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One week on Windows 8

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  • User profile image
    cbae

    , JoshRoss wrote

    @cbae: There has to be some software patent holder preventing them from doing this. When using the mouse, the metro environment feels like anything but fluid. And then there is the issue of orientation. Mouse wheels are orientated vertically, while everything in metro is horizontal.

    *snip*

    Yup, it took a little while to get it ingrained in my head that the horizontally scrolling live tile screen can be scrolled with a vertically spinning mousewheel. I think that in any Metro/Modern UI app, the developer should allowed to specify that certain controls allow kinetic scrolling using the mouse like in Bing or Google maps. The live tile screen should be one such place where it makes sense since scrolling accuracy isn't all that important on this screen.

  • User profile image
    DeathBy​VisualStudio

    , cbae wrote

    *snip*

    I've used a handful of apps, mostly games, and they're pretty fun. I guess I'm easily amused.

    My biggest complaint is that for apps like Wikipedia, they went out of their way to make it conform to Metro/Modern UI standards at the cost of convenience. The developers wanted Wikipedia to be a search provider for Windows 8, but searching with the search charm is the ONLY way to search in the Wikipedia. They couldn't be bothered with putting a textbox and search button anywhere in the interface.

    Having the search charm work with the app is great, but who says that you can't include an additional search method as well?

    That's funny coming from you. Haven't you heard it's all about the content? Or IOW "No Chrome Even If it Hurts". There are plenty of places in W8's UI where a little more chrome would help but noooo not in Sinofsky's W8 where "No Compromise" rules the day.

    Besides how hard is it to invoke the charms bar really?  Wink

    If we all believed in unicorns and fairies the world would be a better place.
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  • User profile image
    AndyC

    , cbae wrote

    *snip*

    Having the search charm work with the app is great, but who says that you can't include an additional search method as well?

    I'm pretty sure the design guidelines actually call that out specifically as something you shouldn't do. Having a consistent way to handle search in all apps is one of those things that will almost certainly pay off in the long run, even if it takes a little getting used to in the beginning.

    My experience so far has been hampered somewhat by video driver crashes making startup a bit of a hit and miss scenario, which all too often ends with Windows doing a self recovery. In fairness, using any ATi driver update other than the one which originally shipped with the laptop turned Windows 7 into a blue screen-fest too, so hopefully once I've downloaded that one I can get it installed and things running a bit more stably.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    , AndyC wrote

    *snip*

    I'm pretty sure the design guidelines actually call that out specifically as something you shouldn't do. Having a consistent way to handle search in all apps is one of those things that will almost certainly pay off in the long run, even if it takes a little getting used to in the beginning.

    So, why does the Bing app have a search bar in the app rather than relying on the charms bar? You'd think that if this was really a guideline that at least the built-in apps should follow it.

  • User profile image
    evildictait​or

    , Sven Groot wrote

    So, why does the Bing app have a search bar in the app rather than relying on the charms bar? You'd think that if this was really a guideline that at least the built-in apps should follow it.

    Probably because the Bing app was written by the Microsoft team responsible for Bing, rather than the Microsoft team responsible for coming up with the guidelines.

    It's hard to be consistent with guidelines that are in flux for a feature that's being developed by another team sitting in a different part of the city when you have your own timelines to complete the work.

    For the record - this isn't an excuse, just a reason.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    @Sven Groot: I guess because the sole purpose of the application is searching, so there is marginally more justification there. Although I'm not overly convinced personally that a "search app" really fits logically into the whole "Modern UI" philosophy, but I guess they weren't going to miss the opportunity to push Bing harder.

    The guideline page I was thinking of is http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/apps/hh465233.aspx under the "Appropriate use of search" section.

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    @AndyC: Okay, so that actually mentions Bing as an example of an app whose primary purpose is to search. But I'd argue the ability to search Wikipedia is also integral to that app, just as much as showing the pages.

