Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Windows 8: Viewing Multiple Metro Apps on a Single Screen

I agree with Jason Perlow, which wants the ability to run Windows 8 Metro apps "Windows 8 UI Style apps" in some kind of "windowed" environment:
Unfortunately, WinRT does not currently support windowed apps. (...) That doesn't cut it for the desktop, however. Desktop users need multiple windows running on their screens and the ability to multitask. "Post-PC" may very well work for the majority of consumers within a few years, but for the business user, viewing enterprise productivity exclusively through a tablet-centric, full-screen app world is neither realistic nor practical.
You can "snap" apps, but this often makes the application unusable. One example is the included PDF viewer, which does not allow selection or copy of text when "snapped".

I accept & like that overlapped windows will be gone, but somehow we must be able to view and use multiple Metro apps. One solution is to provide a tiling windows manager for Metro apps.

The interaction used to snap and close apps works great when using mouse:

Microsoft should improve and extend "snapping" to display many Metro apps on one screen. The function to arrange Metro windows could also draw inspiration from the Windows 8 Start Screen and the way tiles are arranged there. 

I like Microsoft's plan of having a single UI across phones, tablets and the desktop. But to work on the desktop, a proper "windows manager" is something business and power users will demand. Without it, people will stick to the desktop mode in Windows 8.

But maybe there is hope... Jason speculates that Microsoft will improve windows handling in Windows 9:
So "Plan B" is almost certainly Windows 9, which will appear in the 2014 or 2015 timeframe. I expect to see an evolution of Metro for desktop use which allows for windowed applications of some form and a smoother way to transition back and forth from legacy Win32 apps without a jarring context switch.
Likewise,  Jesse Houwing says Microsoft are already considering changes for how "Metro windows" are handled. Hopefully if they add support for displaying several apps using multiple monitors, it will include support for multiple apps on a single screen:
Talked to the Metro Design guy from Microsoft and he explained to me they really wanted to do it better, but that Multi-Monitor support for Metro didn't make it. (...) When they do it, they want to do it right. That might include multiple monitor support where a tablet and a secondary display (another pc or a TV for example) can share screens as well.


Marin said...

I can't use multiple aplication and i have windows 8 pro. why?

Runar Jordahl said...

If you resolution is too low, "Snap" cannot be used:

"The resolution that supports all the features of Windows 8, including multitasking with snap, is 1366x768."

Also see: