Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 6th Mar 2013 19:00 UTC
Microsoft One of the major lacking features in the newest Office: no Metro applications. In fact, the only reason Windows RT has a desktop at all is because the Office team was unable to create Metro applications in time for the release of Windows RT. I often thought this was a classic case of two important divisions within Microsoft not getting along and not being aligned, but now that I have my own Surface RT, I'm starting to realise that there's a far simpler, and thus more likely, explanation: Metro is simply not ready for anything serious - or for anything at all, really.
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RE[2]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 01:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson
Member since:
2005-11-29

One company which ought to know how to engineer well-performing stable Metro apps is Microsoft themselves. But according to the article, Microsoft's own apps are affected by performance and stability problems too.


It is inevitable that apps will have bugs and performance issues in their initial releases. I don't care who you are, what background you come from, or what you've done in the past.

Even when porting large legacy software, in fact, especially when porting large legacy software.

OneNote MX works well for me on the Surface, yes there are small (small perf problems) but they're not major. Usually if I paste a large swathe of content with diverse styling, a bunch of tables, etc.. I get a slight delay in pasting (Never becomes unresponsive, just a quick progress indicator).

The quality of apps varies from team to team. For example the Bing apps are generally excellent in my opinion. Xbox Music blows. OneNote is good. SkyDrive is good.

Its going to vary with the maturity of the product, how service oriented the team is, etc.

Bing can do a great job because they are used to porting to mobile and other platforms. Its a simple consumption based app.

SkyDrive, the same deal. OneNote has been ported to Windows Phone so it could take cues from there.

However for a larger program like Mail (they actually implement an ActiveSync client in javascript, Mail is an HTML5 app) it'll take longer for improvements to come. I do hope they come soon. I hate Mail.

The good thing about Windows 8 is that the only app which is tied to the system is the Store. You can replace every stock app with a (theoretically) better one.

Uninstall mail, write an app to handle the mail protocols and URIs, and you have your replacement. Its a breath of fresh air. Let the market sort this out, if Microsoft doesn't make apps you like, then someone else should. Its a compelling enough proposition.


Let's hope that with increasing developer experience and in the absence of major goofs like the infamous "Silverlight network I/O in the UI thread" the issues with the existing apps can all be addressed.


Ugh. Don't get me started on that bone headed decision. It wasn't really network I/O on the UI thread, it was (only on Windows Phone) the continuation from the asyncrhonous operation firing on the UI thread.

So while the network request took place in the background, if you parsed the JSON or RSS or whatever, unless you knew better, this happened on the UI thread.

Amazingly, it got worse. It was also the case that images were decoded on the UI thread. Don't worry, no such nonsense exists on WinRT.

Async/Await takes the ambient SynchronizationContext which means it returns on the thread its started on. If its fired from a UI thread it returns on one, if not, it doesn't.


Regarding Office, Microsoft is currently working on Office for Android and iOS. If they have wisely chosen a proper cross-plattform development framework, then a WinRT port can come almost for free out of that.


Good point. I hope this is their strategy going forward.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Terrible Windows Store
by tanzam75 on Thu 7th Mar 2013 07:36 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
tanzam75 Member since:
2011-05-19

The good thing about Windows 8 is that the only app which is tied to the system is the Store. You can replace every stock app with a (theoretically) better one.


Funny you should mention that, because the Store is the most unstable app for me. It hangs once every four times I start it -- either that, or the startup delay is just so long that I lose patience and kill it.

I'm probably running into some kind of edge case that they forgot to test, but which repros 25% of the time on my machine. I'm running 8, not RT. Microsoft can't blame this one on Nvidia.

Also, search in the Store is terrible. I have a very hard time finding apps, even ones where I know the name. Too many irrelevant results -- they really ought to do a web-search style results page, where they show the description and highlight parts of it. I'm not going to try 50 results just to read the description for each one.

I stopped using Mail and went back to Outlook.

News and Weather are great apps. Snappy UI, fast refreshes. Just wish they'd integrated the radar maps with Bing Maps, instead of using that animated GIF (or maybe it's a WMV).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by Nelson
by toast88 on Thu 7th Mar 2013 20:35 in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by Nelson"
toast88 Member since:
2009-09-23

Even when porting large legacy software, in fact, especially when porting large legacy software


Nah, that's just Microsoft with their crappy code with their prominent feature of vendor- and architecture lock-in.

Windows and related software is just such a big mess that it takes tremendous efforts to port the code to new APIs or architectures.

Look at Apple, they have switched their architecture three times already: m68k (when it was still NeXT Step), PPC, Intel and now ARM (with iOS being MacOS X and thus NeXT Step in its core) without any problems at all. In fact, when the first Intel Macs came out, you could simply transfer all PPC applications and they would just continue to work.

Or, look at Linux. People are porting whole Linux distributions constantly to new architectures. Support for ARM64 is already done and in Debian we had ONE person porting the whole Debian distribution to the new architecture x32.

Microsoft, on the other hand, didn't even manage to write something as MSN Messenger, Internet Explorer or Microsoft Office in a portable way. They had to completely re-invent the wheel all the time.

Microsoft simply doesn't know how to write good code, they never knew and it will never change.

If a company as large as Microsoft isn't able to outperform smaller companies and even hobby developers, it's simply put a shame or just wrong priorities.

Stop defending them.

Adrian

Edited 2013-03-07 20:50 UTC

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE[4]: Comment by Nelson
by Nelson on Thu 7th Mar 2013 21:00 in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by Nelson"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


Nah, that's just Microsoft with their crappy code with their prominent feature of vendor- and architecture lock-in.


Spoken like someone who has never had the task of porting legacy software a day in his life.


Windows and related software is just such a big mess that it takes tremendous efforts to port the code to new APIs or architectures.


Do you have any specific examples of deficiencies in Microsoft's design which make it "such a big mess"?

I'm genuinely curious, because it has been my experience that Windows RT has been more or less Windows x86 on lower power hardware. There is nothing inherently disadvantaged about it technologically.

I write apps that run across x86 and ARM without any issues that wouldn't normally exist outside of a software development cycle.


Microsoft, on the other hand, didn't even manage to write something as MSN Messenger, Internet Explorer or Microsoft Office in a portable way. They had to completely re-invent the wheel all the time.


Internet Explorer runs fully on Windows RT, so does Office 2013.

MSN Messenger is discontinued in favor of Skype (which also runs on Windows RT).

What are you talking about?


Stop defending them.

Adrian


Stop insulting my intelligence with such blatantly incorrect statements. This isn't 2006, Vista hasn't just launched, so you're about 7 years late to the game with your fanatical thicket of bullshit.

Reply Parent Score: 4