Windows 8 Metro apps to allow for fast web content

Windows 8 may be getting ready for its Consumer Preview release on the last day of February, but the next PC operating system from Microsoft will also have some Metro apps that will either be pre-installed or available for download on Windows 8's Microsoft Store. But what if the developers of those apps wanted to incorporate some web-based content in their programs?

In a new post on Microsoft's IEblog web site, the company's Andy Zeigler says that Metro app makers will be able to use Internet Explorer 10 in those apps. He states, "For example, the developer of a restaurant guide app might want to include a live map showing the locations of the list of restaurants the user is choosing from."

Zeigler says that if a Metro app creator wanted to put that kind of content in their software, " ... just include an iframe element or a WebView control to get the full benefit of IE 10 performance." The app will also be able to use a PC's GPU to help boost any HTML-based graphics that are included in the web content.

Zeigler takes a bit of a shot at Apple's iOS apps in the blog post, stating, "If you write an app on iOS, common actions like panning and zooming the map will run twice as slow in an app compared with Safari." The implication is that Metro apps on Windows 8 will not have that kind of an issue with Internet Explorer 10-based content.

Image via Microsoft

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The implication is that Metro apps on Windows 8 will not have that kind of an issue with Internet Explorer 10-based content.

Well, it may be an implication, but it is ALSO true of WP7 Apps that integrate the browser, as it still gets full acceleration

So it is a bit beyond 'implied' or 'speculation' do you not agree?

Isn't this a change from //build/? I seem to recall them saying you won't embed IE, instead you handle the request and can send them DOM on to "something" in WinRT to render.

Or maybe this is a new "WebView" control that's not tied to COM and InternetExplorer.Application (but probably still tied to Trident via MSHTML somehow).

hornetfighter said,
Isn't this a change from //build/? I seem to recall them saying you won't embed IE, instead you handle the request and can send them DOM on to "something" in WinRT to render.

Or maybe this is a new "WebView" control that's not tied to COM and InternetExplorer.Application (but probably still tied to Trident via MSHTML somehow).

I don't think it is a change, as the HTML rendering in the WinRT stack was always performed by the IE engine, with a more 'functional' IE control also available that was outside the WinRT responsibility.

It would be silly and redundant to create a new separate HTML rendering engine, when that is what IE was designed to be since 4.0 and has been ever since, an HTML rendering engine.

The IE 'browser' wasn't even suppose to be successful on its own, as Microsoft assumed developers would create their own browsers using the engine that would be more popular than IE eventually. Just like the 2nd generation of MSN was a browser application that used the IE engine. (First generation was folder integration that worked like an object version of compuserve.)

So it was a bit of an accident that IE became anything more. Microsoft truly just wanted Windows to have the ability to efficiently render HTML content locally and from the web, just as it renders fonts, and bitmaps for developers.

IE9/10 is even more of an engine than previous versions, as it can be directly accessed easier and also is broken apart differently due to the Async design model it uses along with better layering and portability, which is why it was easily added to WP7, as it no longer had any x86 code optimizations or the need for them and layers that were not needed were removed from the top and replaced with WP7 composer integration.

Julius Caro said,
"fast" web content? how is it any faster than it usually is?

can't iOS and android do this already?

I guess you didn't even read the article:

Zeigler takes a bit of a shot at Apple's iOS apps in the blog post, stating, "If you write an app on iOS, common actions like panning and zooming the map will run twice as slow in an app compared with Safari." The implication is that Metro apps on Windows 8 will not have that kind of an issue with Internet Explorer 10-based content.

DClark said,
So IE10 is an integral component of Windows 8, therefore no reason for a ballot screen. PURE GENIUS MS.

Internet Explorer has been an integral component of Windows for quite some time now =P

DClark said,
So IE10 is an integral component of Windows 8, therefore no reason for a ballot screen. PURE GENIUS MS.

Uh, that was part of the reason for the ballot screen. It doesn't avoid the issue at all.

I'm not sure why this should surprise anyone. Isn't the WebBrowser control available within Visual Studio essentially powered by the Internet Explorer engine? I'm glad to see it getting an upgrade, but it should be expected at this point.

Funny he mentions iframes... I was actually making an HTML-based Windows 8 app for my site, http://superjonathan.com that heavily relied on them, but I didn't get far when I cancelled it in favor of going back to Project, "Is this a Bad Game?" & moving that game from the Realease Shogo tablet to Windows 8... It was going to be a part of this huge 2.1 update for my site, but that was cancelled too...

Bitaljus said,
Any chance of installing ChromeFrame and running all Metro inside it ? It will be much better performance.
Note, this is IE10's engine, not IE9.

Bitaljus said,
Any chance of installing ChromeFrame and running all Metro inside it ? It will be much better performance.

Chrome's hardware acceleration performance is nowhere near close to that of IE9's, let alone the adjustments made in IE 10.

And we cant use Webkit/Mozilla/etc rendering engine?

I smell another (stupid and idiot) monopoly lawsuit.

htcz said,
And we cant use Webkit/Mozilla/etc rendering engine?

I smell another (stupid and idiot) monopoly lawsuit.

If you use a control that uses those rendering engines, I see absolutely no reason why this would be disallowed. But here they're talking about Microsoft's development tools (Which are not Webkit / Mozilla powered...

htcz said,
And we cant use Webkit/Mozilla/etc rendering engine?

I smell another (stupid and idiot) monopoly lawsuit.

Microsoft have included a web browser control with their development tools for as long as I can remember. It hasn't been a problem in the past and I can't see why it would be now.

Melfster said,
I am really eager to see the performance of WinRT/Metro app as compared to Win32 app.

The performance is great as per DP. I should add the apps need to be very high quality. Apps in DP were really buggy. Some didnt work at all. And some crashed alot. But then again except for IE10 immersive we had almost no Native app. CP will show us the right picture of Win8

Zain Adeel said,

The performance is great as per DP. I should add the apps need to be very high quality. Apps in DP were really buggy. Some didnt work at all. And some crashed alot. But then again except for IE10 immersive we had almost no Native app. CP will show us the right picture of Win8

Some apps from what I understand in the Dev Preview would fail to open if the screen resolution wasn't up to snuff. I am hoping this has been resolve. From what I've seen that appears to be the cause of many of the issues people were having (Myself included). Or at least the believed cause.

Co_Co said,
I really hope MS does it right and takes care of all the details with a change (to metro) this big

Me to. However they've been around the block a few times, and learned from Vista so I think it'll be ok.