup to saying that the ONLY way people can install apps is if they are required to download and install them from an officially sanctioned store.

    If so, what baloney! I've used apps for many years with confidence from a variety of trustworthy sites and never felt that I was in any danger.

    Even if we were to suppose that an app store was a more trustworthy way to get apps. Why shouldn't I be able to install a rival app store? Are Valve not trustworthy? Or Amazon?

    And that assumes app stores are always for the best and this is demonstrably false. I implicitly trust apps meant for internal use my enterprise. Why should I waste time throwing them up on a store and endure some random person to "review" it without any means to gauge if it is trustworthy or not? I implicitly trust apps from large vendors such as Adobe, Oracle, Mozilla etc. so what possible reason is them to wish to jump through the hoops and certification a store will impose?

    Why shouldn't I be able to install apps directly by any means and be responsible for whatever the consequences to a device I've bought and paid for?

    The point if it's not obvious is locking down ANY version of Windows 8 is going to be incredibly bad news. It's bad news for consumers and it's bad news for Microsoft. Android demonstrates you can have an open architecture but still support an official store.

    So don't do it. There is no reason to and excuses about "confidence" won't fly with anybody.

  50. Taking "for all" (consumers – or just people), user concepts and automated infrastructure, selection – and growing ambition to learn and raise your level then it all boils down to motivated use. "I can do thus I will" rather than "I failed thus I will not". Build spontaneous interest …

  51. Alex 7 says:

    "and BTW the new Start Screen is definitely quicker to use (much in the same way the new taskbar in Win7 was much better …)"

    THIS IS THE BEST JOKE I EVER READ IN MY LIFE!!

    Are you a MS employee forced to write smthg worthy about Windows 8?

    In our company still use Win Xp, we slowly move to 7, which is the best OS and fast and very productive.

    8 will be a ugly metro non productive creation at all, maybe just for chitchatting with tablets, that i think will be more expensive than a Android one, so the best choose will be Android, economic, completely open source with no limitation at all.

    1 LOOSE

    8 will be unusable on notebooks and desktops, why i choose 8 for using Photoshop, Excel, Firefox(not metro apps) while listening music with Metro App?

    Step 1: choose your favourite music with music metro app, then move cursor to the top/bottom left waiting charm bar pops up(with limited chooseable solid colors"you call this innovation????), than push the button for start screen(or push the start button on keyboard), launch photoshop(if you find it in a big mess tiles pinned by default and not grouped automatically as 7 do, you know how much tiles create office 2010?????(and back again this is innovation????))

    Then again look so easy for your fu***ng start screen and find Excel and Firefox????(i leave by default tiles as programs create them).

    Finally i have all my programs(not metro because they will never exists(why big programs major develop a Metro app, when a actual one works better?), and Office 15 metro it is just for touch gestures) i'm usually working having at a glance on taskbar Photoshop, firefox with all my pages open, and Excel with my files opened…..

    Wait, where is my Music App???

    If i want to look at a song name? or move to another song?

    May i repeat al the steps to do my action with metro music app(opening it it covers taskbar removing all info on it just to change song?), or better say:

    Metro with standard programs is not productive at all, i preferr using media player or winamp or Vlc with Windows 7, faster to switch between programs, all info i need at a glance, no unuseful movements, no waitings….

    These words are dedicated (MS is not listening to this) to whom says the new Start screen is quicker that 7 start menu!!!

    Until MS heads will mix Metro and Desktop togheter, yes OS will be a completely fail worse than Vista….

    Noone using 7 will "downgrade" to 8, loosing more time doing everyday job with less info….

    When Microsoft Metro 1.0(windows 9, Metro has nothing to do with windows) will be out, ok let's talk back again for a maybe "7 era success"

  52. This has become about coaching and educating people … I am a coach as well and interested in spontaneous activities. How can we as a community help build eager youngsters participating in raising their levels to become at best amateur elite players :o)

    When growing ambition you will see differentiation – thus variant requirements for matching their level and raising the challenge. I.e. variant configuration of software in this case. I.e. more features for satisfying a growing repertoire reflecting the persons level and skillset. When "living" the domain like Maradonna with a football – you may see renewed or innovated stuff like a new skill coming out of that person – like a new trick in the book.

