Why Win8 will succeed. Or fail.

Started Apr 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
Sean Nelson
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Re: they could have two operating systems
In reply to Simon Garrett, Apr 12, 2013

Simon Garrett wrote:

Sean Nelson wrote:

...it appears that as a programmer you have to create different viewgroups and layouts for an application that takes advantage of larger screen sizes.   So although it's seamless for the user, it may not be for the developer, depending on the kind of application.

...But I reckon that if you have a very large screen, or are using a keyboard and a mouse, then ideally you need more than different screen layouts.  You need to redesign the program logic more substantially. 

The nice thing about desktop programming is that you can pretty much assume a certain minimum screen size and then design UI elements that work with it.   Desktop runtime environments like the Windows Presentation Foundation have powerful layout engines that let UI elements dynamically rearrange themselves based on the size of the window they're in.   And sophisticated programs with rich UIs usually enhance this with dockable toolbars, menus, and panes.   That gives the desktop user a great deal of power to arrange his workspace the way he wants, and take advantage of things like multiple monitors.

I haven't seen any mobile device applications that do this.   They seem to all be designed so that they're runnable on the lowest common demonimator - a tiny phone screen - which means, as you mentioned, that their UIs tend to be "dumbed down" even when run on larger devices.

It's hard to imagine why someone would want to run a sophisticated application like Photoshop on a phone.   Similarly, I can't imagine why a desktop user would want something like a calculator app filling up his whole monitor.  It seems so obvious to me that these are two different worlds with their own needs, and I'm completely baffled as to why Microsoft doesn't seem to understand this.

The only reason I can figure is that they're so desperate to get desktop users and developers interested in their mobile capabilities that they're willing to risk alienating them by dumping them into an environment that's ill-suited to their needs.   That motivation seems plausible, what seems implausible to me is that Microsoft would so badly underestimate the market's reaction to it.

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