Linked by Howard Fosdick on Tue 2nd Jul 2013 21:04 UTC
Editorial Like many of you, I've been watching the big changes in user interfaces over the past few years, trying to make sense of them all. Is there a common explanation for the controversies surrounding the Windows 8 UI and Unity? Where do GNOME 3, KDE, Cinnamon, and MATE fit in? This article offers one view.
Thread beginning with comment 566046
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: No puzzle
by WorknMan on Tue 2nd Jul 2013 23:47 UTC in reply to "No puzzle"
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Because there is already an very good and extremely popular mobile OS for Windows users. It's called "Android".


The problem with Android though is that you can't run the same apps on mobile, tablet, and desktop. For those of us that still live mostly on the desktop, this is a big deal. If you're lucky, you'll get a nice web front-end for the Android app you're using. If you're unlucky, you get a shitty web front-end. And if you're REALLY unlucky, you get nothing at all.

'But why would you want to run the same apps on phone/tablet/desktop'? Well, why the f**k not? For example, Doggcatcher... awesome podcatcher app for Android, but when I go to my desktop, I can't run it, unless I use Bluestacks or something. I don't want to be tethered to a damn tablet when I have a PC right in front of my face. And as it stands, there are no good podcatchers for Windows, or at least none that I can find. (And anyone who says 'iTunes' is getting stabbed in the eye ;) ) Same with the Android grocery app I use... would love to input a list into that app on my desktop and then have it auto sync on my phone. And I would like this functionality with most apps on my phone/tablet.

The article here insinuates that running the same app on all 3 platforms could never work because of differences in interfaces and input methods. But if we can change the UI of a phone app somewhat to make it look nice on a tablet, why can't we alter the UI of a tablet app somewhat so that it works on a desktop? For example, if it's running on a desktop, maybe it has menus and toolbars to access, and if it runs on a phone or tablet, it doesn't. But otherwise, has pretty much the same functionality. I don't think this is too far-fetched. Maybe you have three separate apps with different UI layers running the same code base, but you know what I mean. 'Wouldn't this be confusing to end users though?' No more confusing than making them have to access a f**king web app on their desktop ;)

Despite the predictions of many pundits (probably since the 80's), the desktop is not going away any time soon.

Edited 2013-07-02 23:47 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: No puzzle
by Drumhellar on Wed 3rd Jul 2013 00:26 in reply to "RE: No puzzle"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

I've been using Windows Phone for about a year and a half now, and have purchased several apps. Probably my biggest surprise was for some of the WinPhone apps I bought, when a Metro version was released for Windows 8, they were already credited to my account, and I didn't have to re-purchase them for my laptop. I'm not sure if this happens in Apple or Google's stores, but it sure is cool.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: No puzzle
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 3rd Jul 2013 02:04 in reply to "RE[2]: No puzzle"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I have multiple android devices at this point, I only need purchase an app once, and it can be installed on all of them without any extra charge.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: No puzzle
by dpJudas on Wed 3rd Jul 2013 00:29 in reply to "RE: No puzzle"
dpJudas Member since:
2009-12-10

The article here insinuates that running the same app on all 3 platforms could never work because of differences in interfaces and input methods. But if we can change the UI of a phone app somewhat to make it look nice on a tablet, why can't we alter the UI of a tablet app somewhat so that it works on a desktop? For example, if it's running on a desktop, maybe it has menus and toolbars to access, and if it runs on a phone or tablet, it doesn't. But otherwise, has pretty much the same functionality. I don't think this is too far-fetched


The thing is that the UI element sizes and locations are indirectly determined by the input method and the expected screen size. You literally have to reconsider every UI element location even when just moving from phone to tablet. The move from tablet to notebook + mouse is even greater.

The key difference between Apple iOS/OSX thinking and Windows 8 is that Microsoft makes the assumption that you can make one common UI cover all three usage scenarios. Contrast this with Apple where they have different UI toolkits for different input methods, and strongly recommends that you design two independent designs (storyboards + view controllers) for tablet and mobile, if your app is meant to run both places.

Apple could easily have used the OS X toolkit (NSWindow and friends) for iOS, but deliberately chose not to do so because while the abstract concept of i.e. scrolling is common for both input methods, the means you utilize to achieve the goal differs so greatly that trying to cover both use cases with the same control becomes increasingly pointless.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: No puzzle
by hhas on Wed 3rd Jul 2013 00:41 in reply to "RE: No puzzle"
hhas Member since:
2006-11-28

"Because there is already an very good and extremely popular mobile OS for Windows users. It's called "Android".


The problem with Android though is that you can't run the same apps on mobile, tablet, and desktop. For those of us that still live mostly on the desktop, this is a big deal.
"

Hence MS's retooling of Windows 8+ in order to offer something that neither the Win7/Android not OSX/iOS combos can. If they pull it off, it will be a major USP for them indeed.



Despite the predictions of many pundits (probably since the 80's), the desktop is not going away any time soon.


No, but it will evolve, and it will also become much more of a niche product, just one of many task-specific tools available to users to mix and match as needed. Most folks who bought Windows PCs in the past didn't do so because it was the best tool for them, but only because it was the least awful option out of a tiny undistinguished choice.

But hardware has now crossed into the post-scarcity era, breaking the back of the jack-of-all-trades PC as the one-size-fits-all answer. And as you say the next great challenge for vendors - and huge potential market win for whoever first pulls it off - is getting all these different devices to talk seamlessly to one another.

So don't count MS out: there is some method in their current madness (albeit belatedly compensating for the lack of method in their method), and they do have a record of bringing their best game when coming from the back. Given they usually start hitting their stride/scaring the competition around their V3, I'd say Win9 will be the one to watch for in determining whether they've pulled it off once again.


Apple building in from two sides, Google up from the bottom, MS out from the center. And each determined to eat the other two's lunch for breakfast. Interesting interesting times indeed. ;)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: No puzzle
by Verenkeitin on Wed 3rd Jul 2013 09:37 in reply to "RE: No puzzle"
Verenkeitin Member since:
2007-07-01

Here's why same app on multiple platforms and form-factors is far-fetched:
Something like 70-90% of the code in your usual app is for user interface and unreusable on all other platforms. Then there is usually a good chuck platform specific code (data access etc.) that is also unreusable. That means; creating the same app for Android, iOS and Windows is three times the work of creating an app for just one platform.

One platform + customization for multiple form-factors is doable, but quickly gets complicated and time consuming. Count yourself lucky if the developer of your app had the time and skills to create one nice interface.

Qt and other "platform wrappers" could make it possible to use same interface implementation on all platforms, but I suspect Google, Microsoft and Apple all want to kill those efforts to keep same apps from appearing in competing app stores.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: No puzzle
by WorknMan on Thu 4th Jul 2013 18:34 in reply to "RE[2]: No puzzle"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Something like 70-90% of the code in your usual app is for user interface and unreusable on all other platforms. Then there is usually a good chuck platform specific code (data access etc.) that is also unreusable. That means; creating the same app for Android, iOS and Windows is three times the work of creating an app for just one platform.


We're talking about one OS running on multiple devices, not completely separate platforms.

One platform + customization for multiple form-factors is doable, but quickly gets complicated and time consuming. Count yourself lucky if the developer of your app had the time and skills to create one nice interface.


Right, so everyone should be writing web apps instead, which have to account for multiple form factors..... er, wait... aren't we right back where we started?

Reply Parent Score: 2