    Concerned with virtual participation – that is participation at any moment (actualization) we may be concerned with the size of the facility. I.e. you don't play 3 against 3 on a 11 x 11 person field. You downsize the field to match the play or consumerization of 3 x 3.  I.e. downscaled workspaces (more automation depend on local human resources – i.e. consumer is single person) – or organize communities, i.e. better crafted stuff than what a computerassisted workspace can do …

    Think people and growing ….

  53. >>"and BTW the new Start Screen is definitely quicker to use (much in the same way the new taskbar in Win7 was much better …)"

    >>THIS IS THE BEST JOKE I EVER READ IN MY LIFE!!

    >>Are you a MS employee forced to write smthg worthy about Windows 8?

    No I am not a MS employee or an unsceptical fan.

    I think it all depends on how you use it. I just press WIN key and hit the app I want to start – I don't have to scroll. Like the available taskbar at the bottom of the desktop. Only difference is WIN key – but I have my finger close to that button.

    That said, I have the metro tiles far ways – to the right. So may I put it in a nice way than way – but I don't really use those currently available apps during the consumers preview from 3rd parties. Alternatively I suggested they may construct the Start Screen to be able to scroll to the left from its reference starting point of entry.

    But in my experience – depending on your personal layout of the tiles or new shortcuts (whatever …), in my case the new Start Screen feels quickers.

    I was also skeptical about its speed – i.e. that post back then when MS wrote about their telemetry analytics of user navigation and stuff. Anyway I am less skeptical of its performance regarding navigation – when I am disregard any need to scroll far right. I don't have to do that – using that prioritized layout (2 column groups containing max 12 tiles) and a 24 inch screen. On the laptop 13" I can still access 4 groups without any paticular navigation i.e. scrolling – those groups are Info, Data, Creative (i.e. development) and system administration which are my main domains. BTW I could not have that many shortcuts available in a dashboard like overview on the taskbar.

    Anyway try to rethink or redo your layout on the Start Screen. I am skeptical that MS did not add a component or templates responsible for heloing layout'ing that Start Screen. It means users will have to get help may be … i.e. dissatisfying for them. Categories for apps supporting the computations in that kind of automation I've suggested to them before these posts …

    So if it can please you – consider that sceptical too. I don't think one should "learn" how use the Start Screen … Windows users have lots of apps already.

    Users transitioning to Mac will soon have a problem too – i.e. the same kind of clutter at program start – but also the new gatekeeper activated by default coming up in Mountain Lion. It will not let you run software not being pulled from Apples syndicated content. Not just a security thing time will proof – that's my gut feeling. Reminds me of telcos ambition to control content and eventually raise prices. Apples a content thing … anyway when those users contact me in a few years or so, they'll need to pay me well to get their content out in cumbersome ways. For some people it's their decision to go that way – and they won't listen. To bad for them …

    Hopefully MS – like positioned inbetween Google and Apple in this case of lockin up customers – I hope they will be more of a Google case, i.e. adding security while allowing for free exports/mports of content.

    MS – still my favorite supplier of software … they still know their role in the value chain and can keep their head down from time to time. Never mind the branding …

  54. de@iru.ch says:

    I hope you find a way to let me port all my Java & OpenGL code to Metro easily. IKVM? But what about OpenGL?

  55. Gavin Greig says:

    Slightly off-topic, but there's some key documentation that I and colleagues have failed to find. You've got some great information about how to use touch in Windows 8, but it's not easy to find out the keyboard/mouse equivalents and some aren't obvious. Please do more to surface this information; something equivalent to your "Touch interaction design" document (msdn.microsoft.com/…/hh465415) would be a good start.

  56. No name(@Microsoft) says:

    Although it is not related to a report, please also strengthen the Chinese measure against a pirate edition.

    Such talks are only truly troublesome.

  57. @Computermensch I think the Metro launcher in the consumer preview was broken. Just install 40 or so apps and observe what happens. Those 40 or so apps represent maybe 150 icons (executables, readmes, help files, uninstallsers etc) sprawled across 3 or 4 horizontal screens as a big linear list of ugly brown tiles. Who does that README tile belong to? Your guess is as good as mine, especially if you made the mistake of trying to manually order the list losing. I can't even zoom the tiles out to a level which fits more of them into the display since metro insists of rendering massive tiles onto my 24" display even though I could comfortably show 10x as many tiles.

