Windows 8 app development

I’ve always been interested in developing for Windows 8 but I also felt that the SDK is still in its infancy. If you look at ASP.NET now and try to partially compare it to Windows 8’s SDK it’s clear than Microsoft still has a long road ahead to make it simpler and faster to develop for.

That being said, I’m currently playing around with the SDK trying to develop an app for a project I’m working on at work. I’d love to be able to test what I have so far on a Windows 8 tablet though. I’m not sure if it’s possible to, for example, deploy the app to a Surface RT/Pro for testing purposes. I’d hate to think that I can only test my Windows 8 app on my non-touch laptop.

I really hope XAML’s syntax gets a lot cleaner in future versions. Currently it just looks like a big pile of confusing XML mess (to the untrained eye I guess).

It’s Windows so it should run it, right?

People who buy a Surface RT or any of the available Windows RT tablets think that it should run and install whatever programs they used before on other Windows devices. But as we all know, this isn’t the case at all. Windows RT only allows Office to run in Desktop which is already preinstalled. Other than that you’re out of luck which clearly adds more confusion to the consumer.

That leads me to ask the following question: Why did Microsoft even slap on a ‘Windows’ label on Windows RT if it’s not the Windows that most people know of? Now, I know exactly what Microsoft is going after with Windows RT tablets, they are mainly consuming devices that are competitors to iPad and Android. That’s the market they’re after.

Windows RT is simply the modern UI with a Desktop ‘app’ that only runs Office. And like I said before in an earlier post, the inclusion of Desktop in Windows RT is one of the main reasons behind the consumer confusion around what exactly does this Windows RT really offer compared to many other Windows 8 hybrids which run the ‘real’ Windows (in the average consumer’s mind). Therefore, the position of Windows RT with what Microsoft advertised it as was awkward, confusing and out of place, not to mention that it costs as much as an iPad (especially Surface RT).

I’m really looking forward to what Microsoft will be doing to clear this mess, especially after their Surface RT was a major flop.

Windows 8, three editions for the average consumer

I always asked myself why Microsoft was so technical is naming their Windows RT edition of Windows. We all know it looks and functions the same as Windows 8, so why not just call it as it is; Windows 8. Not to mention the ‘Windows 8’ label doesn’t give any clue to what it offers. So instead of slapping confusing and potential-buyer-deterring labels, use three easy to remember and easy to compare and easy to differential labels:

  • Windows 8 Tablet Edition: It’s simply the modern Windows 8 interface without Desktop mode. Why include Desktop if the user won’t be able to install or run anything else besides the pre-installed Office suite? And since we all know Office suite will eventually be available as modern apps, this is more reason to completely remove Desktop from this edition.
  • Windows 8 Standard Edition: This is basically the current offering of Windows 8 (not the Pro edition). If you think about it, Windows 7 never came out as Windows 7, even the home edition was called Windows 7 Home. Heck, there was even a Windows 7 Basic edition. So why didn’t Microsoft clarify this by calling it Windows 8 Home or Windows 8 Standard like Windows 7 Home? I prefer the ‘Standard’ label since many small businesses are actually using the Home edition in their office therefore it makes sense to replace the ‘Home’ label with ‘Standard’ for general use.
  • Windows 8 Professional Edition: This is, obviously, the current offering of Windows 8 Pro.

Of course, there is also the Windows 8 Enterprise edition but I am currently just covering the operating systems that an average consumer would use.

In a nutshell, if you’re using the Windows 8 Tablet edition, then you’ll be only using the modern UI and there is no Desktop mode which means you will only be able to install and run Windows Store apps. If you’re using the Windows 8 Standard edition, then you’re going to have what the Tablet edition offers plus Desktop mode that gives you the ability to install and run any desktop app you desire. If you’re using the Windows 8 Professional edition, then you’re going to have what the Standard edition offers plus joining corporate or school domains, gives you access to Remote Desktop and provides enhanced data protection.

Easy as pie. Now why couldn’t Microsoft think of that?

Why is it called Windows RT?

Microsoft decided to completely remove the ARM based Windows OS from the Windows 8 family by calling it ‘Windows RT’, even though it looks completely identical to Windows 8 to the end user. Now why would they ever do something like that?

It looks exactly like Windows 8, it runs the same Windows Store apps like Windows 8, and on top of all that it even comes with Windows Desktop just like Windows 8. I understand that it won’t run other Desktop software besides Office but why confuse the end user with terminology? What happened to ‘Keep It Stupid Simple’?

The average consumer doesn’t give a crap of the underlying technology, and Microsoft expects them to know that ‘Windows RT’ stands for ‘Windows Run Time’ and that it’s sharing kernel code with Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8? Are you kidding me?

Here is what I think: Windows RT should have been called Windows 8 Express (just like how Microsoft uses ‘Express’ for other light weight and free software), and Windows 8 should have been called Windows 8 Premium and keep the Windows 8 Professional offering.

Express, Premium and Professional (and there is always the special Enterprise version). Simple and straight to the point.

Windows 8 Music app volume issue

I recently installed Windows 8 Pro on my home PC, which is the last computer that needed to be upgraded, and after installing the latest update for the Music app I experienced a strange issue.

I had no problems opening and browsing the Music app but when I started to play a song and switched to Desktop the computer somehow decides to dramatically lower the volume. Switching back to the Music app would bring up the volume automatically.

Since this is a Windows Store app, I couldn’t play with its settings or configuration files to try to determine what could be causing this, so I simply uninstalled the Music app and installed it again which fortunately fixed it.

Anyways, I thought I would post my experience in case there are others out there facing a similar issue.