Why I hate coding Metro applications even though I love Windows 8

The apps load in full screen. The simple fact (for me at least) is that for most of those apps, I either plan to use them for 30 seconds and then close them again, or I want to leave them open to quickly check, but don’t like them taking up a full screen. This is less of an issue for me than it probably is for others, since I have two screens and can just leave an app open on the second screen if I want. However it is still an issue – and one which Windows 10 fixes. The ability to have Metro apps resized should make a huge difference in how much they’re used.

Why I hate coding Metro applications even though I love Windows 8

This ties in to the first one, but the amount of time it takes for a Metro app to load, relative to the amount of time I plan to spend in that app, makes it unappealing. Skype for example takes about 5 seconds to load in, but I’m only going to spend about 15 seconds using it anyway (on average). I use the desktop version because it’s just faster and easier, but the same holds for most other Metro apps as well. This will hopefully be less of an issue, but it will also help that I can now just keep a bunch of apps open in the background to use as I want. Win8.1 made some good strides with this anyway in showing Metro apps in the Taskbar.

Probably my biggest issue is that half of the value I gain from apps, both on my phone and on my PC, is the live tile. Using Windows 8, I’d barely see the tiles, because I spent very little time on my start screen. Even though I had my favourite apps there, and I used it to open those apps/programs, the time spent on the start screen would be a second at most – not long enough to gain any information from the live tiles. With Windows 10 having live tiles in the start menu, this will hopefully change as well – since people can quickly check their favourite live tiles without having to actually leave what they’re doing.

I think another thing that might help people join the WP platform in general would be Cortana. As someone who always though smartphone assistants were silly and pointless before, I now use it every day for all kinds of things. If desktop users get the same experience it might become a compelling enough reason for them to switch to WP – especially since they’ll now know what to expect on WP in terms of apps and everything else.

The unified experience is definitely a step in the right direction but I also wouldn’t get my hopes up yet. If users take it poorly and don’t embrace the change (as happens all the time) then the work done on Metro apps could just be left in the dust and end up having no effect at all. Developers won’t be willing to come to the platform unless they think they’ll get enough users, which means that is, to me, the biggest issue in really getting apps onto WP. Microsoft will have to find a way to really sell that point hard if they care about WP (and I’m hoping they will anyway, since it’s what Win8 was meant to be all about as well).


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