I’ve written before about modern apps in Windows 8. They tend to all share some common traits:
- Touch-capable and size agnostic (to run on multiple size form factors)
- Store curated (to reduce malware)
- Enabled roaming by default (to speed transitioning between devices)
- Architecturally independent (to run on phones or tablets)
- Updated 24/7 (to ensure feature parity and security)
What amazes me in the spate of news coverage surrounding the Build Convention that many observers have claimed that Microsoft is either:
- Listening to customer demand responsibly (or)
- Reversing course on key design decisions
The truth is much more nuanced. Several years ago, if Microsoft had announced to developers that there was a new development initiative, that required:
- A Microsoft app store (reducing profits for developers)
- A touch centric UI (forcing developers to recode their non-touch friendly applications)
- Relying upon cloud based storage (forcing developers to design internet-first applications)
most developers would’ve simply laughed, kept developing desktop applications, and not touched the new “modern” interface in Windows 8. Instead, by building an ARM-based device (the Surface) as well as an operating system (Windows 8 RT) that was only capable of running modern applications, Microsoft forced a small, but growing number of shops to adopt the new design initiative. The carrot was the promise of a vast, untapped market of smaller form-factor devices. The stick, by contrast, was the idea that legacy desktop mode might eventually go away.
This week has seen a great deal of commentary of the prospect of modern applications coming into the legacy desktop environment. To me, this is simply the long-awaited natural expansion of modern apps to becoming the pre-eminent first class citizens of a PC. If I can use a modern app (such as “Lync” or “Mint” or “OneNote”) inside a desktop environment, I certainly would do so. Eventually, once Office itself is released in modern mode, all my applications will be “modern” apps, resulting in the benefits listed earlier.
The point of a modern app isn’t to prioritize touch over desktop mode. The point is to allow apps to be updated in real time, all the time, or to allow a curated store to weed out malware and spyware, or to allow my programs to roam with me when I switch from my Surface to Windows Phone to my Xbox One. None of those benefits would’ve come to fruition had Microsoft simply allowed developers to continue to build desktop apps without any incentives to move to the new platform. Now that modern apps have momentum, bringing them back to the desktop removes the final argument many have been holding out against them: that somehow, Microsoft would switch course and go back to the traditional application model.
That ship, fortunately for consumer and businesses, has sailed. If you’re interested about how a modern app can benefit your business, or why modern apps provide a greater degree of security and capabilities, come talk to us at New Signature. We build better, modern apps!