How suitable is Windows 8 Metro for business developers?

What is Metro, Windows 8's new user interace motif, really all about? Does it fill all the needs of Windows users? Is Metro for consumers or for businesses? What does this all mean for the legacy desktop? These are some of the questions I hope to answer.

First let me say that I do not dislike Metro, and I don't want to give the impression that the new user interface is somehow terrible or a mistake. Microsoft has put a lot of work into Metro and some of the reasons for it does make a lot of sense. My perspective though as a programmer is based on the fact that the majority of software I have written over the years has been for businesses and not for consumers. Metro may very well be a success with consumers, but what about businesses?

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For a start at answering that question and to appreciate what Metro is all about, you really have to watch the following two videos (with slides) from Microsoft's BUILD conference for developers:

When you watch the videos, the conclusion is obvious. Metro is definitely geared towards consumers. Why?

What Influences Metro Design?

When Microsoft uses terms like "beautiful", "fast and fluid" and "immersive" to describe Metro, doesn't that sound more consumer-oriented than business oriented? The three influences at the core of Metro are:

  • Modern design -- Bauhaus
  • International typographic style -- Swiss design
  • Motion design -- Cinematography

What does this actually mean? In simpler terms these three actually mean:

  • Function is more important that appearance
  • Fonts (type) and icons must be extremely clear, crisp, simple and legible
  • Movement, especially with type, can exude emotion

Some people who see Metro applications for the first time, may notice certain features that are totally different than ones experienced with desktop applications on Windows 7:

  • First is the use of a lot of open space.
  • Second is the tendency towards user interface elements being very flat, rather than 3-dimensional.
  • Third is the size of user interface elements tends to be much larger than with desktop applications.
  • Fourth is the fonts seem to be overly simple to the point of not standing out.
  • Fifth, transitions (effects) seem to be a key part of Metro. When you swipe the side of the screen (touch only) and another app takes over, the screen goes through an image transition (effect).
  • Sixth, there seems to be a lot of movement in Metro.

If you watch the videos noted above, you will quickly see why this is so.

Personally, I find that while all of this is nice and exudes a bit of emotion, once you get used to it can be a bit fun. It also strongly says "Metro is for consumers". The motif is for tablets, and Metro targets consumers. Likely there will be many apps that consumers will enjoy when Windows 8 is finally released.

Metro Is Wanting When It Comes To Many Business Tasks

Why would I say this? In one video the speaker comments about Adobe Photoshop and explains that "Chrome", as they now refer to the legacy desktop, has a purpose and something like Photoshop really does better as a desktop application. Despite using terms like legacy on MSDN for desktop application development, they are also saying here that the desktop is superior to Metro for certain things, like Photoshop.

The speaker even makes the bold statement that basically the mouse is still the most accurate input device there is for computers and that the keyboard is still the fastest way to input text. Metro is geared towards touch, rather than using the keyboard and the mouse. This may explain why open space in Metro apps, with large user interface elements (ie. buttons) are the rule.

Even the name Metro comes from the idea of easy to read signs when traveling. This is the influence for the very clear type, open space and easy to read interface elements in Metro. The problem with this though is that the design used in travel serves one simple purpose. People are in a hurry when traveling and signs must be large and easy to read or the point is lost. When traveling on the highway, a large clear sign is vital. But a business user working on a computer is not in a hurry and using space effectively on a computer display is vital to productivity. True, font or typestyle clarity is still important, but this has always been the case.

The use of motion, while great for exuding emotion,  in business software can often get in the way. This is one reason many Windows users turn off things like transitions (effects) so that the display is more functional, rather than one big animation. Actually the principle of functionality and movement sometimes conflict with each other.

One thing I really don't like in Windows 8 when running desktop apps is how when you scroll in a listbox or listview control, that when you reach the top or bottom of the list, the entire window bounces up and down. Does the user really need this bouncing effect to tell them they reached the top or bottom of the list ? Windows 8 and Metro have been designed to exude a feeling or emotion when using it, but doesn't that sound more like trying to exude emotions like in a movie, rather than working on a computer? Does a business user really need this bouncing effect?

Kinetic Typography

To appreciate what I am saying, try the suggestion the speaker in one video mentioned. Go to YouTube and do a search using the words: "kinetic typography".

The videos I watched were a lot of fun, but how does this translate into doing work on a computer. This may be fun for consumers, but surely it gets in the way when doing work. Yet this is a key influence on Metro, according to the speaker.