    The metro launcher also consumes the entire screen meaning that your mind loses any visual reference of where you were when you opened it. It's also very clumsy to open via the mouse since you must ram the mouse into the corner and click. Miss even by a pixel and you do nothing. Miss by a few pixels and you end up opening Internet Explorer by accident.

    I am hoping a lot has changed since that consumer preview. I am hoping that tiles can be grouped (mimicking folders in the start menu), and that users can zoom in or out to suit their preferences, and that tiles can be multiple selected and sorted by some reasonable means, and that Metro is opened more like Expose or GNOME 3 without requiring a click. and that there is some kind of "mini" Metro that overlays the desktop rather than taking me away from it. Failing that I am hoping that the existing W7 start menu remains for those who don't want to deal with Metro. Metro *could* work on the desktop and I hope it does but in the consumer preview it most definitely did not.

    I'm sure it works great on tablets with fingers, but not for mice. I don't accept either that just because there are some windows key shortcuts that it excuses the inadequacies of the mouse experience.

  58. @locka99 I agree. Those tiles should not be directly posted to the Start Screen but i.e. inferred – like just the program or even a special group for "incoming" programs that you can decide to have wherever you want it or disable it. It could also just be something like News programs. But definitely agree the filtering of the Start Screen needs to be much better. I used automatic deployment of apps from a WinServer that I joined my laptop too. I recall I had to go and click on every tile to unpin it from the Start Screen. So that's real bad. Hopefully that's so obvious to MS that they have changed that?

    P.s. regarding what I wrote on Gatekeeper in Mountain Lion – that was wrong. I had that from a review online. Now I've just read the post online at Apples site. Gatekeeper is the equal of code signing in Windows i.e. obtaining a developer certificate so the OS can identify and thus authorize program execution. Nothing to do with restricting people to Apples appstore only (as I initially wrote …)

    Let's see … does the API's for manipulating some behaviours in the start screen come out at least?

    Let's see what comes out next months and hopefully – if not there, MS will API's so the Start Screen can mod'ed or enhanced. If they do not want to do it – why keep everybody from experimenting with making that facility work better? Why keep people from improving its quality? That I do not understand … if anybody researches for imprrovements … they have that interest or is dissatisfied … why keep them dissatisfied? If those API's had been open – we had already seen a lot of stuff being written about getting enhanced …

    The desktop space is such an important facility – i.e. new taskbar in Win7, new Start Screen in Win9, mission control in MacOS … that the nessecary API's should provided to support innovation and renewed stuff in that area. It's such a decisive matter for people and much of the potential for automation lies around there.

    So why not provide the API's? If MS is "developers, developers and developers" – many of us with a background in Computer Science . .. why the heck not open them API's?

    That's why everything is just going so slowly … let's speed up, man … it takes forever … over 10 ten years … decades to get real new and interesting stuff. Google is Linux … decades of old, stuff we get …

    … and nobody will allow us to do anything about it. So MS are you pro-developers? Pusblish a framework to help optimize the Start Screen – i.e. even the background "wallpaper" rendering and keep the code managed. I.e. less problems with sysperformance and require it to be certified through the appstore may be using an additional test or two.

    More stuff beyond basic functionalty …. i.e. beyond I can add a tile to the Start Screen or the system adding adding ALL tiles to the Start Screen.

    Let's see … a few weeks … and when a final SDK comes out … will we be allowed to enhance that Start Screen (if MS wont finish the job – how can that pass through QA? They're only concerned with hard errors?) …

  59. "Resist the temptation to find ways to invoke APIs that are not included in the SDK."

    Yeah right, fun advice. Especially fun since even you don't follow it, if the current debate around Metro IE versus Mozilla and Google is any indication. I guess no matter what APIs Internet Explorer uses, I am supposed to regard it as "reliable and trustworthy" because it came from Microsoft. Mwahahaha…

  60. Josh says:

    A Start button in the desktop part of Windows 8 is ABSOLUTELY needed. There's no way to improve that thing, if you remove it, you worsen the desktop experience, don't you think?

    I want my applications like in Windows 7, there's no way to remove it and say that it improves the experience.

    Put a "Windows 7 desktop mode" option somewhere that restores the desktop 100% equal to Windows 7's for users that don't want to worsen the experience on their desktops, it's free and won't cost you anything at all.

  61. Josh says:

    I forgot to say, Windows 7 desktop mode could live together with Metro UI.

