Microsoft talks about Windows 8 Metro business apps

Windows 8 isn't just for fun. Microsoft is also creating ways for businesses to use the OS and its Metro user interface. In the newest entry on the official Windows Store blog, Microsoft's Arik Cohen talks about how businesses can both release and manage Metro style Windows 8 apps.

Businesses will have the choice of releasing their Windows 8 Metro apps directly from the Windows Store or they can also set up a way for their IT workers to secure distribute the apps without going through the formal Windows Store certification process.  Using the Windows Store for releasing apps will give software a greater reach. Cohen states:

You can offer your apps for sale directly to the business user, with each individual user making the purchase directly from the Store. Another option is to offer the app as a free download, then manage the sales and licensing directly with the business. Your app would then use authentication to bring specific functionality to each of your customer’s users.

Businesses that want to release their apps outside the Windows Store can have their IT workers use the Windows App Certification Kit on those Metro apps to make sure that the software will run as planned with no issues. Those apps must also be signed by a Certificate Authority that is used by all of the PCs that will run the particular Metro app.

Those PCs must also be "enterprise sideloading enabled" on Windows 8 to allow non-Windows Store apps to run on those machines. The blog goes into detail about how IT admins can either release the Metro style apps with the initial Windows image or install the apps at runtime.

Managing the apps after they are released can also be handled by the company's IT admin. Cohen writes:

The Store is enabled by default for Windows 8. To access the store, all the end-user needs is a Microsoft account. IT admins can use familiar tools like AppLocker to allow or restrict apps from the Windows Store. This way, their users get access to the rich variety of apps in the Windows Store, but IT admins can restrict access as needed.

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21 Comments

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I'm not sure the value of this as Web Apps is where it's at. Having said that, Metro front ends to SQL back-ends may be popular. I just don't see a whole lot of Metro App development in the Enterprise but MS may provide some compelling reason to do so. More compelling than SharePoint, Office, and Web apps.

I mean, Metro is filling Microsoft's needs at the moment, not necessarily anyone else's.

MorganX said,
I'm not sure the value of this as Web Apps is where it's at. Having said that, Metro front ends to SQL back-ends may be popular. I just don't see a whole lot of Metro App development in the Enterprise but MS may provide some compelling reason to do so. More compelling than SharePoint, Office, and Web apps.

I mean, Metro is filling Microsoft's needs at the moment, not necessarily anyone else's.

Seeing how metro apps like others can connect to and use backend services that they need so not much has changed compared to the old desktop way of doing business apps, having said that, metro apps seem to have a better and deeper ability to inter operate with each other and the OS without devs needing to do much when it comes to moving data between them.

Some would say web apps are limited, and that doing something with HTML5 and JS isn't as powerful etc etc. Honestly I think we could see very powerful WinRT apps in time.

MorganX said,

.....

Sharing business constructs between apps in an ad-hoc type-safe way isn't enough?

This would save companies billions in support from data entry errors and misunderstood processes.

GP007 said,
… Some would say web apps are limited, and that doing something with HTML5 and JS isn't as powerful etc etc. Honestly I think we could see very powerful WinRT apps in time.

Those people don't know that there are direct mappings between html/css and xaml as well as js -to the rest of the-> winRT

I'm a NOC operator for a canadian internet / VoIP / CableTV provider. Basically, we're monitoring absolutely EVERYTHING (TV channels, modems, eMTA, fiber backbone, VOD movies and programs, bandwidth usage, ingress, electricity, temperature, humidity, Remedy tickets, and many many more)... I have between 8 and 10 applications running on 2 30" monitors, and I must have these applications visible at ALL time.

Explain me how Windows 8 metro apps will work for me in this environment.

myxomatosis said,

Explain me how Windows 8 metro apps will work for me in this environment.


Windows 8 metro apps? Easy. Don't use them. You don't have to use metro apps.

You make it sound like the internet explodes very time you have to walk away from the computer to use the restroom...

rfirth said,

Windows 8 metro apps? Easy. Don't use them. You don't have to use metro apps.

You make it sound like the internet explodes very time you have to walk away from the computer to use the restroom...

That's your perception, clearly you ignore how a NOC works. That's ok

myxomatosis said,

That's your perception, clearly you ignore how a NOC works. That's ok

The point is that the desktop is still there, like it's always been. If you have that type of need and metro style apps don't fit for what you want then just keep using desktop apps like you have been? On the other hand the live tiles do allow for a level of information to be displayed by an app without the app being open, depending on the app and how much info you want out of it ofc.

