Microsoft testing ribbon UI in Windows 8

 

win8_ribbon_01

In the midst of the latest Windows 8 welcome screen and Microsoft starting to take action on websites that leak Windows 8 screenshots and features, a new set of screenshots have been revealed by Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott.

The latest screenshots show that Microsoft is looking to expand its ribbon UI from simple applications like Calculator, Paint, and more advanced software applications like Office 2010, comes the ribbon interface being revealed under Explorer.exe shell.

The screenshots reveal that Microsoft is testing a ribbon style UI in Windows 8. The ribbon is still obviously in early alpha stages and shows placeholders for the time being.

Windows 8 is still under heavy secrecy and restricted to employees only. As with the latest Windows 8 welcome screen images, these images come from a very credible source and are believed to be real. However, this doesn't necessary mean that Microsoft will use this in their final product release. Much like the codename Longhorn builds, Microsoft likes to toy around with designs and functionalities.

More images can be found here.

Image credit: Withinwindows.com

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Like some others, I also really hate the ribbon interface. Its nothing but a cluttered cryptic mess of commands. You have to sit and hunt through the multiple screens just to find what your looking for. Its like digging through a trash can.

edit: And I'm talking about the current version that is used in Windows 7.

Vanilla tastes better... no chocolate does... nuh uh strawberry. you nerds are ridiculous. just because you like a flavor does not mean the others should not be an option. oh Dang that word "optional".... seems like everyone has forgotten about personal customization in our new shoeboxed "smart"phone world.

I really hate "Ribbon". It consumes a lot of space and makes the commands scatter around making it difficult to remember the position of commands for use. It wastes me a lot of time looking for where the commands are. This is the reason I stop buying Office 2007 or later. I think I will stop upgrading to Windows 8 too!

Would be good for touch PC's but those won't be around for a long time yet.
That stupid UK Windows Cloud advert - teaching people that "the cloud" is just a way to replace pictures.

All the haters out there, you do realize that the build that had this is NOT part of the main development trunk, this is a side coding project much like were many of the early longhorn builds, if i were ms, i'd start to jank stuff from the longhorn days and bring it to today, the good stuff only though

Last time MS listened to people above we got fugly Vista and not really consistent Windows 7. This interface is in right direciton.

techguy77 said,
Last time MS listened to people above we got fugly Vista and not really consistent Windows 7. This interface is in right direciton.

I absolutely agree with you. This is a step in the right direction.

Laptops will have enough space. If ribbon office interface fits netbook and laptop fine well then exploer ribbon interface will be fine.

LaP said,
I don't understand why the ribbon has to be so big ...

Me neighter, they could achive better results without that big size wich looks so ugly. Damn it.

I think Windows 7 will be like Office 2007 compared to Windows 8, good, stable, fast but shadowed by the better and improved version, 7 was Vista SP3 after all.

Too bulky, I'll be disappointed if this makes it across the whole OS. MS can see laptops are the largest growth area in PC hardware, not sure why shifting to an interface that eats up this kind of real estate makes sense to anyone right now?

"Windows 8 is still under heavy secrecy and restricted to employees only"

It's looking like this is changing lately, however. This article being an example...

Some people say Ribbon UI is good, ease of use and faster etc.... And Microsoft even have numbers to back it up.

I wont argue whether it is easier to use. But one thing.

It is UGLY!.

iwod said,
Some people say Ribbon UI is good, ease of use and faster etc.... And Microsoft even have numbers to back it up.

I wont argue whether it is easier to use. But one thing.

It is UGLY!.

They need to work on it's implementation, that is for granted, but as most people need to remember - It's early stages and Microsoft probably just put it there for an experiment, and if it works, then expect to see some major design changes to make it more integrated with the explorer...

No matter how many people say they hate the Ribbon concept, for Office users it has exposed a lot of functionality with live feedback that they never even realized existed.

If you have worked with Office users at all, you have greater appreciation for the Ribbon, and how much more they can do and do faster. Most of the users are surprised when you reveal to them that some of the 'great new' features they are using, have been in Office for 10 or 15 years, but was hidden behind the an aged UI concept of menus.

This will expose more of the basic features of Windows to the average user, and also all Microsoft to put more functionality into the shell without increasing clutter or a maze of menus.

As for people that are afraid it is 'too big', will get in the way, or don't like how it looks, turn it off or Auto Hide it, just like you can do in Office.

In a contrary construst, the Ribbon allows you to have a cleaner interface if you are minimalist, as everything is hidden until you need it. I personally like keeping the Ribbon auto hidden, to have a clean sheet of paper or spreadsheet and then access a massive set of features when the Ribbon drops down.

The other thing that is overlooked about the Ribbon, is the 'live' feedback it offers that users like, so they can flip through a bunch of styles or options and see how it looks by just flipping through them on the Ribbon instead of having to select one, and then go back through hoops and select another one.

In early GUI development, there was no easy way to offer a massive number of features or commands in a graphical manner, which is why Menus and subsuquent dialog boxes were later used. However menus are not a 'graphical' interface concept, as they are a list of words, which is a throw back to text based and command line interfaces.

Microsoft has been trying to shove people to newer UI, specifically GUI concepts for years, and the Ribbion is just a way to replace menus and dialog boxes in one 'graphical' manner, so that people don't have to memorize lists of words (menus) or dig through options (dialog boxes) to get to features or settings.

The Ribbon is very much a stepping stone in GUI advancement, but a crucial one that finally breaks the menu-dialog model that was necessary 30 years ago, but no longer is in 2011. Computers have been fast enough and had higher resolutions to offer a graphical replacement for menus for quite a while.

The Ribbon concept when sized properly is also inherently touch friendly, especially when contrasted to menus and dialogs in complex applications that have 100s or 1000s of commands and features.

