Microsoft talks more on Windows 8 apps in the background

A few days ago, Microsoft posted up a new entry in its Windows 8 app developer block on how Windows 8 Metro apps can be coded to perform tasks while still running in the background of the OS. This week, the company posted up a new entry in the blog that offers up two examples of how background running apps can still be productive.

One example discussed was allowing background apps to run and accomplish tasks while a Windows 8 device is plugged into a power outlet, rather than running on battery power. Microsoft said that Windows 8 app developers can put in this kind of feature using what is called a maintenance trigger. The post explains:

The maintenance trigger is available to everyone and your app doesn’t need to be on the lock screen. The advantage of using a maintenance trigger background task is that it is guaranteed to not interfere with the user’s activity and, runs only on AC power. So you don’t need to worry about excessive battery usage.

Some example code is put into the blog on how to code in this maintenance trigger.

Yet another example is offering to give app users a way to give Windows 8 apps permission to run in the background while also appearing on the lock screen. The blog states:

This is a natural fit because the lock screen is designed to provide users info about their apps without the need for them to unlock their Windows 8 device. This relationship is a two-way street: your app can use these types of background tasks only if it is on the lock screen and, likewise, your app can appear on the lock screen only if it requests to use these types of background tasks.

Apps that might be a good fit for lock screen permissions include email clients which can show a number of unread emails to the user. Again, the blog offers up some example code to developers to show how a background running email app can download new emails from a POP account every 15 minutes. The blog also goes into some detail about how background apps do still have some CPU and network resource usage constraints and goes over those specific limits.

Source: Microsoft | Image via Microsoft

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44 Comments

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It's amazing to me that people are freaking out about Win8. First off, that people are so stuck in ancient concepts that a Metro interface has reduced them to drooling feebs of neanderthal-like mental capacity, utterly amazes me. Second, that people have somehow missed the fact that the desktop is pretty much intact. You don't HAVE to spend any real time in the Metro interface. Your old apps will work in Win8...if they work in Win7, they'll work in Win8. Personally, I think the quicker developers chuch their stupid old-school apps and migrate them to the Metro environment, the better.

FalseAgent said,
can we have at least one post on windows 8 without all the ****ty comments?

Indeed, and it's always the same group of people too. Also funny how techguy77 has vanished in recent posts, yet in this one theres a guy called Highlander77 that only registered a week or so ago... both with 77 in the name and both posting overtly negative comments about windows 8... coincidence?

FalseAgent said,
can we have at least one post on windows 8 without all the ****ty comments?

My guess is that the definition of " ****ty comments" depends by what is each person opinion on the subject-----

Fritzly said,

My guess is that the definition of " ****ty comments" depends by what is each person opinion on the subject-----

Well those "opinions" don't have anything to do with the specific subject of the article anymore, they just keep complaining of windows 8 in general...

PmRd said,
It's funny how most people hate Windows 8 simply because they are ignorant.

Says another "ignorant"

Fritzly said,

The High priest has spoken.......

You must feel concerned by my comment. My comment is a fact, a lot of people hate Windows 8 simply because they did not take the time to really use it or ignore certain features.

Some people complain you can't press Winkey and type to search anymore. If that's not ignorance I don't know what it is.

And btw ignorance literately means "not being informed".

Edited by PmRd, May 27 2012, 9:34am :

PmRd said,

You must feel concerned by my comment. My comment is a fact, a lot of people hate Windows 8 simply because they did not take the time to really use it or ignore certain features.

Some people complain you can't press Winkey and type to search anymore. If that's not ignorance I don't know what it is.

And btw ignorance literately means "not being informed".

Not really concerned about your statement, more puzzled by this trend where opinions are pushed as a fact.
Btw I have an English dictionary.......... although I did not need to consult it to know the meaning of the word " ignorant"............ Thanks God...................

Fritzly said,

Not really concerned about your statement, more puzzled by this trend where opinions are pushed as a fact.
Btw I have an English dictionary.......... although I did not need to consult it to know the meaning of the word " ignorant"............ Thanks God...................

