We have reported in the past that while Facebook still does not have an official Windows 8 app yet, there are quite a few third-party Facebooks apps, both free and paid, in the Windows Store, and many of them seem to be successful. However, most of them don't appear to take advantage of Windows 8 and its Modern UI.
A few days ago, we noticed a new third party Windows 8 app that caught out attention immediately. Metro Social is not an app that tries to replicate the desktop experience with a few touch features, rather, the app from developer Three Screen Studios is a full Modern Windows 8 app with an impressive looking news feed layout, a photo viewer and more.
We wanted to learn more about the app so we contacted Three Screen Studios founder Thomas Woo to find out more about Metro Social.
First, can you give us a little bit of background about your programming experience?
Sure! I've worked with C#/XAML for a little over 6 years now, mainly WPF, Silverlight, and Windows Phone development. Recently I've started Three Screen Studios to focus on Windows 8 and Windows Phone app development.
How did the idea for Metro Social come about?
The idea for Metro Social came about after Facebook announced that they had no current plans for a Windows 8 app – we realized there was a gap to fill, and decided to go for it!
There are already a ton of third party Facebook apps out there, why do you think yours stands out from the rest?
I believe Metro Social stands out both in its styling and its unique user features. We really wanted to focus on giving users a slick Modern UI-styled experience, and add features like close friends photo albums that they couldn't get easily on the Facebook web UI
What are some of the features you are most proud of in the app?
I'm most proud of the photo and event pages. I love being able to view an event's location in the maps app or Google maps with just a click.
How hard was it to create and program Metro Social?
Overall it was challenging, but I know a lot more now that would make the process smoother if I had to repeat it. Also Facebook is a very vast platform, so it took a bit longer than I thought to include all the functionality. StackOverflow is invaluable as always.
So far, what's the feedback been like from the launch of the app?
So far the feedback has been great! There are a few bugs and issues of course, but we're hoping to stamp most of those out in the first few patches. Don't forget to use metrosocial.uservoice.com leave feedback, we'd love to hear it!
What features do you plan to add to Metro Social in the future?
We're currently working on filling in some areas such as adding comments to photos, viewing tags, and posting links to Facebook. If Facebook creates an API for graph search, that could be a fun add on.
Facebook has not shown any interest in launching a Windows 8/RT app. Why do you think they are reluctant to launch their own app, even though there are a lot of third party apps out there for Windows 8?
I think they are probably relying on users going to their desktop website, in lieu of a full W8 app. It sounds like they are waiting to see how the Windows 8 marketplace plays out before investing.
What do you think of Windows 8 itself in terms of its Modern user interface and the reaction it has received so far?
I think for new users, it does take a bit of acclimation, so they shouldn't necessarily expect to be proficient right off the bat. However once you get the hang of things, I believe it really is good for most tasks – and much better than W7 in terms of touch. I'd hope that the reaction will trend positively over time, as users become more comfortable with the interface.
What other Windows 8 or Windows Phone apps does your company have planned in the future?
Right now, we're just focusing on supporting Metro Social, but we would love to do some sort of physics- or word-based Windows Phone game in the future.
Finally, is there anything else you want to say about Metro Social?
Thank you for the opportunity to share Metro Social with everyone, and I hope people enjoy the app (for download here: http://www.threescreenstudios.com/metrosocial)! We had a great time developing and launching the app, and we hope everyone will at least give it a try since it's free. We're constantly trying to improve and add features, so please leave feedback at our support site: metrosocial.uservoice.com
We would like to thank Thomas for answering our questions!
Images via Three Screen Studios