    Of course, not that I can check how well the Wikipedia app works, because naturally it isn't available in my region.

  • User profile image
    Bas

    Perhaps the people who built the Wikipedia app should've studied the guidelines a bit better?

  • User profile image
    Bas

    Weird: on my laptop, cocktail flow is right there in the store. On the desktop, it's unfindable. I had installed it on the RP though, so when I looked at my apps, it was there, and I could install it without any problems.

    This is ridiculously inconsistent.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    , JoshRoss wrote

     Mouse wheels are orientated vertically, while everything in metro is horizontal.

    And this is slowly making me crazy.

  • User profile image
    contextfree`

    @Sven Groot: The "include a search bar / icon if search is integral to your app" recommendation is actually a very recent change to the guidelines (added between RP and RTM - so no, the Wikipedia app devs couldn't have studied it a little better), prior to that the advice on in-app search UI was a straight "don't do it". (Another change is that the "type to search" behavior seen on the Start screen and now the Store is now recommended for all applicable apps, and built in to the frameworks. I would guess we'll see it added to most of the other built-in apps at or soon after GA.)

    I think the main reason the Windows team generally discourages apps from including search boxes though is because they're afraid users won't learn to use the Search charm otherwise - i.e. if some apps start including search boxes, that will become the standard method of searching and all apps will "have to" include them, meaning a little more clutter for everyone. OTOH if all apps "hold the line" and rely on the Search charm instead, everyone will get accustomed to the Search charm method and every app's canvas / app bar gets a little more space and a little less clutter, plus a little more consistency. That's the idea anyway. Smiley I personally think it would've been awesome if the Bing app shipped showing just the background with no visible UI at all, and relied on type-to-search, but guess it wasn't to be Sad

    For me the horizontal/vertical mousewheel thing felt weird for about fifteen seconds and now I'm not consciously aware of it at all, I just scroll. shrug

     

  • User profile image
    GoddersUK

    , contextfree` wrote

    I think the main reason the Windows team generally discourages apps from including search boxes though is because they're afraid users won't learn to use the Search charm otherwise - i.e. if some apps start including search boxes, that will become the standard method of searching and all apps will "have to" include them, meaning a little more clutter for everyone. OTOH if all apps "hold the line" and rely on the Search charm instead, everyone will get accustomed to the Search charm method and every app's canvas / app bar gets a little more space and a little less clutter, plus a little more consistency. That's the idea anyway. Smiley 

    Perhaps they're trying to avoid this: Tongue Out

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  • User profile image
    exoteric

    Great review Sven! I completely agree with it.

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    So, after a little brute force I've 'persuaded' Windows 8 that it really does want to use the much older ATi driver I kept telling it to and not that one that ships in-box no matter how nice and shiny it might think it is. Consequently my machine is super-nippy and entirely stable again (although I can honestly say I've had plenty of experience with the new startup, auto-repair, restore and refresh features I suppose!)

    My thoughts so far on RTM:

    Signing in with a Microsoft ID is nice and simple and it was neat to see some of the personalization I'd done in previous build auto-magically get carried across. What's not so hot about that is the amount of time I still seem to spend having to click on Microsoft Account login things on websites like C9, MSDN blogs as well as when running stuff like Microsoft Flight or Zune. Isn't the entire point of a single sign-on system like this so that I don't have to keep doing this? It's a tad annoying given that the Windows Live-ID sign in assistant on Windows 7 seemed to do a better job of making this more seamless than it does here.

    A lot of the in-box apps are still lacking a bit of polish, hopefully these will be subject to continuous improvement and maybe even get an update or two prior to the "real" release of Windows 8.