    Pressing the Windows key on keyboards or tablets will show the Metro interface, clicking or touching the Start button will show the program list as in Windows 7.

    Easy and free.

  62. Simon says:

    (Repost with slight modification as no sign of first post yet.) m(_ _)m

    Firstly, I'll apologise for how obvious I hope the answer to this question is! Just to clarify though, the blog states that an app that has been granted access to the documents library can add/change/delete only those files which had been registered with the file type association declaration. Am I correct in assuming that we are talking about only those file types that the app has registered itself to handle – not just any registered file types? (IE if a metro calendar registers for docs library access and registers itself for .calendar files – it cannot then read my ms word registered .docx word documents.)

    If this is true, then I would find it useful to know which file associations an app will make and can then read.

    If not, and an app could read/modify/delete everything within the docs library, could I protect the privacy of my plans for world domination :) by creating a "Private Docs" library for those files that I wish to keep both safe and private?

  63. jader3rd says:

    Thanks for creating an ecosystem which makes managing my computers programs way easier.

    I do have an issue with the location information though. Many apps want to know my location, I presume because they want to serve me adds. But how much of my location do they get to know? I don't want to know my exact location, if it's just to serve me local ads, I'm fine with it knowing the current zip code I'm in, but I'm not fine with it knowing my exact location.

  64. So Windows 8 marketplace is only for metro apps… that's a disappointment. The desktop and metro apps/interfaces are not really that closely woven into each other than expected. It would be nice to have a system wide update system, just like in Linux. You still have to update all the desktop applications separately  instead of having it centralized.

  65. Alvaro says:

    Developers want access to everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    The App should justify WHY they need X or Y (in the Store or in the App itself)

    The user should be able to deny certain permissions but install the app anyway (with limited functionality if it must), this days i feel  that its "Their way or the Highway"with Apps….

  66. Disappointed user says:

    Using it right now and it's so limited in the Metro UI. What do I do in the Metro UI? I want to use the desktop mainly.

    Desktop should always be the primary thing, Metro the secondary, not vice-versa. Otherwise it's so wrong…

    Or say it clearly that Windows 8 is targeted only for tablets, but say it clearly, don't lie as usual.

    I'm on a desktop PC, I do everything in the desktop, I don't care using Metro. I can't see a better use other than the desktop use on a PC or notebook PC…

    I have all kinds of applications in the desktop, I don't need to go back to Metro to read a PDF file (I can use Acrobat Reader or Foxit Reader) then come back to the desktop and so on for EVERY kind of application. It's hard to believe that 90% of people will enjoy Windows 8 on a notebook PC, it's really hard to believe. Only 10% will enjoy Windows 8, and they are tablet users or slate users.

    Get it?

    90% against 10% and you make an operating system than only 10% or less people will use? That's weird.

    You should have improved the Desktop, mainly. I know you want to compete with the iPad, but the Desktop is IMPORTANT.

    Tablet users will buy Windows 8 for the possibility to use the Desktop and to carry around their files (work files, presentations, etc…), not for the Metro UI, do you get it?

    Probably a touch oriented Desktop is the solution, not another interface on top of it (Metro).

    And a switch for tablets that enables the touch oriented desktop.

  67. Byd says:

    great work, but we do have some issues.

    Its proven fact that app development does not make money (arstechnica.com/…/ios-app-success-is-a-lottery-and-60-of-developers-dont-break-even.ars ). The potential is still there but platform owners like apple, MSFT etc are not being very innovative or engaging to help developers monetize and continue make money, and make windows ecosystem more compelling.

    Please add the following features to the store:

    1. Demo Videos within the screen shot and description section. Animation ads have higher click through rate online and prove to be far more compelling.

    2. Increase app pricing to allow developers to break even quicker and hedge against monetary inflation also allow flexible prising model to fight against currency falcuations/risks by allowing a range for increasing and decreasing prices based on anticipated currency falctions.

    3. Have dedicated windows store magazine app or website, filled with articles relative to the software development, from consumer, business, IT and NPA/NGP/government specific apps. or revamp "radmond magazine"/"visual studio magazine" to allow engagement between users and software producers.

    4. Discount by 5% for use of microsoft advertising to promote apps. help developers market their products, offer a paid short course if you have too.

