More info revealed on Windows RT port of Word 2013

Microsoft has already announced that a preview version of Office 2013 will be a part of all Windows RT-based devices, including Microsoft's own Surface tablet. Microsoft will automatically update Office 2013 to the final version sometime in early 2013. Today, Microsoft has offered up some new information on how one part of the Office 2013 software package, Word 2013, will work with Windows RT.

In a post on the official Word blog, Microsoft says that when a user of a Windows RT device stops using Word 2013 for a certain time period, it goes into a mode known as "deep idle", which puts the software in a battery conservation mode. Microsoft says, " ... when you interact with Word again, it’ll throttle up instantly to give you the great responsiveness that you crave."

Word 2013 will also be optimized to make sure it uses as little memory as possible on a Windows RT tablet. Microsoft says:

More specifically, Word releases 10% to 35% of its private memory usage whenever the user minimizes Word or fully obscures Word with another application. We call this “Low Resource Mode” (aka LRM), which is actually an Office-wide feature that is implemented for each Office application. Word and LRM are doing a great service here by preemptively releasing memory on our terms without sacrificing the user experience. Without LRM in play, the user is at greater risk for running low on memory and triggering expensive OS paging behaviors that can lead to indiscriminate user pain across multiple applications.

Finally, Microsoft wanted to make sure that typing on Word 2013 on a Windows RT touch screen was seamless, along with scrolling through a Word document. We will learn a lot more about Office 2013 on Windows RT when the first such devices are launched on October 26th.

Source: Word blog | Image via Microsoft

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We call this “Low Resource Mode” (aka LRM)

Interesting to showcase this, and is a reminder of the older memory priority system of Windows NT.

Office takes this process a step further by unloading non essential libraries on its own.

With Vista and newer, Windows added a new memory priority flag, so this is handled without a very direct and specific OS specific event, like minimizing an application.

In older versions of NT like XP if you Minimize and Application, Windows will compact and shove non active application RAM to the pagefile. (This is a performance issue when flipping between large applications and you minimize them instead of flipping between them on XP and earlier versions of NT. This is one reason Vista and especially Windows 7/8 are much faster and smoother than XP in general.)

Developers can implement their own variations of this type of technology to reduce their RAM footprint in a couple of ways. 1) They can dump portions of their own code/libraries themselves, like Office is doing. 2) They can also shove non active RAM allocations to the pagefile by firing a compact RAM flag on the process.

Since Windows RT will be dealing with Flash based media, dropping/compacting to the Flash drive is negligible.

Nice to see the Office team is looking at optimizing for battery as much as possible.

They are already running circles around any 'resemblance' of an Office Suite on Android and the iPad, and Office 2013 is significantly bigger and more complex software, yet is far faster than anything on iPad or Android.

Really does look like quite a bit of development is going into the arm version of windows.... almost makes me think that's more the future of windows than intel.

Of course the metro version of office should be #1 on the "to do" list but I have a feeling they are going to begin to move office in that direction over time and they are still experimenting with the best ways to bring complex interactions to metro.

Virutally all of the other ARM apps are WinRT apps, so Windows will automatically idle them and release their memory by default. The same behaviour is also exhibited on Windows 8 [Desktop].

Edited by ~Johnny, Oct 2 2012, 11:12pm :