Yesterday I attended the Windows 8 Premiere Club in the (incredibly stylish & ugly) nhow hotel in Berlin.
Microsoft even produced a CD with “the sound of Windows 8” - hopefully other tracks than this.
These are my notes from the presentations - and please bear with me that I mixed German and Enlish.
“8 things about Windows 8”
- Numbers: 550 million Windows 7 installations worldwide, in Germany 11 mio new each year
- Windows 7 PCs can run Windows 8, no new hardware needed (at least that’s what they say).
- Microsoft App Market is more open than App Store:
- default: 70/30 revenue share as used in the app stores
- when your app earns more than a certain amount (~ $25k), the share changes to 80/20 for the rest of the apps “life”
- your own payment systems are allowed, for e.g. selling products or subscriptions via the app or a webstore (and so completely bypassing Microsoft)
- Access SkyDrive from any PC with SMS
- App button for websites: your site can link to it’s app in its metadata. When you do so, an icon will appear next to the adress bar in Browser.
- With Windows to go (companys only), you can carry your “entire” OS with all its preferences, data etc. on a USB-Stick (part of it remains in the cloud)
- Bitlocker, previously only available for companys, becomes part of Windows 8 Professional and by that availabe for consumers.
- App Review: developers also have access to (some) tools used in the approval process
“Das Neue Windows aus Startup-Sicht”
Frank Thelen, (co-)founder and money-spender of many startups including MyTaxi, Kaufda and Wunderlist/Wunderkit.
He had some good points on app development nowadays:
- Supply “Avatar quality” for 0.79 cent
- Deliver kick-ass UX
- Perfect product from the start
- Support muliple plattform
- Rollout plattforms fast (secure niche)
Thelens opinions on plattforms:
- Great SDK
- Boundaries: inter-app communication, App Store Approval
- Very different UX iPhone/iPad
- Great OS
- OK SDK
- Scattered Devices (Resoulution, Buttons)
- Outdated and skinned versions
- Tablet strategy missing
- Best UX
- Good SDK
- No custom controls
Why he loves Windows:
- Put content first: live tiles are better than icons with badges - I do agree!
- Same experience on tablet, phone and desktop
His latest starup, doo, is a software to manage paper documents (scanning, tagging, etc.). Looks interesting, and reminds me on my diploma thesis from 2008 (“Document management with Tagging”).
Some opinions from the expert panel
- The fragmentation of app plattforms (iOS, Android, Windows Phone, Web) has markably raised the barrier for startups (as their app should run on every plattform).
- Start with one, but support other platforms fast.
- Office in the cloud: Datenlagerung kann örtlich besimmt werden, damit europäisches Recht gilt.
- Windows 8: Kein Start-Knopf mehr: bei den Ribbons in Office gab es den gleichen Aufschrei, heute hat es sich durchgesetzt (und ist meist beliebter als tief verschachtelte Menüs).
- Metro-Apps nur über den Market: Apps die “Metro verwenden” müssen über den Market vertrieben werden. Außnahme: für Unternehmen gibt es Ausnahmen.
- Nicht für jede Anwendung ist Metro der richtige Weg (z.B. Access etc.), bei diesen bleibt der herkömliche Windows-Stil erhalten.
“Windows 8 from a designers perspective”
Clemens Lutsch, User Experience Evangelist, Microsoft
- Chrome (in English this means “anything shiny”) distracts; remove anything that distracts the user from his task
- Chrome is often added for: Layout, Interaction, Navigation
- Content is the heart of the experience
- Integrate controls into the content (sample: avoid unnecessary icons)
- Metro is founded on typography
- We are used to reading: orientation through reading
- Use a small set of size/weight to establish an information hierarchy
- Authentically digital: No more graphical metaphors (recycle bin, folder/”Hängeordner”)
- Use a grid system
“Windows 8 from a (web) developers perspective”
The bigger part of the presentations were live coding demos.
There was a session on C# and XAML, but these technologies seem more a bridge for existing Windows developers (and if you want to access propietary stuff like XNA or DirectX).
Notes from the talks:
- XML processing with LINQ: Parsing of XML (e.g. from webservices) is done very nicely with Xpath and
- Great support for web technologies:
WinJS, wich contains common interface elements like list views, dialogs and grid systems.
- This also includes animation, styles, layout etc.
- Apps written with
WinJSreally look and feel like native apps.
- Data bindings: HTML-Elements can be bound to data with code like
- Web technology support like web workers, CSS3 Filters, Grid, Flexbox-Layout etc. IE10 really supports much stuff.
- Blend is a quite powerful designer and debugger. Its interactive mode switches your layout “live”, then you can browse to a certain app screen, pause and redesign that very screen.
- Design recommendations from Microsoft with common typography, sizes etc. can be found here.