    5. Publish problems on the magazine app from society, business, governments etc that need a software solution, this will function like a 'think tank' where user post the problems and seeking solutions, any developer that solves this gets rewarded from purchases. Remember products (including software products) solve problems in society that’s how to make money, not some massaging app that no one needs or solve any problem.

    6. offer a paid course on how to design apps and make money, and how to manage design projects, maintain and further develop apps, consumer relationship management, ethics, international commercial law topics such as copyrighting, patents, sale/licensing contracts etc. this very very important since it seems most app developers lack a lot of professionalism and its visible through the products they come up with and how the engage with the end user.

    7. Increase the number of payment methods, have ISP carrier billing (broadband cell phone companies using cell phone call credits), many developing country users don’t have access to credit cards, and therefore wont be able to buy any thing from the store, else have a direct cash bank deposit to an account in that country. Do what ever it takes to have anyone in any country pay for the app they need else all your efforts will be fruitless.

    8. Allow desktop apps in the store too  (yes they might not have interragtion features as metro), but use the affiliate commission model so MSFT can earn for each purchase. The reason so many desktop developers are moving from windows to iOS and android is because they where not making money because there was no central store even though Vista was suppose to have including windows 7 but it never came to pass, which drove developers away, so please have desktop apps in the store too, and have a blog on how to update old desktop apps for new windows and hardware (dual core etc) they have invested a lot of time and money on, allow them get a return on previous windows investments. Along the way they start creating metro apps too.

    9. 'Click to compare' features are also very important in the store, in this case user can only compare apps in the same catagory e.g (survey-software-review.toptenreviews.com ) one way to achieve autometically is by allowing developers fill in an app feature form. this wll then be comapered to other similar apps under the same category or subcategory.

    10. 4 rating stars should be 1. MSFT technical rating (how well it fits into your criteria of how an app should be using a technical percpective) 2. consumer rating 3. tech community rating (other developers in the windows store can rate it) 4. avagerage of the three above.

    11. the ability to sell budle apps at discount price and option to sell individualally, and change it back at will.

  68. byronG says:

    Nice work MSFT Team, "people First!" as you say, but if only developer carried them same ethos too.

    There are various problems with the metro task bar (the list of open apps): 1. Many desktop apps have file or edit or other right at the corner of the hot pixels, therefore the user is continually activating it by mistake. 2. App switching does not have a back button when swiping through apps because you are using the stack method. 3. Metro task bar, uses a preview method, which is too big an takes to much space. Solution: 1. Have metro task bar similar to classic, using icons, with the ability to toggle through them using active buttons on the task bar, and also give option to still use swiping too at the users choice. 2. Have forward and back buttons on the metro task back to give the ability to move back and forth. 3. Use metro icons, similar to classic task bar. The thumb switch will always exist and is active when the user freezes the metro task bar and hides it. Also give apps the ability to windows for various reasons, such user sensitivity to flashing objects when switching full screen to screen. please view this for clearity. http://www.flickr.com/…/7222390770

  69. Windows 8 fails usability test on Desktops and Laptops, unfortunately.

  70. MikeK says:

    "it is possible to hide or obfuscate calls to APIs that are not included in the SDK" – does that mean I can load system DLLs dynamically, call whatever exported function I want, and get away with it as far as Windows 8 is concerned?

  71. win8CH says:

    As mentioned above increasing prising for apps is the best way for developers to profit and break even quickly.

    there are many developers in many countries world wide, so its very important to help them hedge against currency risks/flactuations this kind of techniques

    can be the life line for a software company to succeed or fail in the market during a time pariod, the best way to do this is using Metatrader(http://www.metaquotes.net, metatrader) to automate this hedging techiniues with the developers account techniques.

    Yes MSFT services are fregmanted both in the consumer side and the developer side as mentioned above. One way your competitor, "the fruit company" wins is by having a clear unified line of products within a product, one store, one mail app, etc most of its products are not mind blowingly innovative at all, its how they put it things together, and making all that technology work together as if one unit.

  72. DX says:

    It won't matter if they do or not.  Metro is crap.  Since MS has clearly stated that we have to have Bob 2 and have no choice in the matter I won't have to worry about it.  I know that any systems purchased by the state I work for will be scrubbed of it and Win 7 will be installed till either MS introduces a tool that will either give you the option to BURNiNATE Bob 2 in Win 8 "Charms and the other PLAYSKOOL crap) or simply drop it all together in Windows 9.  Yeah MS blind yourself with all the crap your committees and "focus" groups have told the management.  This sack of offal will hurt way worse than Vista and possibly even worse than Bob 1.0.

