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Microsoft Talks Windows 8 App Consistency, Ensuring Users Receive Good Design

Metro apps may be the first Windows program to provide design consistency.

Microsoft is ensuring with Metro app developers’ lives are made as easy as possible

Metro, in my opinion, is the first time Windows is pushing a consistent design across the operating system. It’s be a common complaint from some users that competitors such as Apple put design as a priority in each version of the OS so, with that in mind, Microsoft has detailed how it’s making developer’s lives easier.

Microsoft basically seems to be making processes much easier, as it pushes for an integrated ecosystems across its devices (which we’re already seeing through the Metro UI). In Windows Store for example, the company says apps will provide one-click install, crash reports and customer feedback without any work on the developer’s part. After apps are installed, they’re monitored. Replacements are offered is code is corrupted, which almost signs like a warranty period for apps.

Breaking the rules

Apps in Windows 8 also need to require permissions, such as different types of media libraries and access to select areas of a user’s profile. Be default, apps don’t have these permissions; features such as network access, though, are given pre-built templates by Microsoft.

Microsoft noted that apps can’t be stopped completely from using unsupported APIs, despite being a violation of the Windows Store’s terms of service. Even with iOS, which is a closed ecosystem, copycat apps or fraudulent apps have appeared. There was an app claiming to be the Pokemon Yellow video game, despite Nintendo never releasing any of its properties on the platform.

Microsoft said in the blog post breaking the rule in the Store undermines the experience consumers expect, which is one of the reasons why I prefer closed ecosystems: they control the experience. In Apple’s case, the experience is incredibly consistent across its devices. Microsoft’s semi-closed approach to Windows Phone – through a minimum spec requirement – has consistently caused devices to be praised for their responsive performance.

With Windows 8, that’s key because Microsoft is going to have many devices to manage. Controlling the spec requirements, along with the Metro UI, should ensure users get a similar experience across different devices. If developers bring support through apps, then there could be a very real alternative to the iPad.

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Published: Friday, May 25th, 2012 Last Modified: May 25, 2012

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