Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 21st May 2012 20:03 UTC
Windows For Microsoft, the traditional desktop is old news. It's on its way out, it's legacy, and the harder they claim the desktop has equal rights, the sillier it becomes. With companies, words are meaningless, it's actions that matter, and here Microsoft's actions tell the real story. The company has announced the product line-up for Visual Studio 11, and the free Express can no longer be used to create desktop applications. Message is clear.
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RE[5]: "19th Century Dentist"
by Nelson on Tue 22nd May 2012 15:08 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: "19th Century Dentist""
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29


Certainly an app can spawn threads that consume large amounts of CPU time in the background, however it's likely that these threads are just reacting to more events such as network activity or topping up audio buffers. If you have a music player or P2P app, then running it in the background is often exactly what the user wants (who wants to stare at the P2P screen all day?). Can we say a background application is wasting energy when it's doing what the user wants in the background instead of the foreground?


I'm sure the user has a good faith intent, but often this is abused by poorly written programs. Many times I've had to kill tasks of programs which pegged my CPU for no reason.

The Win8 execution model says: "If programA wants to use the Network, it must explicitly state so declaratively, and then when it does, it must behave predictably or be killed."

Background Tasks are limited in CPU usage and memory, and execute for limited amounts of time, so it forces devs to use better practices.

Most programs, realistically, don't need to always be running. The ones that do, there are a bunch of background tasks for them to use.


I think the bigger problem is applications that waste cycles in the background doing non-productive things. One example I'm thinking of now is a game that keeps running even when minimized, but I really don't know if this is a common problem in practice.


I agree, but in my own experience its been more than a few timesI've had to kill tasks.


Well yes, but if the user is playing music or downloading files, he probably doesn't want his device to go to sleep until those tasks are done. I wouldn't classify these things as wasteful when the application is doing what the user wants it to do.


Windows 8 tablets and laptops support ultra low power states in which the network card will wake itself back up when data comes in over the wire. Something that can't be done if an application is polling doing a blocking read.

With Win8 you hand the OS a background task, and you'll have your network data pushed to your app when it comes in, its basically a "Don't call us, we'll call you". In fact, its the only way for Metro apps to maintain a socket connection in the background.

I have to wonder whether shutting everything down in the background (win32s or not) would cause frustration that applications can't do work in the background (like downloading, teleconfrencing, music, etc). If an OS permits these 3rd party background tasks, then I don't see why win32 is worse than alternatives. If it does not, then it should be possible to suspend a win32 application while it is backgrounded.


Its handled like I said above, if you want to learn more you can read up on ControlChannelTrigger for Metro Style Apps.


Not to deny this, but I'm not seeing why this excludes the win32s. Although it may seem that way, I'm not really trying to promote win32s, but I'm not convinced their depreciation was motivated by poor resource utilization. I suspect that resource utilization in desktop apps won't be much different than their metro counterparts. Now I might be all wrong, but I haven't seen anything technical to convince me otherwise.


I think its demonstrably true that Metro Apps use less resources. A great majority of them do not run in the background at all, others use resources moderated by the OS, and there is less resident memory taken up by the apps.

Another point to make is that (for pure Windows RT tablets) is that lower memory consumption by tombstoning background apps can lead to them shipping tablets with less ram and by extension less power draw.

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