Jonathan Sumner Evans
Sumner Evans
Software Engineer at Automattic working on Beeper

My Thoughts on Windows 8

Written by Human, Not by AI

I first saw Windows 8 at my C# class last year (2011-2012 school year) and fell in love with it. Well… not really but… you know what I meant. Anyway, the teacher of the class decided to dedicate the second semester to programming for Metro (Metro is the same thing as Modern UI which is the new user interface on Windows 8). We were required to get Win8 CP (short of Windows 8 Consumer Preview) for our computers for class. So, of course, I installed CP. I had seen Windows 8 before and knew about how it worked so I was whizzing around the Modern UI in no time. I got Win8 Pro through DreamSpark before it even came out. All of this was to say that I have been using Win8 for a long time (in the computer realm, that is).

So then, you might be wondering when I’ll get to the subject of my title. If you were, wait no longer. Here are my thoughts. First of all, Microsoft has put a lot of work into Win8 and I think that they delivered a very good product. Many people think (and will think) that Win8 was one of Microsoft’s biggest blunders. But I think that it is a good change. They needed to do it because Apple had been delivering iOS for years and Microsoft’s only real mobile platform was the old XP-ish thing and Zune (which failed epicly). Then Microsoft poked their heads out of their bomb shelter and realized if they were ever going to win the mobile war they needed a response to Apple. It came (sorta) with Windows Phone 7 which looks very similar to Metro. When Microsoft released Win8 they took that design concept, buffed it up a bit and changed the way we use Windows. (Or from the outside it looks like that’s what they did.)

I like Modern UI. It is, in Microsoft’s own words, “Fast and Fluid.” I have agree with them. The interface is very clean. Some people don’t like the Live Tiles but I think that they were a great idea. Frankly, I like being able to see if the Dow is going up or down or what the temperature is at a single glance. One might think that it is/would be very messy if an app developer could just change the tile at his/her whims but Microsoft has put out some very extensive app development guidelines. In fact they are so extensive that I think they are becoming a standard for app development across all platforms. Including iOS. I mean look at an app like News360; they have a Metro-like UI for iOS and Metro. (I haven’t seen their platform on Android. I don’t even really know if they have an Android platform anyway.) When I look at Modern UI, I see lots of potential in the platform. The thing that will turn people away from Windows 8 on a laptop/desktop is that it isn’t Windows anymore. In Modern UI you don’t just click the X button. You have to go to the top of the app and pull down. (However when you look at iOS, closing an app is even harder. You have to move the app you want to close to the background, four finger swipe up

\[or double tap the home button\]

, press and hold on the app you want to close and then hit the little red thing in the corner.) People will also be turned away from Win8 on tablets because it just isn’t the on par with iOS. I have to agree with them too. iOS is the best mobile operating system there is right now. Partly because “there’s an app for that.” Pretty much the only apps that are Windows 8 only are the ones Microsoft made themselves to show people that there are apps that are only for Windows 8. The other thing that will turn people off is that you can’t sync your Surface tablet to iTunes or in any way hook it up to the Apple ecosystem. I only have an iPad but I think that if I were to get another tablet it would be another iPad. As much as I like the Surface, iPad takes the cake hands down.

I don’t have much money. If I did, I would buy a Retina MacBook Pro and dual boot Win8 with it (or just put Win8 into a VM). But seeing as I don’t have that sort of money, a PC seems like the best choice. I could either get a MacBook Air or an 8GB RAM, 1TB HDD, Intel i7, etc. PC for the same price. So if you want the most bang for your buck you will have to get a PC. All of the new ones now come with Windows 8 so you are stuck with it unless you downgrade to Windows 7 or (GASP…FAINT) Windows Vista. But if you do downgrade, downgrade to Windows 7, not Windows XP. Sure XP was good, but Windows 7 is better.

Enough of my rambling. Comment if you’d like (just don’t comment on my writing skills, I already know they are terrible :)).