Linked by snydeq on Tue 4th Jun 2013 01:46 UTC
Windows First looks at Windows 'Blue' have revealed an upgrade composed of cosmetic fixes, suggesting that Microsoft may be blowing its chance to turn the tide on Windows 8 blow back, and make good on its promise to truly 'rethink' Windows 8 with the release of Windows Blue. As a result, InfoWorld has issued an open letter to Microsoft to consider Windows 'Red' -- what InfoWorld is calling a 'serious plan' to fix the flaws of Windows 8, one that could rescue Microsoft's currently flagging promise to deliver a modern computing experience on both PCs and tablets.
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RE: I don't think so
by dpJudas on Tue 4th Jun 2013 06:19 UTC in reply to "I don't think so"
dpJudas
Member since:
2009-12-10

But, let's face it... the Windows desktop in its current state is a clusterf**k of framework on top of framework on top of wrapppers, and is a nightmare to develop for if you wish to have access to the full functionality of it all. It is a relic of a C-based API from the 1980's that's had a ton of crap stacked on top of it, and who's time has passed. MS needs to start over with a modern framework.


I don't think many disagree that the old Win32 API is a pain to work with. However I am not really sure the popular opinion of rewriting the framework in one go is the correct solution. Joel on software has a nice article explaining why complete rewrites are almost always the wrong answer.

Microsoft has been replacing many of the old win32 APIs with COM APIs over the last ten years, and now they seem to continue the trend with WinRT.

The problem with Modern is that any UI in any older app has be rewritten completely. A task sometimes so big that Apple had to make an exception for Finder for 64 bit (still carbon based), and Microsoft the same with Office for Windows RT tablets.

Microsoft also didn't help on the matter by only supporting the WinRT runtime on Windows 8. That makes any new UI not work on older versions, forcing developers to now maintain two UI codebases for years. Same problem with D3D10 and Vista back in the day.

If you don't like Metro, fine. But we absolutely can't stay on Win32 forever. I think Metro will get better over time, with more flexible widgets and broader keyboard/mouse support where appropriate. If we can have slightly different UIs for tablet and phone in the same app on Android, there's no reason why we can't do it on tablet and desktop. It took 25+ years to get from Windows 1.0 to Windows 7, so give them a while to work out the kinks ;)


As a user, my issue with Windows 8 is simply that I do not want a mobile UI on my 30" monitor. And 8.1 shows no sign that Microsoft "gets" why using the same UI for tablets and desktop wont work. And this has nothing to do with what framework renders the UI.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I don't think so
by Nelson on Tue 4th Jun 2013 14:06 in reply to "RE: I don't think so"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29


I don't think many disagree that the old Win32 API is a pain to work with. However I am not really sure the popular opinion of rewriting the framework in one go is the correct solution. Joel on software has a nice article explaining why complete rewrites are almost always the wrong answer.


They certainly didn't rewrite the framework in one go. WinRT is in its infancy compared to Win32. They have a long way to go.


Microsoft has been replacing many of the old win32 APIs with COM APIs over the last ten years, and now they seem to continue the trend with WinRT.

The problem with Modern is that any UI in any older app has be rewritten completely. A task sometimes so big that Apple had to make an exception for Finder for 64 bit (still carbon based), and Microsoft the same with Office for Windows RT tablets.


I agree that it is a problem for very large apps, but I don't think Microsoft expects those to be ported over particularly quickly.

Windows 8 includes the Desktop because Win32 will take years, possibly a decade to phase out. Windows RT is Microsoft's clean break that they're hoping accelerates this transition.


Microsoft also didn't help on the matter by only supporting the WinRT runtime on Windows 8. That makes any new UI not work on older versions, forcing developers to now maintain two UI codebases for years. Same problem with D3D10 and Vista back in the day.


This is partially going to be offset by the larger addressable markets that tablets and hybrids enable.

The Windows Store is now ramping up quite nicely in terms of app catalog selection and downloads, revenues are also steadily increasing MoM for me at least.

So its definitely an investment that you make in being an early adopter, if you don't want to make that bet you don't have to, but this is the way forward and will only get better with time.


As a user, my issue with Windows 8 is simply that I do not want a mobile UI on my 30" monitor. And 8.1 shows no sign that Microsoft "gets" why using the same UI for tablets and desktop wont work. And this has nothing to do with what framework renders the UI.


Actually, Windows 8.1 allows a larger variety of snap states (especially on large, high resolution monitors where I think you can snap 4 or more apps at once). There is definitely some better multitasking support there.

There is also better DPI scaling on the Desktop side of things, the ability to launch multiple instances of the same Metro App (think two snapped IE tabs at once), etc.

So it is clear they are doing some work to enable a better work flow for people that are so inclined. Personally it's never been that big of an issue, I don't use Metro apps like that yet, so when I need heavy duty multitasking I use my heavy duty apps on the Desktop.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: I don't think so
by dpJudas on Tue 4th Jun 2013 14:50 in reply to "RE[2]: I don't think so"
dpJudas Member since:
2009-12-10

They certainly didn't rewrite the framework in one go. WinRT is in its infancy compared to Win32. They have a long way to go.


Correct, but the reason I do not consider WinRT a (full) rewrite is because the most important earlier Win32 APIs are still available. This means porting can be done gradually where newer code can use the new better API, while older code can coexist with it.

That WinRT isn't supported in any form (i.e. not even the System namespace in C++/CX) on Vista and Windows 7 somewhat ruins the possibility to take advantage of their new APIs until Windows 8+ becomes the dominant version of Windows.

