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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