So What Should a Business Do?

As a programmer, personally, I would suggest that businesses simply design software that works for them, even if it goes against the design philosophy of Metro. If your software requires using space effectively (like Photoshop does), then stick with building desktop applications for Windows 8. This will also provide backward compatibility on all your computers that use Windows XP, Vista or 7. The mouse and keyboard just cannot be beat when it comes to accuracy and speed of user input.

If there are advantages of building a Metro application (ie. touch on a tablet), then consider the principle of functionality as more important than some of the other principles of Metro design. If a 3D-look for user elements improves the experience, then use it. While leaving more open space than desktop applications, still try to use space effectively. Avoid all the fancy transition effects, since they look nice initially, but in the long run they get tiresome. Fancy effects do not make software better or more productive.

Use commonsense when designing software. If it makes sense, serves a real purpose and improves productivity, then build it the way you prefer, rather than feel forced to follow the Metro design style. If anyone questions your choice, then simply point out the first principle of Metro design, which is functionality. Also remember, functional does not mean it has to be bland or without design. Button controls that are 3D rather than flat, may stand out better and serve a purpose. Colors have meaning in the real world, so use colors effectively in your software. Don't be afraid to emulate something from the real world either, even if it does not fit into the Metro style of flat and bland.

In all the years I have worked on software for businesses, one thing stands out: Ease of use and functionality have always been vital. Color when used effectively can significantly improve the ease of use in software. One should design software so it does a task well and so it can quickly be learned. Don't feel forced to design software that looks and feels like everyone else's software. Design it for a reason. Use common sense. Be practical. If it works well use it, even if it does not look like a typical Metro application.

Chris Boss is an advanced Windows API programmer and developer of 10 year-old EZGUI, which is now version 5. He owns The Computer Workshop, which opened for businesses in the late 1980s. He originally developed custom software for local businesses. Now he develops programming tools for use with the PowerBasic compiler.

63 Responses to How suitable is Windows 8 Metro for business developers?

  1. skruis says:

    Was wondering when Id see another Boss article.  Are you feeling better about Metro and the future of Windows now that Microsoft's own videos praised the desktop as being better suited to 'heavy' applications? 

    • chrisboss says:

      I never said I disliked Metro. But what I discuss in this article comes from an honest appraisal of the Metro style and whether it truly fits into a business mindset. The one thing I agree with is that functionality is vital. The concepts of design in Metro can conflict with the goal of functionality when a forced metro style is promoted.

      • skruis says:

        Chris, I think you misunderstand.  I wasn't criticising you but I remember from your other articles your concern about Metro sidelining the desktop, that's all.  It was an honest question.

    • chrisboss says:

      skruis, sorry for getting the wrong impression of your comment. I tend to be a bit on the defensive at times, since comments tend to be very forceful. Yes, it is good to know the desktop still has real value. Yet Microsoft is pushing Metro so strongly, one still wonders what the future will hold for the desktop. For now, it will still be there. I do have an interest in Metro, but I need to find a non-Microsoft development tool capable of building Metro apps.

      • skruis says:

        No worries.

      • Adas Weber says:

        Metro apps which will work on both X86 and ARM are written using HTML 5, Javascript and CSS3 so you should find plenty of tools that use these three technologies together.

      • bbrewer says:

        Ada's, that was Apples original app model, before the app store, and before ms started using the term app. (HTML 5)

      • Adas Weber says:

        @bbrewer:disqus 

        I think you're forgetting that the term APP is just short for the term APPLICATION, which Microsoft has been using since almost the beginning of time.

        And yes, using HTML 5 is ONE way of writing Metro apps, but it's not the ONLY way. And that's my point - developers have an excellent choice of development routes for Windows 8.

  2. An article this long about whether Metro is suitable for business developers and no mention of something like Microsoft's Dynamics being done in Metro (not to mention Azure, Office, etc)?

    "Content before chrome" <-- actual quote from Jensen
    DOES NOT MEAN
    "Function is more important that appearance" <-- made up interpretation by Chris Boss

    Just no... no. no. no. no. no.

    3D buttons = chrome -- just so we're clear on this. Sure, go ahead and use 3D buttons in your app, but don't try and claim it is Metro.

    Unfortunately, I think unless Microsoft enforces design guidelines in the app store, I foresee an app store filled with junky crappy looking apps based on old design paradigms...*note: Of course there will be apps that just don't belong in Metro. (Visual Studio, Photoshop, etc, etc) Those apps are still going to be out there and by all means, they should use a UI that works best for them.

    • chrisboss says:

      The interpretation of "Function is more important that appearance" is based on the BauHaus concept touted in the second video, which goes more into the style and design concepts of Metro. It is basically correct. BauHaus concentrates on functionality, even to point of blandness. In BauHaus, functionality is more important that appearance or design. Watch both videos to appreciate the points in this article. Aside from the mechanics of Metro (ie. contracts), there is actually a design philosophy promoted, concepts having more to do with art and design, rather than programming. Not my ideas, but Microsofts.

    • skruis says:

      I actually think the "generic" apps available in the Marketplace will be very Metro as the standard templates (ast least for Xaml) are all heavily Metro.  Using Microsoft's templates as a basis, it's actually pretty easy to turn around a large data retrieval/display app in a short amount of time.

  3. Adas Weber says:

    @ChrisBoss:disqus 

    Don't forget that Metro and Metro Styling are two different things and it's important not to confuse them. The Metro design language is used to develop apps with a certain look and feel. However, Metro itself is basically the target platform for apps which are available from the marketplace, as opposed to those which are available for the desktop using traditional deployement methods.

    By developing for Metro, you are specifically targeting the new features of Windows 8 such as data sharing, charms bar, semantic zoom, touch, etc. The apps don't have to be Metro STYLE, but they DO have to be Metro in terms of the actual development framework.

    What this means is that correctly designed Metro business apps can actually be far superior to the traditional legacy desktop versions. Ultimately it boils down to developers properly understanding how to leverage the Metro development framework features in order to deliver business apps which meet business requirements, but also deliver an excellent user experience at the same time.

    • skruis says:

      Good point.

    • Douglas says:

      That was similar to what I was going to say, but you said it better anyway :)

      Once specific applications are designed for businesses this could be the best OS for enterprises yet. OUt of the box it's just...meh. It'll take time to develop those apps, but then, businesses generally don't react quickly to new operating systems anyway, so I think a consumer-centric initial approach was the right one for MS to take.

      • Adas Weber says:

        I agree. I think that the main market for Windows 8 was not intended to be the enterprise, mainly because enterprise has only just finished (or is in the process of) upgrading to Windows 7.

        Therefore, Windows 8 doesn't need to be adopted by enterprise. I think the target market for Windows 8 will be the new consumer touch devices (tablets, ultrabooks) where it is preinstalled. However, in this target market will be users who want to use their tablets for BYOD scenarios and this is where existing line-of-business apps could be enhanced to provide better business capability.

  4. skruis says:

    I'd also like to point out that for business, it seems a lot of the people pushing mobile forward in the corporate world would actually like to have a Metro-esque application that's more suited to touch...even if the platform primarily targets Consumers.  For example, Word as a desktop app has a rich feature which would be great if I'm using it at a desk but for a mobile interface a Word Metro app with a limited feature set would be more than acceptable.  When I think of business metro development, I see it as part of a package that would typically accompany a full featured desktop app.  This may seem like a burden to developers but there's noone holding a gun to your head.  If mobile makes sense and if Metro makes sense for your mobile application, then take advantage of it and include it in your "suite" of applications should one actually exist.  Now that I think of it, I wonder if the Store will allow "bundles" of apps (Word bundle - Word Desktop/Word Metro) to be sold as single items or if the rules will demand that they be split...or both.

    • bbrewer says:

      That a huge question on bundling. Answer is, whatever ms can make the most money doing, as always.

      Pages on iPad is pretty no compromise already.

      Metro only makes sense when you consider that ms simply could not bear copying Apples every move yet again. It was bad enough all those years we thought they would go out of business. Now, Apple's iPhone dwarf the entire company of MSFT.

      They had to do something original, this Time, finally, even if it's a load. You can just skip through it, like on a web site where an annoying ad comes up.

  5. Anthony Clark says:

    Without the ability to set up a default user profile I would not recommend installing win8 to any educational or institutional organization. The university where I work is already planning on skipping it for this reason.

    • Adas Weber says:

      Right, so your IT department is making a decision based on an incomplete preview version?

      Would it not make more sense to make such decisions based on the RTM version when it's released?

      Perhaps more to the point, how does your comment relate to the article in terms of Metro design?

      • Bladeforce says:

        If you cant work out that when the OP says business then an educational place or university IS as a business runs when it comes to IT. Just because they are not, in your head a typical business that does not mean that are immune to businesslike practices when purchasing and installing new OS and hardware and YES a lot of people and businesses will make that decision off a preview version. Judging my microsofts past betas the UI has not changed much between preview and RTM

      • Adas Weber says:

        @betanews-5f4f7141b65a730b4efb0e0d51f63e94:disqus 

        In that case, those businesses making a decision based on a consumer preview are completely stupid. Seriously, any sensible business will need time to evaluate a product, and you can't do that unless the product is actually complete!!!

        The clue was in the name of the release - CONSUMER PREVIEW.

        Even when it goes RTM, most business will need at least several months to evaluate it properly, and some will need a lot longer.

      • Bladeforce says:

        Again you previously stated to another user "does nobody read the topic" before answering. You seem to have disregarded the point that I said Microsoft have never made a huge UI change in any of their betas before retail release. If they want to make a change let the user decide between the horrible metro UI or a traditional desktop. Anyway you misread my point then call others for misreading the topic, quite funny. This version of windows will be passed by a majority of businesses mark my words. Has everyone forgotten how health & safety conscious the workplace is now and how just moving to a touchscreen will cost the business in more money in training and sitting correctly? It moves the whole tradtional posture and is totally opposite to how doctors say you should sit in a chair on a computer. Believe me we have tried and were surprised at how people said their backs and arms hurt after work. Vista 2 for sure

      • Adas Weber says:

        @betanews-5f4f7141b65a730b4efb0e0d51f63e94:disqus 

        Windows 8  will be passed by many businesses irrespectived of the new UI, whether good or bad. That's because most businesses have just finished (or are in the process of) upgrading to Windows 7. For those businesses, upgrading to Windows 8 simply isn't on their radar at the moment, and won't be for the next few years.

        Where Windows 8 DOES make sense is in the business tablet market, or hybrid ultrabook market. I think that Windows 8 (from a business perspective) is aimed at ENHANCING how businesses operate, rather than REPLACING how they currently operate.

      • bbrewer says:

        IT has no choice but to implement the very complete and mature iOS devices. They would prefer to wait ten years for their beloved softie to get its act together, but they don't have that long.

  6. TROLL says:

    Desktop PC + Windows 8 Metro = broken monitors

    the monitor manufacturers dream
    next big business

    trolololo

    • Adas Weber says:

      Do people not actually read the aticles anymore before commenting?

      What does that have to do with business apps developers?

      • woe says:

        Lots really.  Lets take our standard corporate Windows 7 users at your HQ site.  All of them have dual monitors, have for 4 or more years now.

        The reason, to have many applications open at one time.  Now flash forward 2 years from now when all of the apps these people use are now "Metrofied".....and they can run two FULL SCREEN apps.

        That will SUCK.

      • skruis says:

        @betanews-22b29bedd9bb2e315384e250d0a52d33:disqus , I actually find that most of my multi screen users prefer multiple screens so they can run their apps full screen at the same time.  In fact, the majority of my users maximize their current active window.  Even still, metro at this point wont allow them to do that on multi screen setups regardless and itll be a while before metro versions of those apps available so its not really an issue at this point.

  7. MMurcek says:

    It's early days, we only have "preview apps" to play with now.  The vast majority of them are like their counterparts on the iPad, geared towards content consumption.  There are some good exceptions, like Evernote.  Think back to Windows 3.1 and then think about the current version of Adobe CS.  Yeah, there's a disconnect to consider...

    • bbrewer says:

      You're joking, right? iPad has its own UI quite more robust and fleshed out than iOS on iPhone, extremely mature, and tens of thousands of dedicated apps already!

  8. StockportJambo says:

    I'll be honest and say I don't really see where Metro fits into business just yet, but that's largely because Windows 8 hasn't been RTM'd yet and it's not installed anywhere on our enterprise (except a couple of IT test machines, and the response so far isn't great). We also don't use tablets or touch anywhere, and neither do any of our clients... so portability to an ARM platform isn't a high priority (for us).

    There is a lot of value however in applications having a consistent UI that the user is already familiar with, as it cuts down on expensive training.

    The problem (so far) with the Windows 8 model, as it currently stands, is that Metro is very in-your-face, and yet the desktop is still there. It's a bit of a mess, and there's no consistency... it's more like a war between two completely different paradigms. From what I've read also, it seems that if you do go down the Metro route in application design, there's quite a lot you are prevented from doing in that sandbox. That's going to restrict take-up significantly.

    I would suggest then that Windows 9 or 10 will be the versions where Metro (or its love-child) will be adopted more fully in the enterprise.

  9. Aires_OFFICIAL says:

    I work for a major commercial insurance broker in the UK and there is no way they would consider upgrading to this, even if the IT department recommended to do so. We only upgraded from XP when official support was pulled from it and it's just not going to happen. The ui is just too radical for a serious business and it's just not going to happen unless and until it's forced upon them.

  10. nilst2011 says:

    Windows 8 - on desktops - in business - no way !
    .
    Microsoft support CISPA !
    .
    Therefore i boycott Microsoft !

  11. Aires_OFFICIAL says:

    Is that a screenshot of Mike Williams desktop?

  12. woe says:

    "Second is the tendency towards user interface elements being very flat, rather than 3-dimensional"

    Metro is FLAT OUT UGLY.  This flatness reduces complexity and increases speed.  Something started on the Zune...6 years ago when it came out.

    I am 45 and Metro, its flatness, its big flat looking colored tiles, and the colors themselves remind of a grade school cafeteria from 1973.  I remember plastic/fiber glass seats with that same UGLY orage color.

    • psycros says:

      Exactly.  Metro appeals to precisely no one except hard-core Windows developers who live and die by next upgrade cycle.  Its a witch's brew of bad design and will have Microsoft's sales execs looking back fondly on the Vista days.

  13. TheCyberKnight says:

    Before being consumer-oriented, Metro is actually "touch-first" oriented and, therefore, perfectly suitable for businesses using the appropriate devices.

    The ongoing iPad foray into enterprises is the perfect example of this market adaptation to a new form factor.

    • Kathrine Mya says:

       I agree with you , business developers are having and leading to the same goal

    • chrisboss says:

      Touch is not something limited to Windows 8 and Metro !

      Windows 7 has as much touch capability as does Windows 8. The difference though with Windows 8 and the Metro UI lead in (which is basically one big start menu). A developer can develop touch enabled apps for Windows 7 or 8 for the desktop and no big difference. Metro on the other hand is suppose to be designed specifically for touch, but design priniciples such as Bauhaus, is not a touch specific concept, but a design philosophy. The flat UI design of Metro again is not touch specific, but is a design philosophy. As a programmer I prefer to not be constrained by such design principles. I don't see a significant improvement with Metro controls (UI elements) over desktop controls. The only really big difference in designing for touch is the size of fonts and UI elements (also more open space). Metro is not required to do this. If developers concentrated more of writing apps well designed for Windows and tablets (x86) right now, even Windows 7 could do reasonably well in the enterprise on tablets.

      • TheCyberKnight says:

        Chris,
         
        I understand your point. But using this line of thought, any OS could be considered "touch" enabled if it can handle touch devices.
         
        The difference with the "touch-first" approach is that it goes way beyond the possibility of building touch-enabled software.
         
        Great touch applications require very fluid and responsive behavior, which is not something that rhymes very well with Windows 7 (without a lot of elbow grease at least). The WindowsRT API, with its extensive use of asynchronous calls, was specifically designed with this in mind. When adding the powerful animation capabilities to this API, you get a fantastic framework that few platforms offer.
         
        The inherent security of the WindowsRT sandboxed model is not often mentionned but will end-up being a important ally to businesses. For Windows 7 in this area, well, we all know the story...
         
        Now, for the Metro styling guidelines, one can disaprove the apparent
        flatness of the proposed model. Meanwhile, with all the respect people deserve, I usually consider there is a universal imbalance between good taste and lack of taste. Unfortunately, the first one is sadly not favored.
        Metro was designed by people who followed a creative research path and is solidly supported by a design language. Time will likely prove they did the right thing (BTW, more and more software are "getting" some inspiration clues from Metro).
         

      • chrisboss says:

        The so called "fast and fluid" and "Immersive" apps promised for Windows 8 Metro will not be a product of Windows 8 nor Metro themselves. Windows 8 and Metro are not any more optimized to speed or performance than is Windows 7. The use of asynchronous calls touted as a solution for managed languages is weak, because multi-threading has existed in Windows for years and asynchronous calls are just an easy way to impliment threading for the programmer, but they don't change the rules of properly using threads in a Windows application. Threads do not speed things up. They only pass the work onto another thread. Multi-Core CPU's do help, but that is simply a matter of programmers "passing the buck" onto the hardware, rather than developing software that performs well on the average PC. It once again speaks the typical programmer motto today "just buy a better PC". What about all the computers running Windows XP ? Even many computers running Windows 7 ? Do they all have to upgrade there hardware too ? I do understand how to use threading and when it works and when it doesn't.

      • Adas Weber says:

        Windows 8 runs significantly faster than Windows 7.

      • chrisboss says:

        Adas,

        While Windows 8 may be faster to boot or to load an app, once an app is loaded into memory and running, I seriously doubt it will run significantly faster than on Windows 7. The only way Windows 8 could run apps significantly faster, would be if they optimized the low level API's.  Now I wouldn't rule out being slightly faster, but significantly in actually running a desktop app, now that I would not be very confident with. Have you done any benchmarking and run an app both on Windows 7 and Windows 8 to test to see if there is any significant improvement in speed ? (and I don't mean load time, but actual run time).

      • Adas Weber says:

        @google-e4384234af580173a9bafeee1bc02936:disqus 

        Full Windows 8 benchmark comparisons require a Metro equivalent of the desktop app to exist, so you'll struggle to get real-world accurate benchmarks at this stage to determine if Metro apps deliver better performance than their desktop equivalents.

        However, I will be running some tests on desktop apps to see whether they do actually perform better (once running) on Windows 8 compared with Windows 7. Again, this will be difficult because my Windows 8 test machines are much lower spec than the Windows 7 machines I have. But we'll see how it goes.

      • bbrewer says:

        @cyberknight

        Just how much time do you think Metro has to prove how great it could be? In theory, I guess, since even the fanboys don't care for it yet.)

    • Adas Weber says:

      @betanews-68c7db132a6299fb17d7ff6bc384a52f:disqus 

      Very true! A lot of people forget that the iPad is being used in enterprise - a device which only allows one full screen app to be used at a time. What's interesting is that Windows 8 on a tablet is much more powerful than iOS on iPad. For a start, Windows 8 X86 tablets can run legacy desktop apps. That itself is a huge factor. Secondly, Windows 8 support any screen format and supports apps running side-by-side. These are just two examples of how Windows 8 is far superior in a business environment.

      Let's put it another way... if your business is (or is thinking about) using an iPad, then a Windows 8 tablet offers far more power and flexibility. Therefore, if you had a choice between them, the logical option would be a Windows 8 tablet (when available) instead of an iPad.

      This is why Windows 8 has huge potential in expanding into the enterprise. It won't replace the desktop - but that's not what Microsoft is aiming for. It's aiming to replace the iPad as the default choice for enterprise tablets. And this is where Windows 8 definitely can succeed.

      • TheCyberKnight says:

        Very good points Adas.
         
        Meanwhile, the biggest upcoming challenge for Metro versus the iPad in the enterprises will be at the hardware level. The Windows OEM ecosystem has not shown many worthy devices yet. Tablets with limited run time or using actively cooled systems (fans!) will be tossed away by consumers (including enterprises) because of their inferior performance when compared to the iPad.
         
        I had great expectations with AMD and their fantastic APUs but recent changes in their roadmap makes me wonder.
         
        Also, influencing the velocity of the current Apple foray into businesses won't be easy. It will even get harder if Windows 8 continues to get less than favorale reviews in the press.
         
        Finally, the worst issue may be Microsoft's refusal to consider Metro as a fully distinct experience and removing every single dependency to the "desktop" mode.
         
        Few more weeks and we'll get a much better idea.

      • Adas Weber says:

        @TheCyberNight:disqus 

        re: your comment below...

        Your point about press reviews is interesting because the negative reviews are all related to the desktop experience, i.e. from the point of view of a user upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 8 on a desktop. But that's not the target market for Microsoft with Windows 8. Microsoft specifically stated that Windows 8 is a "touch first" operating system. That clearly implies it is meant for tablets or hybrids, and the reviews on tablets are actually very positive.