I think Microsoft should force the Office team to make the Office 2010 ribbon framework publicly available and document it, and use it in Windows.
It looks much nicer than the ribbon used in Paint/WordPad/etc.

Aethec said,
I think Microsoft should force the Office team to make the Office 2010 ribbon framework publicly available and document it, and use it in Windows.
It looks much nicer than the ribbon used in Paint/WordPad/etc.

Specifically?

The only thing I know of difference is the lack of styling, although you can change the colors from the OS theme.

However, if you want all the Office 2010 styling (Aero blending) and other tricks, consider using WPF, as the Microsoft WPF Ribbon framework can all of this and more. Developers really should be considering WPF more and more now, and WinForms and traditional GDI less for application development, especially with the evolution it has taken from the initial release in Vista, and the extra capabilities it offers with regard to acceleration. WPF model is also much faster and easier to develop with, even if you are just using it for the applicaiton window and UI, and integrating older code behind it.

Anyway, look for the WPF Ribbon from Microsoft, it has what you want.

I think Office's ribbon looks nicer than the WPF one (especially the File menu...the WPF Ribbon's is glossy and doesn't look good IMHO).
I know you can style it, but the default appearance for both the native and managed ribbons should be Office 2010's.
Yes, I'm a maniac when it comes to how GUIs look.

Aethec said,
I think Office's ribbon looks nicer than the WPF one (especially the File menu...the WPF Ribbon's is glossy and doesn't look good IMHO).
I know you can style it, but the default appearance for both the native and managed ribbons should be Office 2010's.
Yes, I'm a maniac when it comes to how GUIs look.

The WPF Ribbon framework is based on the original Office 2007 one, obviously Office 2010 came afterwards with an updated version, I suppose Microsoft will update this soon enough.

I thought the new fashion was google-like no toolbar look !

They should try a right-click customizable context menu, that would be the newer and faster

From the thread in BPN:

My only concern is that Microsoft sometimes has to "pad" out controls in the Ribbon and even the File menu to justify the existence of a ribbon.

They don't have to do that for complex applications such as Office, but some of the Windows Live apps exhibit this. Take Windows Live Mail as an example. The File menu for composing a new message is next to useless (three options justifies a file menu?). There's a single Ribbon tab that holds THREE buttons.

On topic, using the Ribbon for Windows Explorer opens up new opportunities for people to add their own Explorer addons to the toolbar without cluttering up the user interface. Currently neither XP's or Vista/7's Explorers allow for this without bloating up the interface (it's worse on Vista/7 as toolbars are forced into new lines beneath the command bar).

This would clutter the hell out of a netbook or tablet but may be kind of a necessary evil for touch-screens.
I hope it stays there.

thartist said,
This would clutter the hell out of a netbook or tablet but may be kind of a necessary evil for touch-screens.
I hope it stays there.

Yep and Yep...

However, this is why Auto Hide (Minimize) is an option with Ribbons, and makes using Office on a Netbook far easier than using a pre-ribbon version of Office on a netbook, as you get more screen space with Office 2010 and a minimized Ribbon.

I have literally bought friends copies of Office 2010 for their netbooks after watching them (as I had done previously) struggle with Office 2003 and fighting for screen space on a display with a 600 pixel height.

djnv2010 said,
the more i see of possible Windows 8 screens, the more i want to stick with Windows 7!

While it is too early to tell. But if it ends up with ribbon whoring everywhere. I will refuse to use it.

I'm actually hoping for a metro-like interface... that would look very sexy and would remove the overall window chrome.... it would be something very different yet clean and minimialist.

YOU PEOPLE NEED TO READ...
While I agree the ribbon isn't suited for Explorer (it works really well in Office, other apps, etc.)... it's not final.. it's not even beta.... they are just PLAYING AROUND AND TESTING VARIOUS UI OPTIONS.

Read the article in full before you add a comment.

lunarworks said,
Uh-oh, here's where the UI consistency trouble starts. "Metro" and "Ribbon", battling it out for dominance.

Why? Metro isn't suitable for complex interfaces so why bother using it for that?

Where Metro makes sense:
Touch centric applications
Logon screen
Media applications (Media Center, Zune, Photo Gallery etc.)

Where ribbon makes sense:
Word processing
Photo editing
File management
E-mail

Now, tie these together by using similar typography, color themes, UI chrome design and they will be able to coexist within the Windows environment.

lunarworks said,
Uh-oh, here's where the UI consistency trouble starts. "Metro" and "Ribbon", battling it out for dominance.

If you look at the Zune software and compare it to Office, you'll notice quite a few similarities between the two.

floopydoodle said,

Why? Metro isn't suitable for complex interfaces so why bother using it for that?

Where Metro makes sense:
Touch centric applications
Logon screen
Media applications (Media Center, Zune, Photo Gallery etc.)

Where ribbon makes sense:
Word processing
Photo editing
File management
E-mail

Now, tie these together by using similar typography, color themes, UI chrome design and they will be able to coexist within the Windows environment.


The current "ribbons" in Windows Live Photo Gallery and Movie Maker are hideous and cluttered, in need of serious attention if that is the direction MS really wants to take.

lunarworks said,
Uh-oh, here's where the UI consistency trouble starts. "Metro" and "Ribbon", battling it out for dominance.

FYI, they're not polar opposites. Metro is clearly given a 'design language' designation. It's not a particular UI configuration, but more like a style or theme. Like Aero for instance. You could have a Ribbon with Metro style looks.

I'm liking the idea of a ribbon for Explorer. Currently, some features are buried frustratingly deep in the UI. I remember having to explain over phone how to unhide file extensions. The "move to folder" commands will be great. Most people don't know it exists in the right click menu, and even I forget it sometimes.

Obviously this is a very rough version, judging from all the placeholder icons. In my opinion, the command bar would look better above the ribbon, blended into the caption bar IE9 style.

It's still too early yet.
Give it a few more months, and the ribbon will probably blend in better after they've worked their magic.

Ribbonize everything isn't always the best. For example, if the calculator was ribbonized it will be one of the most ugliest application shipped with windows. Ribbon doesn't solve anything.

bing app said,
Ribbonize everything isn't always the best. For example, if the calculator was ribbonized it will be one of the most ugliest application shipped with windows. Ribbon doesn't solve anything.

But at the same time Microsoft needs to lay out very clear guidelines and actually stick to them - Ribbon is good in xyz area, menu based good in another area, and avoid using menus when dealing with zyx. People given Windows Media Player on Windows 7 a lot of flack but personally I find the interface a delight to use.

bing app said,
Ribbonize everything isn't always the best. For example, if the calculator was ribbonized it will be one of the most ugliest application shipped with windows. Ribbon doesn't solve anything.

According to the article the calculator already has the ribbon apparently lol.

Chewbob said,

According to the article the calculator already has the ribbon apparently lol.

The problem is some Microsoft design people want the conventional experience ribbon interface in everything instead of thinking outside the box and only using the ribbon pieces that are necessary for the functions they want.

Calculator would be a good analogy for this. I'm also sure there's stuff that they could do in Explorer that would learn from the ribbon without adopting it 100% and saddling Explorer with unnecessary interface.

I don't think a lot of you guys realise that it's designed to benefit tablet users. That's the problem with a single OS trying to cater to both touch screens and traditional keyboard/mouse usage.

Flawed said,
I don't think a lot of you guys realise that it's designed to benefit tablet users. That's the problem with a single OS trying to cater to both touch screens and traditional keyboard/mouse usage.

How does it benefit tablet users? 2/3 of the elements are smaller than before, the Tabs are very small, there is much unused space, you need more clicks for common actions like starting a slideshow, it does take up 1/4 of the screen real estate.

If anything this is to replace the classic menu for Professional editions of Win8.

tiadimundo said,

How does it benefit tablet users? 2/3 of the elements are smaller than before, the Tabs are very small, there is much unused space, you need more clicks for common actions like starting a slideshow, it does take up 1/4 of the screen real estate.

If anything this is to replace the classic menu for Professional editions of Win8.

I don't think you own a tablet, because the Ribbon interface in Office is amazing on mine.

I must admit, I wonder why IE9.0 had no ribbon interface.
"The ribbon is best in editors, not browsers"? Enable the favorite- and the command bar in IE 9.0, what is more worse? And the screenshot 1 show quickcommands too, sorry, but I see only benefits comparing with the current GUI of MS Apps.

Lastwebpage said,
I must admit, I wonder why IE9.0 had no ribbon interface.
"The ribbon is best in editors, not browsers"? Enable the favorite- and the command bar in IE 9.0, what is more worse? And the screenshot 1 show quickcommands too, sorry, but I see only benefits comparing with the current GUI of MS Apps.

Was experimented in IE8 development but it was found unsuitable and for good reason.
Here's a image of it; http://www.winsupersite.com/co...eviews/ie8_ribbon_proto.jpg

computerwizkid said,

Was experimented in IE8 development but it was found unsuitable...

MS decide this was unsutiable. The current GUI of the IE9.0 is not better, on my opinion.

My first instinct was to think "gross." But, I've been looking at the screenshots for the past 4 minutes straight, and I believe using the Ribbon on Explorer might be a good idea after all! The functionality is logically placed, and although we power users would have to re-train to use/find/remember the functionality in ribbon fashion, it may be worth it.

I wish I could field test it.

PUC_Snakeman said,
My first instinct was to think "gross." But, I've been looking at the screenshots for the past 4 minutes straight, and I believe using the Ribbon on Explorer might be a good idea after all! The functionality is logically placed, and although we power users would have to re-train to use/find/remember the functionality in ribbon fashion, it may be worth it.

I wish I could field test it.


The more I look the worse it gets. And I'm not talking about the look or the design, just the functionality. It would be a huge step backwards, IMHO.

We should keep in mind why the Ribbon was born: Word 2003 had 9 menus, 31 toolbars (!), 19 Task Panes and a status bar. Explorer now has 1 menu/toolbar combination and 1 Details Pane.

tiadimundo said,

The more I look the worse it gets. And I'm not talking about the look or the design, just the functionality. It would be a huge step backwards, IMHO.

We should keep in mind why the Ribbon was born: Word 2003 had 9 menus, 31 toolbars (!), 19 Task Panes and a status bar. Explorer now has 1 menu/toolbar combination and 1 Details Pane.

But Explorer has a tonne of features hidden in right click menus as well - plus Microsoft noted that they had heaps of request for features to be added to Office which already existed but due to the way the interface was designed they were difficult if not impossible to get to. I'm sure Explorer has a tonne of features but because being able to access them are spread over multiple menus, control panels etc. the average user assume the functionality isn't there.

Take the easy to use interface added to shadow copies (it appeared on Neowin not too long ago) - yes, shadow copies existed but was it easy to use, access and roll back for the average user? no it wasn't, so Microsoft has decided to expose this functionality in a way that is easier for the end user. Don't expect new features in Windows 8 but instead existing functionality exposed in a way that is easier to use for the average end user in much the same way that Apple has taken existing technology and repackaged it in an easy to use form.

Edited by Mr Nom Nom's, Apr 3 2011, 2:42am :

Some say its too much, but at the same time, its giving you a lot of power when working with and managing files. Of course, there should be an option to hide the Ribbon like in Office 2010.

