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The return of the Start menu in future Windows 8.1 update: Thoughts?


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#331 George P

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 08:51

For the companies who have lots of workers out in the field moving around it's better for them to have some element of their business "in the cloud".   Plus when MS has things like Exchange and so on as a service that they can offer you at a very good price then I think lots of companies will use parts, maybe not 100% cloud but a good chunk.   The key thing here is that when it's just a service running on Azure it works, you pop in what you need and MS does the heavy work with setup and maintenance.     If you also using things like SharePoint then you can setup your own "private cloud",  so in this case the data that's most important is stored on your own servers but the "apps" and other parts are still handled by MS.

 

Anyways, this is kind of off topic anyways, not that there's much to talk about with the start menu at this point.    The new rumor is that we could get it in a 2nd 8.1 update in August now but it might just be the menu and not floating metro apps on the desktop.   Till we see it in a working build and get a clear picture of how it'll be then I can't really talk about it.   What they showed at build was still just a working concept that can and probably will change.




#332 MorganX

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 14:31

For the companies who have lots of workers out in the field moving around it's better for them to have some element of their business "in the cloud".   Plus when MS has things like Exchange and so on as a service that they can offer you at a very good price then I think lots of companies will use parts, maybe not 100% cloud but a good chunk.  

 

I can't disagree until you define cloud. I'm a proponent of Private clouds, not service clouds. The biggest beneficiaries of service clouds are small business that can't invest in their own infrastructure or IT staff. It has some disaster recovery potential of course, and also makes it easier to make applications you want to share with those you don't want to give access to your on-premises resources (or private cloud).

 

As for apps, Microsoft doesn't "handle" them, they host them. If you have a robust SharePoint infrastructure that is published externally and securely, I'm not sure why you would need MS to "handle" your apps. I have nothing against it, but I still think it's a misused buzzword for which there is no real value for most. Companies just make up a bunch of stuff to get you to buy-in. There's a word for that: Marketing.

 

Again, for business with little or not IT staff or development staff, it's definitely the way to go. Large organizations with bloat, MS can put numbers in front of you that will show you huge cost savings, if you let go of staff and pay them instead. It's not just MS, that's the basis of all cloud company ROI analysis.

 

It's just not a simple, the cloud is great and is going to take over. We haven't even begun to discuss the value of Cloud services for those without very high speed Internet access and redundancy.



#333 +Anarkii

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 14:41

Maybe Dot Matrix can explain how I can continue to work on this in a Metro App or equivalent. 

I ask because there is simply no way it can happen. 3D packages are so complex to use there is just no way for it to ever become a Metro or RT app. Wont happen, ever. Same with Photoshop. 

For that reason, the comment of power users will one day have apps that are based on metro or RT is just a delusion. It cant happen. 

The sheer complexity of most apps today for Windows is why a good 90% of them arnt in the App store today, nor will they ever be. Apps will be always be as dumb as they can for users running touch devices. Thats the market for apps like that. Try running Photoshop on a touch device and do what you see there with a finger. You simply cant, no matter how good you are. Thats the point that many of us are making and M$ are finally understanding with them adding mouse features and upgrading the desktop. Its a necessity. The desktop will never go away, its relied on by too many people, and businesses, and Metro just isnt upto the task of running complex programs like these at all in the way they are meant to be run. 

d1txaHa.jpg

Anyway back to the topic, start menu in the August update would be most welcome, and very much needed. 



#334 George P

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 15:20

Maybe Dot Matrix can explain how I can continue to work on this in a Metro App or equivalent. 

I ask because there is simply no way it can happen. 3D packages are so complex to use there is just no way for it to ever become a Metro or RT app. Wont happen, ever. Same with Photoshop. 

For that reason, the comment of power users will one day have apps that are based on metro or RT is just a delusion. It cant happen. 

The sheer complexity of most apps today for Windows is why a good 90% of them arnt in the App store today, nor will they ever be. Apps will be always be as dumb as they can for users running touch devices. Thats the market for apps like that. Try running Photoshop on a touch device and do what you see there with a finger. You simply cant, no matter how good you are. Thats the point that many of us are making and M$ are finally understanding with them adding mouse features and upgrading the desktop. Its a necessity. The desktop will never go away, its relied on by too many people, and businesses, and Metro just isnt upto the task of running complex programs like these at all in the way they are meant to be run. 

d1txaHa.jpg

Anyway back to the topic, start menu in the August update would be most welcome, and very much needed. 