I agree that it is a problem for very large apps, but I don't think Microsoft expects those to be ported over particularly


That unfortuantely becomes a problem for Modern because apps from the "hwnd" world does not properly coexist with Modern desktop apps. The poor user experience switching between them is probably Windows 8's biggest problem.

Actually, Windows 8.1 allows a larger variety of snap states (especially on large, high resolution monitors where I think you can snap 4 or more apps at once). There is definitely some better multitasking support there.


What I do not see them address is the key problem: that if a user has 50% win32 apps, and 50% modern apps, then the user experience will be very poor. And it will stay this way for a decade unless they find a proper way to address it. Carbon to Cocoa took this long with slackers like Adobe. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: I don't think so
by Lurking_Grue on Fri 7th Jun 2013 16:25 in reply to "RE[2]: I don't think so"
Lurking_Grue Member since:
2013-03-15

Call me when snap states can overlap and act like windows.

Oh and give me some indication of what is running.... Say some sort of bar that can give me notifications and show the running software.

Even better! It could have the time in the corner.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: I don't think so
by TemporalBeing on Wed 5th Jun 2013 17:55 in reply to "RE: I don't think so"
TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

"But, let's face it... the Windows desktop in its current state is a clusterf**k of framework on top of framework on top of wrapppers, and is a nightmare to develop for if you wish to have access to the full functionality of it all. It is a relic of a C-based API from the 1980's that's had a ton of crap stacked on top of it, and who's time has passed. MS needs to start over with a modern framework.


I don't think many disagree that the old Win32 API is a pain to work with.
"

Win32 isn't that much of a PITA to work with. I quite prefer it to MFC and other MS APIs. It's quite predictable. It's a security nightmare though from an application perspective - as one application can modify another's UI so long as they are the same user.

However I am not really sure the popular opinion of rewriting the framework in one go is the correct solution. Joel on software has a nice article explaining why complete rewrites are almost always the wrong answer.


Sometimes they're necessary, sometimes they're not.
For Win32, it's necessary to make certain improvements. Yet, they still didn't quite do that with the WinRT APIs, which still build off a small sub-set of the Win32 APIs.

Microsoft has been replacing many of the old win32 APIs with COM APIs over the last ten years, and now they seem to continue the trend with WinRT.


COM, DCOM, OLE, MFC, etc. all build on top of Win32, not along side it. Win32 is about the only API to the NT Kernel; nearly everything else is user space outside of basic registrations. And I wouldn't say any of them improve Win32, just make for a bigger orgy.

The problem with Modern is that any UI in any older app has be rewritten completely. A task sometimes so big that Apple had to make an exception for Finder for 64 bit (still carbon based), and Microsoft the same with Office for Windows RT tablets.


The problem with the Modern (aka Metro) UI is that it does not have feature parity with the old Desktop UI. Yes, there was a lot of cruft through into the Desktop UI over the years, but Metro doesn't even equate in parity to Windows 3.11 when it comes to multi-tasking or doing a number of other things. So ultimately, it just doesn't do what users want to do.

As far as MS Office goes, they still have to support a number of versions of Windows that do not have the WinRT API, and are not even capable of supporting it. So it makes no sense for them to have a WinRT API only version of MS Office yet, and they would have had to craft quite the exception for MS Office as their "Modern UI compatible" testing required that only WinRT and its limited subset of Win32 were allowed to be used - no MFC, etc - to pass the certification.

Now imagine the Antitrust lawsuits they would have had if they did that...lawsuits from AutoDesk, Adobe, and others that are in a similar boat.

Microsoft also didn't help on the matter by only supporting the WinRT runtime on Windows 8. That makes any new UI not work on older versions, forcing developers to now maintain two UI codebases for years. Same problem with D3D10 and Vista back in the day.


Agreed. They didn't help the matter by limiting what is supported on all versions of Windows 8 - whether the Windows 8 RT version for ARM or the x86 versions with respect to the Modern UI environment.

Any existing API is still available for the x86 Desktop environment in Windows 8; just not the Modern UI environment or any environment on the ARM port. So it was no longer simply a matter of recompile and now you have the other variants of Windows. If you didn't port to WinRT API, you could only deliver to x86 Desktop environment.

"If you don't like Metro, fine. But we absolutely can't stay on Win32 forever. I think Metro will get better over time, with more flexible widgets and broader keyboard/mouse support where appropriate. If we can have slightly different UIs for tablet and phone in the same app on Android, there's no reason why we can't do it on tablet and desktop. It took 25+ years to get from Windows 1.0 to Windows 7, so give them a while to work out the kinks ;)


As a user, my issue with Windows 8 is simply that I do not want a mobile UI on my 30" monitor. And 8.1 shows no sign that Microsoft "gets" why using the same UI for tablets and desktop wont work. And this has nothing to do with what framework renders the UI.
"

Agreed. Not to mention the Modern UI - and even their Desktop UI for Win8 - actually hurts my eyes after even short usage periods (e.g. 30 minutes or less).

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I don't think so
by Lurking_Grue on Fri 7th Jun 2013 16:18 in reply to "RE: I don't think so"
Lurking_Grue Member since:
2013-03-15

Oddly enough, we are now in the reverse situation from WindowsCE.

Nobody like the desktop interface on a touch device and so WinCE failed to take up traction in a large sense. So they realize that problem and make a touch first interface knowing they needed to get developers on board for this new ecosystem so they duct tape it to Windows Desktop and call it a day.

I'm not happy that software is going from feature filled to simplistic.

Reply Parent Score: 1