Mr. Dee said,
Some say its too much, but at the same time, its giving you a lot of power when working with and managing files. Of course, there should be an option to hide the Ribbon like in Office 2010.


In this state the Ribbon would give you power you really don't need anymore. When do you need to rotate an image for example? Almost never because every camera or smartphone will rotate a photo automatically.

But other basic feature are missing. Where is print? Where can I see when a picture was taken? Or the rating?

singularity0821 said,
When you think they can' t mess up Explorer anymore they find a new way.... They should better add tabs and bring back Vista's sort bar for all views....

But QTTabBar fixed Win 7's explorer, it hopefully will fix 8's too. http://sourceforge.net/projects/qttabbar/


It's funny how in Windows, you have to install third party programs just to get something as simple and essential as tabbed file browsing. We've had this functionality built into every desktop environment in Linux for years. Hell, Windows doesn't even have multiple workspaces.

Flawed said,
It's funny how in Windows, you have to install third party programs just to get something as simple and essential as tabbed file browsing. We've had this functionality built into every desktop environment in Linux for years. Hell, Windows doesn't even have multiple workspaces.

Ok, so you go off and enjoy your Linux whilst us 'big kids' enjoy using out Windows and Mac computers which allow us to run Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Quark, Quicken, MYOB, tonnes of games from Steam and so on.

Flawed said,

It's funny how in Windows, you have to install third party programs just to get something as simple and essential as tabbed file browsing. We've had this functionality built into every desktop environment in Linux for years. Hell, Windows doesn't even have multiple workspaces.

Heh, Linux is so funny.

computerwizkid said,

Heh, Linux is so funny.

Yet it looks better than what Microsoft creates. While I do like the taskbar button features and Aero and .NET. Everything else is a joke. At least in Linux, we don't need patching libraries to get custom themes, virtual desktops, more customibility for users who want that and what not. Witrh Windows, you have to wait 4-5 years to get anything new. Linux it's constantly changing, being improved and the alike.

Just because you can't figure out how to use Linux, and need all the symplisity of GUI's, inconsistent applications, ugly ribbon, and pay high price money for an operating system that doesn't really give much back for the price it's worth. Don't be mad at Linux because your a Microsoft tool.

The only thing that keeps Microsoft in business is simply because Mac overcharges for it's hardware and because Microsoft locks in users in gaming. Linux doesn't have a market simply because it doesn't have money to do advertising. So yeah, you prefer a system like Windows, good for you. While I prefer Linux, that actually gives me what I want, and it's users, rather than crappy overcharged applications and you have to actually hack the OS to do what you want and live under a crappy EULA, then be my guest.

ZekeComa said,

Yet it looks better than what Microsoft creates. While I do like the taskbar button features and Aero and .NET. Everything else is a joke. At least in Linux, we don't need patching libraries to get custom themes, virtual desktops, more customibility for users who want that and what not. Witrh Windows, you have to wait 4-5 years to get anything new. Linux it's constantly changing, being improved and the alike.

Just because you can't figure out how to use Linux, and need all the symplisity of GUI's, inconsistent applications, ugly ribbon, and pay high price money for an operating system that doesn't really give much back for the price it's worth. Don't be mad at Linux because your a Microsoft tool.

The only thing that keeps Microsoft in business is simply because Mac overcharges for it's hardware and because Microsoft locks in users in gaming. Linux doesn't have a market simply because it doesn't have money to do advertising. So yeah, you prefer a system like Windows, good for you. While I prefer Linux, that actually gives me what I want, and it's users, rather than crappy overcharged applications and you have to actually hack the OS to do what you want and live under a crappy EULA, then be my guest.

Ha! "Symplisity"! It's always the guy bashing someone else, essentially calling him "simple", that can't spell.

I don't feel like getting into this huge MS vs. Linux vs. Mac debate but please don't tell me Linux doesn't have market share "simply because it doesn't have money to do advertising". You can sell that to someone else but anybody on this site knows better. I'm not saying it isn't true but it by no means represents any sizable portion of the reason why Linux has such a slow adoption rate in both the business and consumer worlds.

ZekeComa said,

Yet it looks better than what Microsoft creates. While I do like the taskbar button features and Aero and .NET. Everything else is a joke. At least in Linux, we don't need patching libraries to get custom themes, virtual desktops, more customibility for users who want that and what not. Witrh Windows, you have to wait 4-5 years to get anything new. Linux it's constantly changing, being improved and the alike.

Just because you can't figure out how to use Linux, and need all the symplisity of GUI's, inconsistent applications, ugly ribbon, and pay high price money for an operating system that doesn't really give much back for the price it's worth. Don't be mad at Linux because your a Microsoft tool.

The only thing that keeps Microsoft in business is simply because Mac overcharges for it's hardware and because Microsoft locks in users in gaming. Linux doesn't have a market simply because it doesn't have money to do advertising. So yeah, you prefer a system like Windows, good for you. While I prefer Linux, that actually gives me what I want, and it's users, rather than crappy overcharged applications and you have to actually hack the OS to do what you want and live under a crappy EULA, then be my guest.

You can say all the nice things about Linux and how amazing it is you want, but we're not going to listen to you, because it's Linux.

Nobody cares about Linux in the home desktop environment.

Tim Dawg said,
Ha! "Symplisity"! It's always the guy bashing someone else, essentially calling him "simple", that can't spell.

He wasn't calling him simple. He was talking about how some people can only operate with simplistic graphical user interfaces, which is in fact true. Resorting to ad hominem attacks really is the lowest common denominator. I could quite easily rip apart any one of your posts in terms of grammaticality, but I choose not to; I suggest you do the same.