 

It's posts like these that make it clear to me people don't quite get that metro isn't just the UI.   You're showing an example of an app that you're going to be using in full screen mode and not windowed, so the whole argument for metro apps being full screen is moot, not that it'll matter once they become able to be windowed later this year or early next.   Second, the WINRT framework and API can let you write these types of apps, it's not limited, if they can port big beefy Office apps to WinRT, which they're doing, I don't see why you think Photoshop or any other app of that size/complexity can't be ported.   WinRT apps can be fully written in C++ and use DX for graphics like, just like the apps you keep thinking of.  The fact is, the only thing holding these back is time and not any inherent lack of the system,  I wouldn't be so quick to toss out words such as "never" in this case.

 

Even UI wise there's nothing to stop it from being done, you're going to want to use those apps full screen anyways, I've always used photoshop in full screen personally.  Nothing in the UI says you can't have the same elements or even right click menus, it's all possible to do.  Just because those apps have lots of controls doesn't mean it can't be done, again, the Office apps have just as much complexity to them as others do and they're close to being released right now.



#335 siah1214

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 15:36

Someone needs to make an incredibly complex RT app just to show it can be done.



#336 FunkyMike

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 15:46

It's posts like these that make it clear to me people don't quite get that metro isn't just the UI.   You're showing an example of an app that you're going to be using in full screen mode and not windowed, so the whole argument for metro apps being full screen is moot, not that it'll matter once they become able to be windowed later this year or early next.   Second, the WINRT framework and API can let you write these types of apps, it's not limited, if they can port big beefy Office apps to WinRT, which they're doing, I don't see why you think Photoshop or any other app of that size/complexity can't be ported.   WinRT apps can be fully written in C++ and use DX for graphics like, just like the apps you keep thinking of.  The fact is, the only thing holding these back is time and not any inherent lack of the system,  I wouldn't be so quick to toss out words such as "never" in this case.

 

Even UI wise there's nothing to stop it from being done, you're going to want to use those apps full screen anyways, I've always used photoshop in full screen personally.  Nothing in the UI says you can't have the same elements or even right click menus, it's all possible to do.  Just because those apps have lots of controls doesn't mean it can't be done, again, the Office apps have just as much complexity to them as others do and they're close to being released right now.

 

I am pretty sure his point is also that when you are working on something like this, you have multiple open folders with different files that you are accessing/ looking at. Therefore he is very likely to not keep it as full screen mode all the time (either snap) minimize or fast switching between folders or reference images. Not everyone has got multiple displays.



#337 George P

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 15:59

I am pretty sure his point is also that when you are working on something like this, you have multiple open folders with different files that you are accessing/ looking at. Therefore he is very likely to not keep it as full screen mode all the time (either snap) minimize or fast switching between folders or reference images. Not everyone has got multiple displays.

 

Even if that's the case, as I pointed out, the whole "full screen only" limit is going away soon, so the argument against that is going to be a thing of the past.   My point still stands, the code, as far as winrt and what you can do with it, as far as I know, has no limiting factor in how complex you want to make an app.   Right now most are quick C# and or html+JS apps but they can just as well be full c++ apps and use DX for graphics support, like in the case of a 3D app which depends on it for rendering and overall performance. 

 

In the long run with winrt/metro coming more and more into the desktop through taskbar support and soon windowed mode support there's honestly little reason for developers to not try and make or port beefy productivity apps to it.   They're also showing how you can even bring over older WPF apps with little fuss as a sort of middle ground until you can fully port your app over.   Let's not also forget that they're going to keep working on WPF and even allow it to use parts of the system that so far only WinRT apps can access.    Don't be surprised if you end up seeing future WPF desktop apps that share/use WinRT/Metro  bits, that's where they're going to take it from the talks they gave at build.



#338 Alera

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 16:20

I'm not sure how people can complain about the Start Menu being full of useless stuff and being unusable and ancient, and then go on about how Start Screen is such a great way to use your computer, you can organise it and do all sorts of stuff with... like you can't do that with the Start Menu? :rofl:

 

The simple fact is, MS should have merged the two UI's together from the get go, an active desktop would be far better than a desktop and a Start Screen being seperate. They even have the handy button to hide all windows and show desktop in the bottom right that has been there for how many years now? Come on MS...



#339 Dot Matrix

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 16:49

I'm with what George P said. Just because you have an *ahem* fullscreen application with dozens of controls on it, doesn't mean the UI can't be cleaned up, and Modernized. Metro and WinRT is very much capable of 3D creation, and Photoshop work (Project Spark). It wouldn't take much work at all to start off a basic 3D modeler and build off it, or even just port a heavy duty modeler to Metro. You also don't need a mouse to create 3D models. It's not written in stone that 3D work cannot be done with other tools, including Kinect like devices.

 

"Never" is a dangerous word to say in computing.



#340 MorganX

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 18:36

It's posts like these that make it clear to me people don't quite get that metro isn't just the UI.   You're showing an example of an app that you're going to be using in full screen mode and not windowed, so the whole argument for metro apps being full screen is moot, not that it'll matter once they become able to be windowed later this year or early next.   Second, the WINRT framework and API can let you write these types of apps, it's not limited, if they can port big beefy Office apps to WinRT, which they're doing, I don't see why you think Photoshop or any other app of that size/complexity can't be ported.   WinRT apps can be fully written in C++ and use DX for graphics like, just like the apps you keep thinking of.  The fact is, the only thing holding these back is time and not any inherent lack of the system,  I wouldn't be so quick to toss out words such as "never" in this case.

 

Even UI wise there's nothing to stop it from being done, you're going to want to use those apps full screen anyways, I've always used photoshop in full screen personally.  Nothing in the UI says you can't have the same elements or even right click menus, it's all possible to do.  Just because those apps have lots of controls doesn't mean it can't be done, again, the Office apps have just as much complexity to them as others do and they're close to being released right now.

 

I agree with you here George. But I wouldn't call Office apps big beefy apps. Also, even though I agree with you, because we have yet to see this type of app in WinRT, and even some of the best ones struggle with complex functionality, we can only take everyone's word for it that the WinRT API can do everything that Win32 can. We have to conclude that developers are just being lazy. Look how clumsily Xbox Music indexes music and the fact that it has no device syncing. Is that just laziness, by design, or is it not easy to do with WinRT?



#341 PGHammer

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 20:07

I agree with you here George. But I wouldn't call Office apps big beefy apps. Also, even though I agree with you, because we have yet to see this type of app in WinRT, and even some of the best ones struggle with complex functionality, we can only take everyone's word for it that the WinRT API can do everything that Win32 can. We have to conclude that developers are just being lazy. Look how clumsily Xbox Music indexes music and the fact that it has no device syncing. Is that just laziness, by design, or is it not easy to do with WinRT?

MorganX - developers won't develop them because of all those users that can't (or won't) move to an OS supporting ModernUI - for whatever reason.  Developing for Win32 (if you are a Windows developer) is the safe choice, albeit also the conservative/chicken choice - what has Amazon done with their ModernUI version of the Kindle e-reader app since they have launched it, for example?  Other than Microsoft, developers are NOT bringing parity between ModernUI and Win32 versions of their apps.  However, I can't really fault the developers - it's very much chicken-and-egg there.  As long as Windows 7 (not 8+) is the lowest common Windows denominator in the minds of developers, why write ModernUI applications at all?  The result - what ModernUI applications we ARE seeing are lick-and-promise - like the early days of Win32.  (Yes - I DO remember the early days of Win32; remember, Windows NT 3.x was a niche OS at first,  The secondary reason for Windows 95 was, in fact, to jump-start Win32 development in terms of the application space.  Contrary to popular belief, other than Microsoft's own applications, early Win32 applications were NOT ported from Windows NT - in fact, they were genuine UNTOUCHED Windows NT applications - WinZip, the first versions of WinRAR, and Netscape Navigator were my first Win32 applications other than Office, and ALL came from NT.)

 

Throw in a LOT of anti-ModernUI FUD, if not outright fear, and what do YOU think would happen if a developer - any developer - actually made their ModernUI and Win32 applications functionally-equal?  Would we or would we NOT hear a hew and cry over (insert name of developer here) abandoning Win32/the desktop?

 

The lowest common denominator is STILL driving application development - you go where demand is.  Overall, it's mobile development - not general non-mobile-OS development; in terms of desktop-OS development, it's Win32.



#342 Dot Matrix

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 20:13

I agree with you here George. But I wouldn't call Office apps big beefy apps. Also, even though I agree with you, because we have yet to see this type of app in WinRT, and even some of the best ones struggle with complex functionality, we can only take everyone's word for it that the WinRT API can do everything that Win32 can. We have to conclude that developers are just being lazy. Look how clumsily Xbox Music indexes music and the fact that it has no device syncing. Is that just laziness, by design, or is it not easy to do with WinRT?

There's many Metro apps that support Device Syncing.



#343 MorganX

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 20:24

There's many Metro apps that support Device Syncing.

 

I'm speaking primarily of music and Xbox Music to phones and media devices. Syncing a playlist for streaming is not syncing files ala Zune. I only know of one, Media Monkey.I

 

As for others, I'm not aware of any that device sync. There may be... The only one I personally would have a use for is Endomondo and Sportstracker which do not sync with the device, they sync with the web site, which syncs with the phone or device.


