Originally Posted by Shidell
Your questions are valid--they're the same questions everyone has been asking. This paradigm shift was a huge focus at Microsoft's conventions this year, and as an attendee, here's what I can share:
- Metro applications are designed to support both touch as well as keyboard and mouse input. They are designed to be full-screen, or "split-screen" with another (supporting) Metro application, as a fragment.
- Microsoft's put very strong tools in place to help. The framework for building Metro apps is very complete, and builds on the existing Windows platform, supporting not only .NET, but also C++ as first-class citizens.
It is tremendously easy to create powerful Metro apps quickly, because Microsoft is providing a wealth of building blocks so that it's more akin to assembling applications rather than writing them all from scratch. These tools are designed to be easily accessible by touch but equally support mouse and keyboard input, and only show in context--they are not always visible, but only when the software wants to display them, or when the user wants to see a context of options for the current application.
It might be hard to imagine. I suggest trying the Metro interface with touch input, that's the only way to really get a tactile feel for how the components work.
We seem to be talking past one another!
First, I understand the Snap Screen in Metro -- I have the Taposé app (MS Courier) on my iPad and it is quite nice. But, it is no replacement for [unlimited] resizable, overlapping windows used by Windows, OS X... On the desktop, it is not unusual to have, say, several WP, SS, text, browser (whatever) windows open at the same time.
I always assumed that Metro had 1st class, modern, developer tools -- though not as mature as iOS or Android.
But those tools are for new (or newly-reimagined/rewritten apps).
Take an application like PhotoShop, AutoCad, MS Word... Are they going to be rewritten [in their entirety] as desktop-compatible Metro apps (or a family of metro apps)?
I don't think so!!
I can point you to several example where companies are taking the "concept" and some major features of a legacy desktop app and bringing it to the tablet paradigm -- but they are different apps with a different codebase. Their capabilities are a subset of the desktop apps, and are not compatible in both directions.
Here are some majors that have iPad apps derived from desktop apps:
Let's take Apple's Pages (WP) desktop application for example -- there are many things in the desktop version that are just not present in iOS iPad version.
Now, let's assume that Apple's developers understand their apps and developer tools as well as MS'. Apple made tradeoffs in their apps for the tablet -- MS will have to make tradeoffs too (as will Adobe, AutoDesk...).
That's for Metro...
Now, The Surface Pro, running Windows 8, is an MBA (or UltraBook) WannaBe, but it really is a hybrid tablet/netbook at [expected] UltraBook prices. There is just not enough substance in the Surface Pro to support the legacy desktop apps in the manner in which they have become accustomed.
Are the major developers going to rewrite/repackage their existing apps for the Surface Pro (as well as for the Surface RT)? I don't think so -- where's the $ in doing that? Even if they do decide to make a Surface Pro version, there will be feature and compatibility tradeoffs.
So here is what I suspect will be required to run an application on "Windows Everywhere" (except WP7):
MS Word* Desktop application
MS Word* Surface Pro application
MS Word* Surface RT Metro app
* Substitute any Company and major legacy Windows application
That's three different application products. Will any developers want to write and maintain 3 different code bases just so they can run "Windows Everywhere"?
How will these products be priced?
Here's the deal... Will, say, Adobe see enough potential in the Surface to write a variant of Photoshop for the Surface Pro?
What's in it for Adobe?
I don't think there is any potential there, when you consider that a user can already run full Photoshop "as-is" on an MBA or UltraBook... and run it well!Edited by Dick Applebaum - 7/3/12 at 12:09pm