As far as the Windows vs Linux debate is concerned, he correctly stated that a great deal of Microsoft's success is owed to its aggressive lock-in policy, whether it be Direct3D with its highly platform dependent COM based API, or proprietary file formats such MS Office's DOC, XLS etc. Furthermore, platform support for newer applications like IE9 can be arbitrarily withheld without justification.

Flawed said,
As far as the Windows vs Linux debate is concerned, he correctly stated that a great deal of Microsoft's success is owed to its aggressive lock-in policy, whether it be Direct3D with its highly platform dependent COM based API, or proprietary file formats such MS Office's DOC, XLS etc. Furthermore, platform support for newer applications like IE9 can be arbitrarily withheld without justification.
See what you fail to understand is that there isn't a better competitor. Take DirectX, what other options to game devs have? OpenGL? You mean the same set of libraries thats always a version behind compared to DX? ID Software is one of the only companies that use OpenGL on Windows and even Carmack agrees that DX is much better now.

How about Microsoft Office, what's the competitor to that? Open Office? You mean the same program that looks like absolute trash on Windows and doesn't offer even 1/10th the functionality of MS Office? Sure if all you do is type some letter from time to time then yeh OO is great, but for anything more than that it sucks.

As for IE9, why should Microsoft support an almost 10 year old OS when all its doing is holding back the computing world?

Linux doesn't have a market simply because it doesn't have money to do advertising.

ZekeComa said,

Yet it looks better than what Microsoft creates. While I do like the taskbar button features and Aero and .NET. Everything else is a joke. At least in Linux, we don't need patching libraries to get custom themes, virtual desktops, more customibility for users who want that and what not. Witrh Windows, you have to wait 4-5 years to get anything new. Linux it's constantly changing, being improved and the alike.

Just because you can't figure out how to use Linux, and need all the symplisity of GUI's, inconsistent applications, ugly ribbon, and pay high price money for an operating system that doesn't really give much back for the price it's worth. Don't be mad at Linux because your a Microsoft tool.

The only thing that keeps Microsoft in business is simply because Mac overcharges for it's hardware and because Microsoft locks in users in gaming. Linux doesn't have a market simply because it doesn't have money to do advertising. So yeah, you prefer a system like Windows, good for you. While I prefer Linux, that actually gives me what I want, and it's users, rather than crappy overcharged applications and you have to actually hack the OS to do what you want and live under a crappy EULA, then be my guest.

Wow. So from a one line comment you deduced he's a Microsoft tool, but from all the pro-Linux stuff you just spewed out, what should I be calling you then?

Flawed said,

It's funny how in Windows, you have to install third party programs just to get something as simple and essential as tabbed file browsing. We've had this functionality built into every desktop environment in Linux for years. Hell, Windows doesn't even have multiple workspaces.

Um, you do realize the WHOLE UI concept of Windows has a thing called the taskbar?

The Taskbar by another name would be a 'Tab' bar.

There is no reason for Tabs even in a Browser or anywhere else on windows, as the Taskbar provides a Tab interface for everything in the OS.

The Taskbar is why Microsoft was like, WTF when people started asking for Tabs in Internet Explorer, and they even tried to explain that everyone already has this functionality, but that the tabs are on the taskbar instead of wasting screen space inside the browser or any other application.

Everytime I see people coming from OS X or Linux, where 'tabs' in the applications are a good idea, and yet not 'understanding' that it is redundant in Windows with the Taskbar, I wonder if they just don't think it through or have some learning impairment.

Seriously my friend, think it through, the Taskbar in Windows IS 'tabs' for freaking everything, including several opened file folders.

ZekeComa said,
Yet it looks better than what Microsoft creates. While I do like the taskbar button features and Aero and .NET. Everything else is a joke. At least in Linux, we don't need patching libraries to get custom themes, virtual desktops, more customibility for users who want that and what not. Witrh Windows, you have to wait 4-5 years to get anything new. Linux it's constantly changing, being improved and the alike.

Just because you can't figure out how to use Linux, and need all the symplisity of GUI's, inconsistent applications, ugly ribbon, and pay high price money for an operating system that doesn't really give much back for the price it's worth. Don't be mad at Linux because your a Microsoft tool.

The only thing that keeps Microsoft in business is simply because Mac overcharges for it's hardware and because Microsoft locks in users in gaming. Linux doesn't have a market simply because it doesn't have money to do advertising. So yeah, you prefer a system like Windows, good for you. While I prefer Linux, that actually gives me what I want, and it's users, rather than crappy overcharged applications and you have to actually hack the OS to do what you want and live under a crappy EULA, then be my guest.

If you haven't caught onto it - end users run applications, not operating systems. Operating systems are a means to an end not an end in itself. Great, so you have a marvellous operating system where no big name mainstream application vendor writes software for it - so whilst you boast about the ability to install weirdly named half finished applications, Bob and Jane Smith want their computer to run the software they can purchase at the local big box store or Jack Smith the family gamer wants to run games he has bought off steam using his paper run money.

ZekeComa said,

Yet it looks better than what Microsoft creates. While I do like the taskbar button features and Aero and .NET. Everything else is a joke. At least in Linux, we don't need patching libraries to get custom themes, virtual desktops, more customibility for users who want that and what not. Witrh Windows, you have to wait 4-5 years to get anything new. Linux it's constantly changing, being improved and the alike.

Just because you can't figure out how to use Linux, and need all the symplisity of GUI's, inconsistent applications, ugly ribbon, and pay high price money for an operating system that doesn't really give much back for the price it's worth. Don't be mad at Linux because your a Microsoft tool.

The only thing that keeps Microsoft in business is simply because Mac overcharges for it's hardware and because Microsoft locks in users in gaming. Linux doesn't have a market simply because it doesn't have money to do advertising. So yeah, you prefer a system like Windows, good for you. While I prefer Linux, that actually gives me what I want, and it's users, rather than crappy overcharged applications and you have to actually hack the OS to do what you want and live under a crappy EULA, then be my guest.