MorganX - developers won't develop them because of all those users that can't (or won't) move to an OS supporting ModernUI - for whatever reason.  Developing for Win32 (if you are a Windows developer) is the safe choice, albeit also the conservative/chicken choice - what has Amazon done with their ModernUI version of the Kindle e-reader app since they have launched it, for example?  Other than Microsoft, developers are NOT bringing parity between ModernUI and Win32 versions of their apps.  However, I can't really fault the developers - it's very much chicken-and-egg there.  As long as Windows 7 (not 8+) is the lowest common Windows denominator in the minds of developers, why write ModernUI applications at all?  The result - what ModernUI applications we ARE seeing are lick-and-promise - like the early days of Win32.  (Yes - I DO remember the early days of Win32; remember, Windows NT 3.x was a niche OS at first,  The secondary reason for Windows 95 was, in fact, to jump-start Win32 development in terms of the application space.  Contrary to popular belief, other than Microsoft's own applications, early Win32 applications were NOT ported from Windows NT - in fact, they were genuine UNTOUCHED Windows NT applications - WinZip, the first versions of WinRAR, and Netscape Navigator were my first Win32 applications other than Office, and ALL came from NT.)

 

Throw in a LOT of anti-ModernUI FUD, if not outright fear, and what do YOU think would happen if a developer - any developer - actually made their ModernUI and Win32 applications functionally-equal?  Would we or would we NOT hear a hew and cry over (insert name of developer here) abandoning Win32/the desktop?

 

The lowest common denominator is STILL driving application development - you go where demand is.  Overall, it's mobile development - not general non-mobile-OS development; in terms of desktop-OS development, it's Win32.

 

This. I think the only place we part on this topic, is that I believe that because what you say above is True, Microsoft should lead the charge by example.



#344 PGHammer

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 20:37

for me, typing out what you are looking for me seems like more work. For me, its "I see it, I click it" 

That is - by definition - pointing-device-centric behavior.

I don't have a problem with such behavior - and especially not if you're honest about it.

It's those that try and blow smoke p my posterior and say it's something else that I have a rather large issue with.



#345 PGHammer

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Posted 27 April 2014 - 21:58

I'm speaking primarily of music and Xbox Music to phones and media devices. Syncing a playlist for streaming is not syncing files ala Zune. I only know of one, Media Monkey.I

 

As for others, I'm not aware of any that device sync. There may be... The only one I personally would have a use for is Endomondo and Sportstracker which do not sync with the device, they sync with the web site, which syncs with the phone or device.


 

This. I think the only place we part on this topic, is I believe because what you say above it True, Microsoft should lead the charge by example.

Which Microsoft is indeed trying to do (with OneDrive, Skype, Office, etc.).  However, part of the problem Microsoft itself faces is that even as it does what it can to actually provide examples of how functional equivalency between  Win32 and ModernUI can be possible, the fearmongers are jumping in, saying that this simply illustrates Microsoft's intention of killing the desktop application market.

 

Please - like improved ModernUI applications will kill the desktop market anytime soon.

 

I have stated - repeatedly - that Windows Explorer ties into OneDrive, and right now.  (This is easily provable - go to your OneDrive icon in Windows Explorer (or RTExplorer, if you are running an RT tablet) and open it.  Then drag a file from your local folders that is small enough to fit to a folder in OneDrive.  Once the folders sync (if you are online, they will sync at the speed of your connection), you have just copied a file - to the cloud - without going NEAR ModernUI, or a third-party application.)  If you are used to Explorer as file-management application (and I am) that is one monstrous advantage that OneDrive Explorer has to overcome.  OneDrive Explorer must be equal to File Explorer - in terms of functionality - to stand any chance of replacing it.  It's the same bar that applies to any ModernUI application - in that sense, I'm not treating Microsoft any different from any other application developer.  However, this same feature will require third-party cloud providers to enable their cloud-storage services to plug into File Explorer and/or OneDrive Explorer; IS there a common API for cloud-storage providers in the ModernUI API system?  If there IS a common API, it's on third parties - Google, MEGA, etc. - to leverage it.  If NOT, it behooves Microsoft and the rest of the stakeholders to create one.

 

This one feature is something that Win32 has not had since the abortive "Nashville/Memphis" of Windows 9x - the few third-party hacks since have not been as elegant as how OneDrive ties into File Explorer.  (In fact, its so elegant it is nearly invisible.)  It's something that any Windows 8+ user can use, if they use OneDrive - however, it can't be unique to OneDrive.

 

And don't assume that I want the feature to be desktop-exclusive - I definitely do NOT.  I don't expect to always be using a desktop-only computer or device.  At some point, I WILL want that feature to be found in ModernUI - if for no other reason than my not always being at my desktop computer.  That may well be the REAL rub - how many of those pointing-device-centric users are ALWAYS at a desktop-formfactor computer?  (They may run 7 at home, but 7, Vista, or XP at work.  Windows 8+ is too different from what they run at work - I get that much.)  Android has a file-navigation problem - so does iOS.  They have lots of casual games and apps - however, both blow when it comes to file navigation, let alone file management.  RT, for all its faults, doesn't blow in that area - it has the same file-navigation and management capabilities as Windows 8+ - and by design.  That is the REAL choice for users - what is more important?