  73. McCauley says:

    Is there support for Bluetooth SPP in RT? I cannot find info any where on this.

  74. Xero says:

    @McCauley, the near-field communication Proximity API supports Wifi/Blutooth and much more.. you can raise such questions on MSDN forum and find about WinRT APIs on MSDN library.

    msdn.microsoft.com/…/windows.networking.proximity.aspx

    Proximity API is for Metro style apps.. In desktop apps, you can connect the device with managed code apis (for Java, .NET, whatnot). Otherwise you can hook the device driver if you want to gain the low-level access.

    If you are looking for Bluetooth profiles support, checkout the Hardware specification requirements for Windows 8 (msdn.microsoft.com/…/hh748188) Download the "Windows 8 Device Requirements" pdf and see the "Device.Audio.Bluetooth.DriverReqs" section:

    "1. Bluetooth SIG Qualification The Bluetooth Audio driver must pass the necessary Bluetooth SIG Qualification tests required by the Bluetooth SIG for the profiles listed in the “Bluetooth Profiles” section above."

    So, given the SIG's SPP certified device, it will work with Windows 8 and WinRT programming model.

  75. Interesting? says:

    Interesting that you need to explain this all. As if "If you don´t get our way of doing things now here is the explanation". Metro should explain it self.

  76. It all sounds nice for the first install of an app, but it gets messy with all the updates/upgrades. A comprehensive "changes list" management right in the core of the app platform would be nice; I'd specifically like to see a list of changes from the version my device has installed to the new version the app platform has, which can be *several* versions ahead. Some app platforms today only list the changes only from the latest version, which I might not have. All the same, upgrading an App should tell me which permissions ("capabilities") *changed* -added or removed- from my installed version, instead of just listing the new set of permissions.

  77. @xpclient –

    You don't ever ask your Phone to pick Mime types so why does Metro need to restrict apps to open when you open files on the desktop, but you still have control panel to configure it.. just not from Metro Start screen settings.

  78. 007 says:

    Kill the MetroBS !!! It is BS and will always be BS – at least on a desktop computer ! FAILURE !

  79. I think the key here is the "Uninstall" feature. As administrator, I'm tired or reinstall OS because bad apps always interfer with OS or other apps.

    If you really want to make a good OS, you should make two different registry (regedit), one for the OS itself, another one for apps from third party companies (not MS).

    Same with services, you should complete separate services from MS and third party (like services.msc and appservices.msc)

    Also You should separate Program files (like ProgramFiles, ProgramFilesx86 and APPsProgramFiles folders).

    Same will go to temp files and everything needed to separate original OS files/programs/updates and third party software.

    And just to finish and make perfect OS, it will be nice to make a report about what sh1t have a third party software installed (registry keys, temp files, folders, services, and so on). Making simple to uninstall and get back to a state where that app were not instaled without the need of making complete/incremental backups everytime we install something.

    I don't care if this feature is added on windows 10, but please consider this as a must to be done.

  80. @CPUser, You weren't asked for Office because for file type extensions that don't already have any associated program, the apps that tell Default Programs "Hey I can handle this file type", are registered that file type. But if you already have an app associated with file types, and you install another app that handles those same file types, now in Windows 8, its installer can't automatically register that app as the default. You will have to go to Default Programs Control Panel and set that app by default. Just an added inconvenience. Already, the Open With dialog (which set the "UserChoice" registry key) was enough for apps to not override user choice. The removal of *automatic* associations just makes this more inconvenient.

  81. I think that you are forgetting about open source here; what will happen to the open source community?  What if the license model in the store doesn't comply with the GPL, LGPL, MS-PL, and others?  restrictions and things like that are not going to help open source developers enter the metro world, and if you really want to succeed, then you should allow open source metro apps.  

  82. I just hate it from the bottom of my heart :)

  83. •Storing app-specific settings in the documents library. The private store is designed to provide this function.

    Practise what you preach. Microsoft products are just as bad as others for writing data to the My Documents folder. "My Games", "My Received Files", "Visual Studio x"…

    visualstudio.uservoice.com/…/2312281