Metro: Whats Killing Windows 8

metro I love Windows 8 Desktop – it is reasonably fast, rock solid reliable, and runs most of my Windows XP and earlier programs with no sweat. But the biggest Windows 8 advantage is that touchscreen operations, with a good sharp stylus, makes spreadsheet calculations, debugging code, and photo editing so much faster and more convenient.

In contrast,Windows 8 Metro,  I like not so much. First it is a brand new interface with its own unique touch, keyboard, and mouse operations which have to be learned. And many Metro options, like similar desktop UI ops, are not so intutive.

Second, Metro is anti-windows – actually popup windows, panels, tabs and accordions are grudgingly accepted in the Metro UI.Yet these are the UI components that have prospered on Windows Desktop and are taking off with jQuery and mootools support in Web browser user interfaces.

Third and most telling, David Pogue at the NYTimes has defined the Metro problem – its a second interface in Windows thats trying to earn a useful place in the total Windows experience. And if one has worked with Enterprise Portals or Business Portfolio programs, there is a natural fit for major portions of Metro serving this portal functionality. Metro’s live tiles are the tipof the UI-iceberg potential. But this means embracing pop-up windows, panel zip outs or flippers and other flexible UI components popular in Desktop and Web apps. This seems to present problems in the Redmond coding halls – something that new CEO Satya Nadella will have to resolve.

Integration

Right now the integration between Metro and Desktop is atrocious.3 Examples will suffice. The screenshot above of the Metro photo viewer took about 45 seconds to do because Techsmith Snagit, which is an excellent screen capture utility that is lightning fast in Windows 8 Desktop, takes so long to fire-up when used in the Metro interface. Ditto for copying and pasting from Metro art editor to Windows desktop Photoshop.Second, I would like to embed a Metro tile, like an <iframe> in the Windows desktop so that I could copy and paste changing info on the tile into a working statistical spreadsheet.

Finally, Metro app, Windows desktop program and Web Browser page integration have miles to go. And with storage and apps spread to the cloud with Skydrives and Cloud apps there is a new burden of syncing up, updating and layering operations when the on Windows is still so primitive between Metro and the desktop

But we are being promised that Windows 8.1 update will emphasize integration.But what from what I can see this is Cloud to Desktop and Metro to Cloud links. And so having just obtained a hard won advantage over Apple Mac/IOS with dual environs and touchscreen operations on PC and tablet/smartphone with promised phone and tablet/PC development API integration – will Microsoft stumble by not integrating their two Windows 8 UIs into one? Only the Coding Shadow knows …