You're welcome?

hummell said,
The same as WP7. So Skype will not work event on a tablet with Windows 8...

No, it's not the same.

"Advanced scenarios

You can build more advanced VOIP, instant messaging or push email apps using other background task triggers such as Control Channel or Push Notification. Their usage is beyond the scope of this post and more info about them is provided in the Background networking whitepaper."

contextfree said,

No, it's not the same.

"Advanced scenarios

You can build more advanced VOIP, instant messaging or push email apps using other background task triggers such as Control Channel or Push Notification. Their usage is beyond the scope of this post and more info about them is provided in the Background networking whitepaper."


Push notifications are already in WP7 and are useless for Skype.
Don't know what Control Channel is but I'm affraid that it's also crap.
Maybe thats why MS is trying to change the way Skype Works.

hummell said,
The same as WP7. So Skype will not work event on a tablet with Windows 8...

The Skype limitation in WP7 could be recoded around, but would require rebuilding the network model that Skype uses and creating server points.

This has nothing to do with Windows 8. Do you see that Windows 7 runs SKype just fine? Then you have your answer.

There are literally 20 ways to implement Skype in Metro on Windows 8 that I can think of off the top of my head.

Skype on WP7 running in the background is truly another story and another topic far beyond WP7 and Metro. It has to do with the peer technology Skype uses with user super nodes that Microsoft has been ripping out and putting in real server based communication.. (MIcrosoft did not buy Skype for their brilliant technology, it was for licensing and access to telco and wireless deals. WLM was and still is a more advanced VOIP style technology.)

hummell said,

Push notifications are already in WP7 and are useless for Skype.
Don't know what Control Channel is but I'm affraid that it's also crap.
Maybe thats why MS is trying to change the way Skype Works.

The way Skype works was goofy. If you were building a world class VOIP technology like Skype would you leave the dependability and availability up to the users in the region? It is like a bad P2P torrent model, but for voice and video communications. This is why Microsoft is rebuilding it properly.

WP7 could have went full Skype, but wireless carriers were having a fit about it. There are several 'options' that were on the table that got shelved and instead focus was put into total integration on WP8. (One for example is using the telco numbers as the Skype access, like Verizon does on their Android devices to avoid data usage.)


You are reading way too much into this.

BTW Do you realize that running in the 'background' the way Skype works on iPhone is a massive resource drain on battery life, making it not practical to keep enabled all the time, and is why the App has blackout periods that they hope others won't notice?

The same is true on Android, and with Android, to keep a solid Skype connection, it has to keep so much active code in RAM, that often 512mb or less Android devices will close Skype 90% of the time users are doing anything else on it.

The worst thing Microsoft did with Skype on WP7 is be bloody honest about it. So you have to SMS/Messenger a person to tell them to answer a Skype Call. Big deal. Much better than watching the WP7 devices battery time turn into crap like Skype currently does.

With WP8 and full voice/video/message integration, people will be begging for the Skype features on iOS and Android. And sadly, even if you look at FaceTime on iOS, it is not very seamless, easy to use as a carrier class App for getting communication, especially with the WiFi restrictions that are insane.


If you don't understand the inner working os WP7 or Windows 8, don't keep digging on the topic with questions. Go find the answer for yourself and learn about the subject. I don't mind answering conversation level questions, but I'm not a personal technology professor.

thenetavenger said,

The Skype limitation in WP7 could be recoded around, but would require rebuilding the network model that Skype uses and creating server points.

This has nothing to do with Windows 8. Do you see that Windows 7 runs SKype just fine? Then you have your answer.

There are literally 20 ways to implement Skype in Metro on Windows 8 that I can think of off the top of my head.

Skype on WP7 running in the background is truly another story and another topic far beyond WP7 and Metro. It has to do with the peer technology Skype uses with user super nodes that Microsoft has been ripping out and putting in real server based communication.. (MIcrosoft did not buy Skype for their brilliant technology, it was for licensing and access to telco and wireless deals. WLM was and still is a more advanced VOIP style technology.)


