Microsoft details Windows 8 app safeguards

Windows 8 will feature the Windows Store as part of its Metro user interface, allowing users to directly download software without having to use a website or third-party source. In the newest post on the Windows 8 blog, Microsoft explains how it is going to make sure that Windows 8 owners can be assured that the apps they download from the Windows Store are reliable and trustworthy.

The post, written by Microsoft's John Hazen, a program manager on the Windows 8 Developer Experience team, talks first about the Windows Store itself. Aside from developers having to go through a certification process for their Metro apps before they can be published, consumers will have the power to post their own reviews, and will also be able to report any issues with Windows 8 Metro apps to Microsoft. Hazen states:

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.

Installing a Windows 8 app will also just take one click or one finger swipe, without having to go through numerous windows and choices, unlike most older Windows software applications. Hazen says:

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.

The Windows 8 SDK for Metro apps has been set up for app developers to use to make their Metro applications. Hazen says that app developers should stick with the APIs that are included in the SDK, saying, "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."

Much of the rest of the blog is highly technical and mainly for Windows 8 Metro app developers. Hazen talks about how Metro apps will have to run in their own "unique app container". Hazen says, "You have little worry that some other Metro style app will change your app’s data, settings, or behavior." The app container can be extended using capability declarations and Hazen goes over some of those extensions in the blog.

Hazen ends the blog post by saying:

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.

Image via Microsoft

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Well they have taken two huge leaps ahead: they have made it easier to write apps with less complexity and more quickly and they have made it so much easier for the casual user to install and manage apps. Games especially and little apps will flourish like Firefox's addon ecosystem.

It's just that the interface around Metro-style apps for switching, launching, organizing, browsing, multitasking and discoverability is IMHO so incredibly horrible and unproductive that their potential is wasted. Put the Metro style apps in a regular minimizable, maximizable window and give them a taskbar button and we have the best of both worlds. No one will hate Metro any more.

I really want things to start becoming quantifiable. Right now, we have no real sales numbers for Windows Phone 7 as a whole, No guesstimate on the number of win 8 apps. For win8 to really do well apps have to come out and be useful.

Since the consumer preview it really is feeling like things are coming together but I really am getting restless especially with all the damn griping from the give us our start menu back crowd. The problem is that they are right to feel that way if metro doesn't produce usable apps that can keep people off the desktop.

There are going to be sooooo many windows 8 apps coming out.. its going to be ridiculous. I cant wait for a few years from now when apple tries to tell people that the number of apps is not important.. when win8 overtakes them..

Lachlan said,
There are going to be sooooo many windows 8 apps coming out.. its going to be ridiculous. I cant wait for a few years from now when apple tries to tell people that the number of apps is not important.. when win8 overtakes them..

We shall see....

Lachlan said,
There are going to be sooooo many windows 8 apps coming out.. its going to be ridiculous. I cant wait for a few years from now when apple tries to tell people that the number of apps is not important.. when win8 overtakes them..

See that's what I'm thinking! Apps that will be in Win8 ARM will most likely be ported to WinPhone8? Thus giving it a BIG increase?

sam232 said,

We shall see....

The last time I checked, the number of iOS devices sold was less than the number of copies of Vista sold, by over 100 million. And the number of iOS devices in use is less than that. Vista was considered a "flop" by some (even though iOS is considered a huge success with lower sales).

Now let's suppose that Win8 will be as big a "flop" as Vista is. That is over 400 million devices with Win8. Macs (which is required to develop for iOS) sold about 50 million machines in the past 5 years, and produced 500,000 apps on the app store. Comparing those numbers, it is easy to see that there are many more potential developers for Win8 than iOS, many more potential customers for apps than on iOS, and many more potential app sales. And because Win8 apps can run on desktop, laptop, tablet, (phone?) that only increases the number of potential users.

As Lachlan wrote, in a couple years (no, nobody thinks that immediately after release the number of apps will rival iOS/Android), I think we will see many Apple cheerleaders move back to where they were a few years ago. It used to be that when Windows users would point out the number of apps available for Windows compared to Mac, the response was that is a good thing, because only quality apps were available for Mac and not the "junk" that was available for Windows. Now they trumpet the number of developers and apps for iOS, while mocking the Developers, Developers, Developers mantra (which is a quite hypocritical).