    • The people hub lacks some obvious functionality. I don't, for example, seem to have any way of assigning pictures to contacts that don't have them (and quite why some of them don't, when those same contacts do on WP7 is another issue).
    • The music app seems to have decided that albums and bands whose name starts with 'The' belong alphabetically under 'T', something I don't think I've seen a music app do since the early 2000s. Given that the whole 'metro' thing originated with Zune, it's seems odd that this is one of the weaker apps at the moment.
    • The presence of Album art in music also seems a bit hit and miss, which is odd given that many of the apps missing it came from the Zune store and the artwork is all present and correct there. Worse still there are a few albums which point blank fail to play at all there, though are fine in the desktop app.
    • No RSS reader and the crippling of the Windows RSS platform that began in IE9 with the hiding of the orange feed icon gets worse with IE apparently defaulting to not updating your feeds and recommending you don't turn it on. I'm hoping a solution pops up in the store soon (or I guess I know what my first Metro-style app will be!), especially given how many RSS readers there seemed to be used as samples in pre-release builds. The few I've found so far are decidedly lacking.

    In fact one of the most striking things is that the Zune app run full screen is a better example of what the Music app should be like than the app we actually get. I guess the temptation is to push first-party services first and foremost, which I can sort-of understand, but it doesn't help sell the 'concept' as it should. My content should be #1, not a bunch of new-fangled pop artists whose album is flavour of the week (I already paid for the Zune Pass dammit, if I want to buy more music I'll do it without having it shoved in my face).

    The Bing app is another offender here. I really don't see the point in an app which doesn't really do anything other than launch IE. Just make searching in IE work smoothly and ditch the standalone app, it's just not needed. Unpinning/uninstalling it isn't hard, of course, but again it distracts from what really shines and has that distinct odour of crapware about it. Apple wouldn't ship that.

    Speedwise, it's ludicrously fast. I'm partially assigning some responsibility for that to the fact I replaced the old disk with an SSD, but I'm pretty sure that's not entirely responsible for the improvements across the board. Will certainly be interesting to see how much it's impacted once I've got some Hyper-V VMs set up to run alongside the main install.

    IE10 is nice, even in "Metro mode", which I wasn't expecting (I'm even using it now!). However the lack of Flash support here just seems counter-productive. I know the aim is to push a HTML5 only web, but I still don't see that happening any time soon and having to switch to the desktop every now and then for the sake of a webpage feels clunky (doubly so due to the bizarre decision to seemingly not share saved credentials and so on between views).

    And one last thing, if you do find yourself in the most unfortunate position of trying to diagnose a machine that repeatedly likes to crash at startup, the insistence that it's going to try an 'automatic repair' that will fail every time before you can get into a state where you can try something like a low-res/safe mode boot is deeply aggravating and rather wasteful of time. I'm sure it's great for a one-off bad driver issue that'll help out most folk, but there *really* needs to be an "I know what I'm doing, stop trying to be clever and just give me the advanced options" keypress here.

     

  • User profile image
    contextfree`

    I like Discourse as a Metro style RSS reader. I emailed its author with a few feature requests and he implemented them in an update that hit the store within a week,  Scared

  • User profile image
    ScottWelker

    Nice objective write up. Thanks Sven!

    This is why I return to C9. Thanks again!!

  • User profile image
    Bas

    , AndyC wrote

    Signing in with a Microsoft ID is nice and simple and it was neat to see some of the personalization I'd done in previous build auto-magically get carried across. What's not so hot about that is the amount of time I still seem to spend having to click on Microsoft Account login things on websites like C9, MSDN blogs as well as when running stuff like Microsoft Flight or Zune. Isn't the entire point of a single sign-on system like this so that I don't have to keep doing this? It's a tad annoying given that the Windows Live-ID sign in assistant on Windows 7 seemed to do a better job of making this more seamless than it does here.

     

    This gets me too. MSDN forums, C9, Connect.. everywhere I have to click "sign in" to get signed in. I don't have to provide credentials, but why can't Windows/IE just sign me in automatically?

  • User profile image
    ManipUni

    @Bas: I use LastPass, and thus haven't seen that page in about six months. C9 just redirects me about three times and then I am logged in without any human intervention.   

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