You could, again it depends, just get a quick rundown of what's going on through the live tiles and if/when you need to actually do something you'd then start the app itself and do it. Otherwise it just sounds like you're sitting there looking at open apps and "monitoring" them but not really "working" with them.

So a small to mid-sized company that has a few user tools on the desktop for adhoc reporting or whatever will need to get their little 'homebrew' app CA cert if they want to re-write it as a Metro app? I can see the need for apps distributed from the app store but local? I can't imagine small shops doing it. This is a good way to discourage the development of local proprietary Metro apps.

Tempus said,
So a small to mid-sized company that has a few user tools on the desktop for adhoc reporting or whatever will need to get their little 'homebrew' app CA cert if they want to re-write it as a Metro app? I can see the need for apps distributed from the app store but local? I can't imagine small shops doing it. This is a good way to discourage the development of local proprietary Metro apps.

the apps we write are so sensative and proparitory that we'd never let anyone outside our company touch them... if we had to that alone is a reason not to do it for us, one of the reasons we don't support iPhones right now is the review process that was in place the last time we revised our policies

Tempus said,
So a small to mid-sized company that has a few user tools on the desktop for adhoc reporting or whatever will need to get their little 'homebrew' app CA cert if they want to re-write it as a Metro app? I can see the need for apps distributed from the app store but local? I can't imagine small shops doing it. This is a good way to discourage the development of local proprietary Metro apps.

I do believe it says that companies can sideload their own apps and not go through the store. Using the app kit to do so, which basically runs a check and slaps a cert on the app since all metro apps need to have one to run it seems, no cert and it probably doesn't even install.

In the end you don't have to mess with the Windows Store it seems. That said, since the sideloading system is there in the OS i'm sure someone out there will be crafty enough to find a way to just load up any metro app they want, basically how people do it on their phones etc. Just give it some time and it'll happen.

deadonthefloor said,

System center 2012 and Windows InTune are the way to sideload Metro apps.

Ok, but I'm sure they still need a trusted cert or they won't install/run at all.

GP007 said,

Ok, but I'm sure they still need a trusted cert or they won't install/run at all.

Which would be a big enough annoyance for small businesses. I can see this requirement in particular turning businesses off from Windows 8.

M_Lyons10 said,

Which would be a big enough annoyance for small businesses. I can see this requirement in particular turning businesses off from Windows 8.

Well, the small business could have it's own signed cert/trusted cert that it'd deploy/install to it's workers PCs etc. The annoyance would show up for people who want to do "homebrew" metro apps and not bother with the store at all.

If one's business applications can be reduced to a limited set of tiles, as in fast-food restaurants, there may be some utility to using Windows-8's Metro UI. However, since a vast majority of business applications involve the need for intensive data entry, hardware keyboards will still be required. In which case, Windows-7 with existing laptops and desktops will work just fine.

TsarNikky said,
If one's business applications can be reduced to a limited set of tiles, as in fast-food restaurants, there may be some utility to using Windows-8's Metro UI. However, since a vast majority of business applications involve the need for intensive data entry, hardware keyboards will still be required. In which case, Windows-7 with existing laptops and desktops will work just fine.

The tile isn't the whole app. They could have one tile and then the rest of the information and settings can be displayed when the app is opened.

TsarNikky said,
If one's business applications can be reduced to a limited set of tiles, as in fast-food restaurants, there may be some utility to using Windows-8's Metro UI. However, since a vast majority of business applications involve the need for intensive data entry, hardware keyboards will still be required. In which case, Windows-7 with existing laptops and desktops will work just fine.
Have you actually seen or used Windows 8?

TsarNikky said,
… fast-food restaurants …

I would rather use voice than tap tiles. I envision Kinect enabled kiosks.

For large business apps a lot of that data entry is redundancy between systems that in the new paradigm, will be shared behind the UI.

Hopefully they'll be simple, EVERY homemade business program I've ever had to use has been the biggest pile of steaming crap I've ever seen. Each one beating the last.

Tonnes of complicated menus and dialogs.

McKay said,
Hopefully they'll be simple, EVERY homemade business program I've ever had to use has been the biggest pile of steaming crap I've ever seen. Each one beating the last.

Tonnes of complicated menus and dialogs.

Find me a business that isn't complicated.... we write our own inhouse software and its almost impossible to simplify it due to how complex business processes are