        If we were to consider the scenario I mentioned above, where  a Windows 8 tablet device is Microsoft's weapon of choice for preventing the iPad from making further inroads into the enterprise, then Microsoft does indeed have an excellent opportunity to do precisely that, for the reasons already mentioned.

  14. andria john says:

    I agree with  kathrine mya

  15. Bhamborn says:

    Metro is not suitable for anything. 

    • TheCyberKnight says:

      The arguments you expose are very thin. Can you elaborate some more?
       

  16. lonechicken says:

    Windows 8 has a browser, right? Then it's suitable for business. Because once hooked into a company's (org's) network, the user goes to the various web apps and do their business. At least as far as the overwhelming majority of .NET-centric jobs for programmers are concerned in my area (DC).

  17. chrisboss says:

    Business software comes in so many different types so it is hard to define them with a single model. Now some software is web based today, which allows long distance connectivity and device independence. That may be the key need for some. Yet many others require software which is very task specific and requires performance (which the web is not noted for). Many applications require they be native apps, rather the hosted apps (via a browser). A web app just will never approach the performance of a native app. And even when it comes to native apps, managed languages will never have the performance of say C or C++. Now aside from performance issues, this article deals with design issues too. Metro forces a specific design model (at least for native apps), which I don't think is always in the best interest of business users. It has some advantages, but it also has some limits compared to desktop apps. My main point of the article, is not that Metro is bad, but that developers should not feel limited by some of the design model imposed by Metro. There will be ways to go beyond Metros design model.

  18. chrisboss says:

    Some good evidence that what i say in this article has some value. Even Microsoft is seeing that maybe Metro is too bland.The new Visual Studio (preview), even though a desktop app, was Metro-ized to give it a Metro look. Programmers using VS obviously did not like this, where as Microsoft appears to be backing off and de-Metro-izing is a bit. Mary Joe Foley of ZDNet posted this sneek peek of the release version (compared old to new):

    http://i.zdnet.com/blogs/darktolightgrayvs11.png?tag=content;siu-container

    • Adas Weber says:

      Metro design language itself isn't bland. It's the incorrect implementation of it's design principles that leads to bland results.

      Where MS went wrong with the latest Visual Studio is removing colours, when we all know that colour is one of the ways we identify icons, for example grey icons imply that they are disabled. If they wanted to go down the colourless route, they could have simply implemented a Metro-styled version of the UI that is used in the Expression Studio suite such as Blend.

  19. Adas Weber says:

    I just had a look at the DevExpress web site (they make controls for developers).

    http://demos.devexpress.com

    Take a look at their Realtor demo app, which has clearly been designed as a simulation of a Windows 8 Metro app -

    http://demos.devexpress.com/DemoCenter/Wpf/?DevExpress.RealtorWorld.Xpf

    It proves that Metro is totally suitable for business use.

    • bbrewer says:

      Hard to think of anything more suited to metro than real estate listings or catalogs. But Metro is extremely limited and inflexible, and doesn't fit most purposes. People are just going to keep using "chrome" (are they goading google with this name the same way they goaded Apple's 'Aqua' UI with the derivative 'Luna'? I think that's rather obvious. I can almost hear the ms engineers sniggering about it. :-)

      • Adas Weber says:

        Nothing wrong with using chrome. Metro doesn't stop you from using chrome. What the Metro design principle does say is: "content before chrome".

        You're only talking about Metro style, whereas business can also benefit from the Metro UI features as well as many of the Windows 8 features.

        Metro is a lot more powerful, flexible, and much less limited than iOS on iPad. Therefore if businesses are seriously considering using iPads to enhance their ways of working, they should seriously consider a Windows 8 tablet which will be a far better choice.

  20. bbrewer says:

    Metro is a thinly veiled method MS can claim to have a credible tablet option. The are still keeping everything hinged on the huge windows software base. They had to do something that would look original and (they think/hope) inviting.

    I don't think they will push ARM much, they will stick with Intel. Otherwise, too much developer, developer, developer PAIN.

    • Adas Weber says:

      Why do you claim that there is too much developer pain to support ARM?

      Metro IS a credible tablet option. In fact, it's very good on a tablet and is much better than iPad.

      The way Metro supports legacy Windows software is very smart. Basically, the Windows desktop now behaves like an app. It can run side-by-side with Metro apps. From a tablet perspective, this implementation is very nice and makes any Windows 8 X86 tablet a much more logical business option than the iPad.

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