Assuming that people that don't have 'love' for Linux are just Microsoft 'tools' is like sticking your fingers in your ears and going blah blah blah blah blah. If you want to buy into a OS religion, you should at least take open your mind to reinforce that your beliefs are founded in reality.

Let me say a couple of things, and please don't stick your fingers in your ears or race to justify why even if what I say is factual, it is somehow bad.

1) Customizable... There are more customization features available for Windows than all the Linux world times 100.

• Even in just the base UI, there are basic adjustments and features that if you look, you will find. I would bet that 5 minutes with you personally, and you would say out loud, "Wow, I truly had no idea all of this was available."

• In third party features for Windows, there is an inexhaustible number of customization utilities. Have you ever noticed, that a lot of the open source Linux desktop tools are also available for Windows?

• Show me ANY Linux Desktop, configured with every 'cool' feature you like and customization, and within a few minutes and a few internet searches, I can replicate the Linux Desktop from effects and themes to even functionality.

2. Going beyond traditional customization...

• First you realize the Shell of Windows is easily replaceable, I have friends running a custom shell on Windows that is a copy of a Linux desktop shell and window manager. (They also use the BSD/R5 Unix subsystem in Windows, and run a lot of traditional Unix software that runs seamlessly on the Windows desktop.)

• Open Source vs Closed Source is a rather big misconception for the under 30 crowd. Just because you can see the code of Linux in a 'friendly' language like C++, does not mean it is any less visable than closed source software. Old timers, learned various machine code, and smarter people still do, so that they can pop open any closed source application or OS binary, and read it almost as easily as a kiddie can read through open source in C++.
-The point of this, before Linux existed, people modified Windows and Applications all the time, but they modified the binary, and to this day, Microsoft doesn't litigate against people that do this with Windows, even when it is adding functionality that normally costs more. (Go look up remote Multi-User modifications for Windows, or even modifications that alter portions of the NT kernel layers to tweak features.) This stuff is created by people that can read Windows NT 'code' almost as easily as a kiddie can read Linux open source code.

• OS policies and designed modifications. One thing that a lot of Linux users do not realize, is that Windows is designed with an extensive settings system. A lot of things that require new libraries/binaries or a tweaked kernel in Linux to achieve are simple registry setting in Windows accessible via the policy interface or the registry itself. There is far fewer reasons to need a new compiled binary to change low level functionality, as there are settings to modify these things instead.

3) Linux itself... There is nothing wrong with Linux, but this does not make it an equal to Windows. They are two entire different kernel designs and two entirely different OS models. Not long ago, this gave Linux some advantages because of the minimalist nature of the UNIX OS model it uses, that deals with its generic I/O concepts and its parameter/textual IPC mechanisms. However, as hardware shifted in the late 90s, the extra 'overhead' of the NT model, which is unique, no longer impaired its performance, and instead the features of its model started helping to improve performance over Linux because it has less work to do for more complex software that is now common. NT uses a full object based OS model, so it deals with objects and the full nature of how objects operate in computer technology. This means that instead of having to check for what a new 'process' did, the calling process has complete access to the object without having to do any further work. It also allows for NT to have multiple technologies and changes in processes, without breaking older or newer processes, as they inherently know the 'objects' capabilities, and can ignore or react accordingly. For example, Vista introduced a new video model, WDDM; however, this did not require NT to be changed or dismantled, nor did it require for the XPDM to be replaced. Instead the object based model of NT, just deals with both video drivers/models transparently, and use features if they are there and old processes don't break when they encounter WDDM and don't understand results of its new functionality. In Linux, this is impossible without a massive transition layer to handle both video models, as some processes will fail with the new one, and some processes will fail with the older one.

There is also the base kernel differences, Linux uses a very traditional and old kernel model, that uses bandaid tricks to get past the inherent limitations and be more like a hybrid kernel. NT is more than a hybrid kernel, it is something that didn't exist prior to NT, most of it was only OS/Kernel theory, and to this day remains unique in its API layering and how it deals with OS subsystems. It doesn't have the locking issues that OS X has, it doesn't have the dependency issues that Linux has, and if I go on, is a rather long list.

There is a reason Microsoft's NT team did NOT use a traditional Microkernel or Monolithic kernel, and there are reasons they absolutely did not want to use a UNIX based OS model, as they wanted an Object based model instead, which is still paying off for Microsoft, as NT can truly extend to virtually any technology concept without having to change the kernel or the OS model and without having to replace existing technologies.

People too easily still see Windows as the Win3.x through Win9x OS technologies, that were nothing special, and were abandoned when Windows XP was released. The Win9X code was killed, and not used past WinME)


So before you assume people are Microsoft 'tools' I suggest you take time to sit down with an OS theorist or engineer and talk hard facts of why Windows NT is kind of interesting and using OS and kernel concepts that just don't exist anywhere else. There truly are things that Windows 7 is doing everyday that is technical impossible to do on Linux or even OS X.

Lazlo said,
I personally love it. Just let me minimize it.

Exactly, it's possible, but it would be nice to have a compact ribbon, many of the options are nice to have them in the ribbon with no need to go to the windows/folders settings. Maybe a different approach. Lets see what they bring to the beta and final version

I guess it's an attempt to make all MS software more consistent in terms of UI. Ribbon can be minimized in most programs currently, so I, for one, welcome this change.
Why they didn't put Back/Forward/Up & Search in Ribbon, though?

cralias said,
I guess it's an attempt to make all MS software more consistent in terms of UI. Ribbon can be minimized in most programs currently, so I, for one, welcome this change.
Why they didn't put Back/Forward/Up & Search in Ribbon, though?

