- Communication with applications via loopback
- Runtime extensibility (loading and executing code that was not originally part of the app package)
- Serial port communication (this is a big one; our clients have a lot of money invested in hardware that communicates over serial)
Totally understandable, but I don't give a hoot about the Windows store. I want to sideload our apps.
If you need to mess with hardware or with other people's apps, you need to be a desktop application, albeit with a Metro frontend doing the "driving". Your desktop application can be invisible and expose itself as a server to the Metro application over a loopback socket.
Which requires a loopback exemption to be set. Doing this appears to be a hassle at best.
You can use Intune to configure non-domain joined WinRT/iPad/iPhone/Android/AndroidTab/Windows devices centrally. If you have several small clients, you can also be the administrator of several entirely distinct "groups". Each group gets a "company store" of side-loadable apps that the user can choose to install from.
So if I understand this correctly (and this is for some reason the first time I've heard of Intune), our users will have the option to have their IT staff use Intune, or we will become the administrators for their devices.
If so, I don't like the implications of that last statement. We are software vendors, not IT. We would be willing to administer the deployment of our software only. Those users must be able to administer their devices without us*. Also, this solution does not sound like it would work well for multiple vendors in our situation. (Which one takes control, and why should some vendors have to rely on another potentially competing vendor to install and manage their software?)
Also, my cursory look over the details of Intune licensing suggests that it requires a sideloading product key. Are those available for purchase yet? Who would be responsible for purchasing those keys? I am under the impression that they must be bought in bulk, and therefore our customers would not purchase them. (And if we purchase the keys for our customers, would we be back in the multiple vendor situation I described in the last paragraph?)
I seriously want an answer, but it feels like every solution I find uncovers more new problems. How far down is the rabbit hole?
*Again, reading back to my original problem description, the assumption here is that some of our customers are individual non-IT users who just want to "set it and forget it" (if I may steal a Ronco reference). We come in one day and install our software and train them, and then we occasionally send out updates and new software extensions to everyone with as little direct interference as possible.