Microsoft launches Windows Apportals

Microsoft's Modern UI may not be quite so prominent in the next major release of Windows, but that doesn't mean that the company is giving up completely on it. Indeed, while the full Start screen looks set to take a back seat in favor of a more compact Start menu, Modern apps will live on, and Microsoft will continue to promote them as a major component of its proposition for business and enterprise customers, as much as for consumers. 

The latest evidence of this came today with Microsoft's announcement of Windows Apportals. An Apportal is essentially an app that acts as a central hub for all line-of-business (LOB) applications, organised into a simple-to-navigate, easy-to-use, touch-friendly user interface.

"Built on Windows 8.1, Apportals are powered by OS-level interoperability, with no fragile API calls to impact stability," Microsoft explains. "They provide virtually anywhere, anytime access on Windows 8.1 devices - including all native touch, auto snap, and security features." Apportals include not just Modern Windows 8.1 apps, but also web apps and Windows 7 applications that run on the Desktop, allowing an organization to bring together all of their LOB assets into a single point of access for users. 

Microsoft said that it developed the Apportals solution because business customers tend to use software from multiple vendors, and need a way to easily bring everything together. "Organizations want to use the flexibility of the Windows 8.1 OS to create a UI-based virtual integration, and continue to gain value from existing legacy technology investments," Microsoft says. "Windows Apportals are the solution to this need." 

Apportal management and authentication is handled through Active Directory, determining which data and apps a user is entitled to see in an Apportal when they are connected to a domain. Microsoft says that "this provides a high-level of customization and is particularly helpful in environments where is a high-level of data customization required by user - such as sales organizations, healthcare organizations and distributed enterprises." 

Each Apportal can be customized to suit the needs of a particular industry, business function or role, making it easy for staff to find the apps that they need to do their jobs. If you work in sales, you don't need to see all the apps and resources available to the HR department, for example. 

Portals can also be customized for other use cases like education too, to give students easy access to apps and resources for learning.

Organizations can even create Apportals for their own customers - for example, showing the latest promotions and social media links. 

Microsoft will discuss Apportals further at its Worldwide Partner Conference next week. We'll be there at WPC 2014 to bring you all the latest news from Microsoft, so stay tuned! 

Source: Microsoft | images 1 and 2, and screenshots in images 3-5

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9 Comments

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The perfect slogan for their marketing campaign:

"Now you're thinking with Apportals"

...Is that taken, yet? Seriously, that name is terrible. I truly hope they do not keep that term as the final name for the technology. Sort of reminds me of all of the cheesy 1990s technology terms like "cyber-[name]" or "e-[name]", but this time Microsoft is just slapping "app-" in front of the name.

Edited by burritodave, Jul 12 2014, 7:32am :

This is awesome, I am not a developer but I have been waiting for something like this for a long time! I downloaded the PDF Guide/Overview and was surprised by how many pictures, examples and details were stuffed in there. Wow thanks Microsoft!!

Obry said,
My brain must not be working well today still confused what this is after reading the whole article :)

"An Apportal is essentially an app that acts as a central"

Pretty much, another all in one place that Microsoft will not support. Anything 'hub' related Microsoft has dropped in the past. I see no reason why they'd continue to support this idea when it fails.

Pretty much though, their idea is a 'app' like OEMs provide for collections of other apps they want to promote. At least that's what I can gather... bit confusing.

Obry said,
My brain must not be working well today still confused what this is after reading the whole article :)

It's a folder of documents/applications.

sagum said,

"An Apportal is essentially an app that acts as a central"

Pretty much, another all in one place that Microsoft will not support. Anything 'hub' related Microsoft has dropped in the past. I see no reason why they'd continue to support this idea when it fails.

Pretty much though, their idea is a 'app' like OEMs provide for collections of other apps they want to promote. At least that's what I can gather... bit confusing.

It sounds to me like this can be something others do, it's not specific to MS or something only MS will do. The examples above show a High School for one, so it's something anyone as a developer can do.