Windows 8 app blog talks more about Metro live tiles

A couple of days ago, Microsoft updated its Windows 8 app developer blog with a the first part of a two part article that offered some hints to Metro app makers on how to create and update their app's live tiles. Today, the app developer blog posted up the second part of the live tiles article as Microsoft's Kevin Michael Woley gives even more advice to Metro app makers on how to design their app's live tiles.

The highly technical blog post once again gives a number of code examples that programmers can use for creating the live tiles for their Metro apps. Woley uses the food truck Metro app again to explain his points. Woley states that there are a total of four ways a Metro app can offer updates on its live tile. He states:

Apps can use local notifications to update their tile, which is useful if info changes while the app is running. Apps can schedule tile and toast updates to happen at precise times. Also, apps can use push or polling tile notifications to update their tiles from the cloud while they are not running. Polling is great for low-frequency broadcast content. Push is great for sending toast notifications, which need to arrive immediately, or tile updates that are targeted to individual users. In this post, I focus on polling updates and local updates.

For the Metro food truck app, which keeps track of all the food trucks in a given city, Woley says it's best for the app to use periodic notifications to update the live title. He adds it should only take a few lines of code for this feature to be put in a Windows 8 Metro app. Because a food truck can actually move its location during the day, the app can be coded, via either JavaScript or C#, to send out an update on the trucks' position every hour.

Sometimes a user may want to find a very specific food truck. In that case, the app creators can program the app so that a user can pin a specific food truck's location on the screen. This is called using secondary tiles and once that is set up for, say, the Nom Nom Barbecue Truck (sounds good, doesn't it?), the users can simply view the tile to find the location of that one truck. Again, Woley offers some example code in the blog for putting in secondary tile support for a Metro app.

Image via Microsoft

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9 Comments

This is the first time i saw some humour in a blogpost from Microsoft.

Honestly i think this configuration will drain the battery of both your tablet or your smartphone

Chielbecker said,

Honestly i think this configuration will drain the battery of both your tablet or your smartphone

It shouldn't. The app isn't running in the background [unless you open it ] - the system does the polling, so there is only one thread necessary. Each tile doesn't each have it's own thread/service running in the background.

rfirth said,

It shouldn't. The app isn't running in the background [unless you open it ] - the system does the polling, so there is only one thread necessary. Each tile doesn't each have it's own thread/service running in the background.

In theory, it shouldn't run down the battery as like you said it should only have one simple small service running in the background.

The reality will be that most people will download and install many poorly written programs that will have a lot of services running in the background needlessly.

Condere said,

In theory, it shouldn't run down the battery as like you said it should only have one simple small service running in the background.

The reality will be that most people will download and install many poorly written programs that will have a lot of services running in the background needlessly.

I didn't get that from the blog - the system manages the update service/thread not the app itself. It'd be actually quite a bad way to design the ecosystem if every app had it's own update service running constantly (tablet or not).

Chielbecker said,
This is the first time i saw some humour in a blogpost from Microsoft.

Honestly i think this configuration will drain the battery of both your tablet or your smartphone


This configuration exists in a rudimentary implementation on WP7 since mango.
My battery life has actually increased since mango.

Maybe you need to watch this channel9 post about how MS are engineering OSes.

http://channel9.msdn.com/Shows...-Inside-Windows-Phone-Mango

While it doesn't mention the desktop OS here at all, you can bet that lessons learned and design principles from the phone carry over directly to WinRT/Metro apps.

In a sea of tiles I am concerned that the one I need now will be hard to find.

Lets say I have nom nom and I dont use it often so I dont have it top left and I cant remember the colour or what screen its on. How will I find it quick? When I do find it assuming I can search, (it will be an application right?) how will I know that it has been updated? Can I update it manually?

derekaw said,
...

Well, lets see, if you can't remember any of that and you use search, you'll get the small icon and tap/click it.
Then, guess what happens, it opens and updates
If you give it permission to update (background) when you install from store, guess what, it updates on cyle.

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