It's more likely that it's designed to make Windows 8 more touch friendly in preparation for tablets. Although striking a balance between touch and mouse/keyboard friendliness is going to be a challenge.

CalumCookable said,
Please don't do this MS. The ribbon is best in editors, not browsers

This is for the benefit of tablet, not desktop users. Windows 8 is catering to that market. Expect little to nothing for the traditional laptop/desktop user.

Flawed said,

This is for the benefit of tablet, not desktop users. Windows 8 is catering to that market. Expect little to nothing for the traditional laptop/desktop user.

Source ? ... oh yeah, good ol' Flawed ...

Flawed said,

This is for the benefit of tablet, not desktop users. Windows 8 is catering to that market. Expect little to nothing for the traditional laptop/desktop user.

Catering 'more' to that market. Windows 7 is far more touch friendly that people seem to 'get'.
(Everytime I read someone say the 'close' button, etc, etc is too small for touch users, I smack my hand on head and if possible, remind them they can adjust the UI elements to any size, making the close button 400 pixels high if they really want.)

As for 'nothing for traditional'... You haven't been paying attention, there is a lot of advancements all around, with desktop/traditional getting the most focus.

I assume this is using up a lot of space with touch screens in mind. Certainly much easier to navigate with you finger than going through the tree of a conventional file menu.

remember these are internal "test lab" builds to try different things to see if they work or not, not nessicarly what will be in it...

TRC said,
What a cluttered mess.

My suggestions to Microsoft:

1. At least use the Ribbon style of Office 2011, where the glass blends into the Ribbon Tabs area. It will reduce the clutter effect.

2. Ok, the Title Bar has the Quick Access Toolbar, with Back, Forward, Up. Why not include the Address Bar and Search Box there as well? Then leave some space for dragging with the Title Bar. After that, you can remove the toolbar below the Ribbon.

3. So that Status Bar is back in exchange for the Details Pane. Why not RETAIN the Details Pane, and then, add the VIEW controls at the bottom right of it? This maintais consistency between Win 7 and Win 8.

TRC said,
What a cluttered mess.

How about reading the article:

However, this doesn't necessary mean that Microsoft will use this in their final product release. Much like the codename Longhorn builds, Microsoft likes to toy around with designs and functionalities.

Read, digest, ruminate over it then post a comment.

Mr Nom Nom's said,
How about reading the article:
Read, digest, ruminate over it then post a comment.

I don't see anything there stopping him commenting "What a cluttered mess" which is an opinion on how it looks in the current screenshots. Are you saying that we should not express what we feel about the current look because it could change in the future? Perhaps I should post a reply to you saying "What a great post" because it could be edited in the future?

Mr Nom Nom's said,

How about reading the article:

Read, digest, ruminate over it then post a comment.


Why is he not allowed to comment on what he sees?? Oh, let's just shut up and watch these pictures in silence! Great idea for a discussion site! You should be hired! Some of you Microsoft defenders are just too much.

Buio said,
I don't see anything there stopping him commenting "What a cluttered mess" which is an opinion on how it looks in the current screenshots. Are you saying that we should not express what we feel about the current look because it could change in the future? Perhaps I should post a reply to you saying "What a great post" because it could be edited in the future?

Northgrove said,
Why is he not allowed to comment on what he sees?? Oh, let's just shut up and watch these pictures in silence! Great idea for a discussion site! You should be hired! Some of you Microsoft defenders are just too much.

Because his comment is pointless - the screenshot is of a concept piece, it isn't the final version. If he were to comment on the concept by saying, "the problem with the concept of the ribbon is that it takes up too much vertical space in an industry where the on going trend is for wide screen" then it he would have a valid point or if he said "the ribbon is an application centric approach where as Explorer needs something unique due to its place in the operating system" then again that would be a really poignant observation to make.

All the original poster made was "What a cluttered mess" - and how is that furthering a productive discussion? he might as well have pointed and done the Nelson Muntz 'ha ha' for all its worth.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

Because his comment is pointless - the screenshot is of a concept piece, it isn't the final version. If he were to comment on the concept by saying, "the problem with the concept of the ribbon is that it takes up too much vertical space in an industry where the on going trend is for wide screen" then it he would have a valid point or if he said "the ribbon is an application centric approach where as Explorer needs something unique due to its place in the operating system" then again that would be a really poignant observation to make.

All the original poster made was "What a cluttered mess" - and how is that furthering a productive discussion? he might as well have pointed and done the Nelson Muntz 'ha ha' for all its worth.

Then why even post the article? If Neowin doesn't want comments, then turn them off.

MidTxWRX said,
Looks like a LOT of wasted space.

With the folderband gone, when you minimize the ribbon, you actually gain even more vertical space than in Windows Vista/7...

And if you actually used the folderband, fear not for you will be able to pin everything (and even more) to the titlebar, like in other ribbon-enabled apps.

I respect everyone's opinions, but I can't understand all those guys below crying "oh please no" without even justifying their stand... Given what I stated above, I have absolutely no reason to be against the ribbon UI.

Kuraj said,
With the folderband gone, when you minimize the ribbon, you actually gain even more vertical space than in Windows Vista/7.

Even so, it is funny that Microsoft designs a UI (ribbon + fat taskbar) that takes up a lot of vertical screen space when practically all screens today are widescreen and a lot of other applications try and minimize the vertical screen clutter instead.

Yes I know it can be hidden and the taskbar moved (I got it on the left side). But still Microsoft is like doing the opposite of what should be done in design right now.

Not a good design from start, and they just keep going with it like they still think it's a good idea.

Buio said,
Even so, it is funny that Microsoft designs a UI (ribbon + fat taskbar) that takes up a lot of vertical screen space when practically all screens today are widescreen and a lot of other applications try and minimize the vertical screen clutter instead. (...)

