digital wave / Reiner Pittinger: iOS, Web Technologies, Interaction DesignSoftware Development in Berlin: iOS, Web Technologies, Interaction Design

Windows 8 Premiere Club

Stickers on the coffee tables

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  • Outdated and skinned versions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”).

Expert panel

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.

Interesting is that Microsoft is really pushing JavaScript as development language for Windows 8/Phone.

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).

Microsofts message is: If you start developing for Windows 8/Phone, use JavaScript.

Notes from the talks:

  • XML processing with LINQ: Parsing of XML (e.g. from webservices) is done very nicely with Xpath and LINQ.
  • Great support for web technologies:
    • You can do nearly everything what you can to with C# with Microsofts JavaScript library WinJS, wich contains common interface elements like list views, dialogs and grid systems.
    • This also includes animation, styles, layout etc.
    • Apps written with WinJS really look and feel like native apps.
    • Debugging with Visual Studio is very much like using WebKit inspector, including breakpoints, JavaScript console etc.
  • Data bindings: HTML-Elements can be bound to data with code like
[JavaScript Data Bindings on Windows Phone 8] []
<div id="my-listview" data-win-binding="{ datasource: myDatasource }></div>"   
  • 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.
  • Visual Studio is a powerful IDE for JavaScript development on Windows, as it assists you with code completion for WinJS and others (which acutally is quite uncommon for editors when it comes to JavaScript libraries).
  • Design recommendations from Microsoft with common typography, sizes etc. can be found here.