OK, I need to go throug the doc on always connected background task.
But I'm scared by other thing - I still need to plug my tablet to AC to perfotm some tasks. Even if my tablet has huge fully charged Battery.

hummell said,

Push notifications are already in WP7 and are useless for Skype.
Don't know what Control Channel is but I'm affraid that it's also crap.

Control Channel allows you to keep a TCP connection open in the background which is what WP7x doesn't have that VOIP apps need.

hummell said,

OK, I need to go throug the doc on always connected background task.
But I'm scared by other thing - I still need to plug my tablet to AC to perfotm some tasks. Even if my tablet has huge fully charged Battery.

That option is being made available to developers so that they can run a task that may drain battery or possibly damage something if the battery were to die during the process I would wager. Cleanup tasks, installations, etc. Not something the user needs to worry about or even be aware of...

M_Lyons10 said,

That option is being made available to developers so that they can run a task that may drain battery or possibly damage something if the battery were to die during the process I would wager. Cleanup tasks, installations, etc. Not something the user needs to worry about or even be aware of...

Highlander77 said,
I am still trying to understand what MS is trying to accomplish with Windows 8.

Multitasking is not for 'cleanup tasks' (btw. what is a cleanup task?). Multitasking is for long-running CPU intensive jobs (yes, with 100% CPU used), where you want in meantime use your PC for something else than staring at progress bar.
I'm scaried beacue it looks like all MS employees are kids or morons. All valuable persons had already left.

I like metro it looks good but it's not suitable for serious computing or for business environment where lots of data must be seen on the screen not some text with big fonts in white screen and metro is slower than desktop applications.
I am not sure about other people but I want some improvement in current windows 8 desktop theme which looks crappy even after aero is going to be replaced by some white borders which is extremely hard for eyes to focus. http://www.neowin.net/news/win...get-some-desktop-ui-changes

sat2012 said,
I like metro it looks good but it's not suitable for serious computing or for business environment where lots of data must be seen on the screen not some text with big fonts in white screen and metro is slower than desktop applications.
I am not sure about other people but I want some improvement in current windows 8 desktop theme which looks crappy even after aero is going to be replaced by some white borders which is extremely hard for eyes to focus. http://www.neowin.net/news/win...get-some-desktop-ui-changes

I like Metro too, but you seem to have rather vague vision of business environment and metro.. I mean, if it's about displaying complex data and manipulate it - Metro can be used to make far superior UI than that of desktop UI where idea of constantly switching between windows is used (which actually isn't a great design if you need to stay focused on something).

But the actual problem with business environment is that Metro apps may have too much restrictions to be used in some instances. And largely in these kind of instances still use XP for the same reason (besides costs for upgrade) - Vista and 7 have more security restrictions which just "get in the way". I'm not speculating, because I've been working with this kind of company, which doesn't want to upgrade if it means possible hassle with their software.
and not to mention conservatism and brushing off the whole idea to design new software with different kind of approach.

Palpatine said,
lol wut?

I can see what's he taking about, as currently Metro apps are unforgivably slow with loading times on my PC. for that reason (above others) I don't use Music app for example and instead just instantly load WMP or VLC

х.iso said,

I like Metro too, but you seem to have rather vague vision of business environment and metro.. I mean, if it's about displaying complex data and manipulate it - Metro can be used to make far superior UI than that of desktop UI where idea of constantly switching between windows is used (which actually isn't a great design if you need to stay focused on something).

But the actual problem with business environment is that Metro apps may have too much restrictions to be used in some instances. And largely in these kind of instances still use XP for the same reason (besides costs for upgrade) - Vista and 7 have more security restrictions which just "get in the way". I'm not speculating, because I've been working with this kind of company, which doesn't want to upgrade if it means possible hassle with their software.
and not to mention conservatism and brushing off the whole idea to design new software with different kind of approach.

There's a lot of power in using the same app on a desktop as you can on a tablet.

dagamer34 said,

There's a lot of power in using the same app on a desktop as you can on a tablet.


I'd say there is a lot of power in a tablet that's actually a powerful PC with attachable/BT keyboard and other good things you have with a laptop. I understand you mean one can use tablet with WindowsRT and still use same metro app that's used on desktop, but I don't see the point buying such a half-assed tablet for work.

х.iso said,

I can see what's he taking about, as currently Metro apps are unforgivably slow with loading times on my PC. for that reason (above others) I don't use Music app for example and instead just instantly load WMP or VLC

Yeah, I've noticed this as well.

korupt_one said,

the way everyone is talking you would think windows 8 does not have a desktop.

A crippled one sounds better?

VoX said,
They can keep talking about it. I won't be buying OR pirating this ****.. Lol. Terrible.

Um, okay. Thanks for sharing that with everyone.

srprimeaux said,

Um, okay. Thanks for sharing that with everyone.

To be fair people should be able to share what they want.

Windows 8 is kind of scary, but I am hoping the usability will be 'ok'. The speed improvements alone make it compelling.

ObiWanToby said,

To be fair people should be able to share what they want.

Windows 8 is kind of scary, but I am hoping the usability will be 'ok'. The speed improvements alone make it compelling.

Um, yes, People should. But I don't get it. If you don't like Windows 8, why read an article that deals with it more in depth? Just to tell us you're not going to use it and that it's terrible? Um, okay. Congratulations.

VoX said,
They can keep talking about it. I won't be buying OR pirating this ****.. Lol. Terrible.

I just downloaded the consumer preview last night and I can't wait for it, each to their own I guess.

VoX said,
They can keep talking about it. I won't be buying OR pirating this ****.. Lol. Terrible.

Me neither, but it seems to be a question of taste. For me, that green reminds me of Windows 3.1. It seems that we go back to 16 colors palette scheme again.

g0dlike said,

Me neither, but it seems to be a question of taste. For me, that green reminds me of Windows 3.1. It seems that we go back to 16 colors palette scheme again.

Don't worry, Windows 9 will give you the option of a transparent tile, with custom pictures on the background of your start screen

Really though, the simply look of it won't stay simple once you have a load of visual feedback coming from different apps... or just the sheer amount of apps that you'll have to manage. It'll be a task in itself.

As for apps, that'll be down to the developers who make them to present them in a way that makes people remember them, have great controls and controls while still being useable. It reminds me of the early windows days of 95 were many apps would try to be different and take a feel on how things should be done. We're in for a messy ride a head of us, but hopefully the great will prevail and we'll end up with a lot of great apps that 'just work'.
And I think that is the problem, apps that just work. There are few at the moment, and the apps we do have won't run across the live/metro platform. We'll end up signing in with one Microsoft account, and having to buy the same app on the Xbox, Windows Phone, and desktop PC.. and if they can get away with it, they'll charge us again for using the same app on a tablet ARM based PC.

srprimeaux said,

Um, yes, People should. But I don't get it. If you don't like Windows 8, why read an article that deals with it more in depth? Just to tell us you're not going to use it and that it's terrible? Um, okay. Congratulations.

Because intelligent people have an open mind and reading about a subject could make them change their opinion or..... reinforce the one they have.
It seems quite logic to me; maybe because I do not have a "Cult mentality"

Minimoose said,

I just downloaded the consumer preview last night and I can't wait for it, each to their own I guess.

Well get ready to download again....... hopefully by the end of the coming week MS will post a newer build, one the old timer would consider a "Release candidate" one. Eagerly looking for it to see if the issue using the pen with my Tablet is fixed.

srprimeaux said,

Um, yes, People should. But I don't get it. If you don't like Windows 8, why read an article that deals with it more in depth? Just to tell us you're not going to use it and that it's terrible? Um, okay. Congratulations.

Um, there is a, um, comment section below the, um, piece of news. So, um, everyone, who, um has an account is free to, um, post whatever they, um want. Um, do we have an, um, agreement, or will you keep umming about how nerdy and offended you are?