Well, you do have a point... I really didn't understand the ribbon in Paint, because it takes several times more space than the old one, without much new functionality. But then I got used to pinning favourite actions to the titlebar, and I really love it ever since.

My point was merely that there's something in it for everyone, even those who don't care about Ribbon won't really be hurt like the miserable beings they make themselves look like

Minimoose said,

alpha =/= gui

How hard is that to grasp.

oh im sorry so since its alpha im still not allowed to make a comment on how ugly the leaked picture is? Welcome to neowin you must be new here....

Fubar said,

oh im sorry so since its alpha im still not allowed to make a comment on how ugly the leaked picture is? Welcome to neowin you must be new here....

I never said you weren't allowed, it's just a silly thing to comment on; don't have a hissy fit.

Minimoose said,

I never said you weren't allowed, it's just a silly thing to comment on; don't have a hissy fit.


not having a hissy fit at all... you're the one that needed to comment on my post;)

Minimoose said,

alpha =/= gui

How hard is that to grasp.

Ic. So all Windows 8 leaked are not final, lets stop commenting about anything until Windows 8 final is released.

Minimoose said,

alpha =/= gui

How hard is that to grasp.

in fact, you are missing the whole point.

Microsoft is leaking some image just for receive a customer feedback about it. For example, most people complained about several features present in Longhorn, features that, right now, are not present in Vista.

Looks too messy, and needs to be made smaller and fit more. As it would just not work on Netbooks or anything. If they make it smaller, and fine tune it then it will be fine. If not, hopefully you can turn it off. Luckily it's very early days though.

I believe this just help average users discover useful and potential features in explorer, besides I'm pretty sure they will always give the user the option to hide the ribbon, I'm actually liking those screenshots a lot, also people keep in mind this is a VERY EARLY build, things will tweaked/changed a lot before RTM.

TechDudeGeorge said,
Looks too messy, and needs to be made smaller and fit more. As it would just not work on Netbooks or anything. If they make it smaller, and fine tune it then it will be fine. If not, hopefully you can turn it off. Luckily it's very early days though.

I agree. It looks like a mess. Menu's are better suited for this kind of stuff.

Majesticmerc said,

I agree. It looks like a mess. Menu's are better suited for this kind of stuff.

The ribbon system *is* menus. That's something not a lot of people seem to be grasping about the style. If you autohide the toolbars, you see the titles of each ribbon just like the menu bar used to appear. The big change is that, by clicking it, instead of a menu popping up, a whole related toolbar shows.

Office with ribbon on auto-hide is one of the most pleasant software UIs I've ever come across, and I think it's a great way to bring menus and toolbars together in an ultimately space *saving* style.

Majesticmerc said,
I agree. It looks like a mess. Menu's are better suited for this kind of stuff.

But as the article states:

However, this doesn't necessary mean that Microsoft will use this in their final product release. Much like the codename Longhorn builds, Microsoft likes to toy around with designs and functionalities.

They're place holders where things will be moved around, icons resized etc. Personally it is a good idea that needs to be slimmed down. If it means that the average user no longer needs to navigate right clicked menus then support and ease of use will increase - watch a novice use a computer for the first time and you'll see what I mean.

Joshie said,
The ribbon system *is* menus. That's something not a lot of people seem to be grasping about the style.

Ribbons are NOT "menus" just like the classic ones that you didn't have to hide to save space. You think you are so smart.

I don't want this mess ALL THERE for options that could stay in a right-click menu or a Settings panel.

thartist said,

Ribbons are NOT "menus" just like the classic ones that you didn't have to hide to save space. You think you are so smart.

I don't want this mess ALL THERE for options that could stay in a right-click menu or a Settings panel.


well if the menus activated from the menu bar didn't hide when you were done with them you would probably think they were in your way, saying the ribbon interface isnt a kind of menu is like saying it can't possibly be a motorcycle if it have three wheels

I'd much rather be able to click the view section tick the show hidden files box and then get back to work, right now you have to click the tools menu or organize go to folder options which opens a new dialogue in which you have to the tab view and then find the same checkbox in a long list of checkboxes. Ask yourself which one is best.

The ribbons will need to autohide but as long as they do that the ribbons will beat common menus hands down...

Joshie said,

The ribbon system *is* menus. That's something not a lot of people seem to be grasping about the style. If you autohide the toolbars, you see the titles of each ribbon just like the menu bar used to appear. The big change is that, by clicking it, instead of a menu popping up, a whole related toolbar shows.

Office with ribbon on auto-hide is one of the most pleasant software UIs I've ever come across, and I think it's a great way to bring menus and toolbars together in an ultimately space *saving* style.

I agree. Once you use the ribbon some, it becomes a HUGE time saver. I welcome this improvement in Windows 8.

thartist said,

Ribbons are NOT "menus" just like the classic ones that you didn't have to hide to save space. You think you are so smart.

I don't want this mess ALL THERE for options that could stay in a right-click menu or a Settings panel.

No I don't think he's wrong at all. If you double click the ribbon bar, it collapses and you can use it like you would a menu -- you click the title, it fades in, and when you're done, it fades out. The only difference is how the menu items are presented.

People make way too much about how much space the ribbon takes.

The problem though could be that its often an unnecessarily clumsy and inelegant way to present tasks. Look at the new Windows Paint ribbon versus the old toolbar. It just feels like overkill.

And look at this screenshot.. there's a listbox of folders in the middle of the ribbon, and on another tab a listbox of view modes. Yuck.. just clumsy, ugly UI design, a result of it being designed down to be simple to understand.

I hope they're thinking about remaking the look and feel of Windows to be more like Metro, so even if they want to tinker around with a Ribbon interface, that they'll at least make it look better.