Microsoft previews Windows 8: HTML/JS/CSS apps seem familiar somehow [the competition] | webOS Nation

Microsoft previews Windows 8: HTML/JS/CSS apps seem familiar somehow [the competition] 43

by Derek Kessler Thu, 02 Jun 2011 9:27 am EDT

If you’d asked us a few months ago if we saw Microsoft’s flagship Windows desktop operating system as a potential candidate for being in competition with webOS, we’d have laughed. But today we’re looking at Redmond with a wary eye. At Computex yesterday, Microsoft gave a preview of the next version of Windows, they’re calling it Windows 8 while it’s under development, and it’s very much an OS crafted in response to the rise of tablets (a rise that decimated the netbook segment upon which the hopes of Windows 7 were pinned).

Windows 8 takes the Spartan tile-based Metro user interface of Windows Phone 7 and scales it up to the big screen, and we’ll admit that we find it mighty attractive. The scalability of the apps is impressive, as you can even pull in an app from the side of the screen and sit it side-by-side with another running app (e.g. you can have Twitter open in a panel on the side, with your news reader dominating the rest of the screen). This full-screen approach abandons the traditional window-driven interface of Windows for a more touch-friendly experience.

What we at PreCentral find most interesting, however, is the new development platform Microsoft has crafted for Windows 8: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If that sounds familiar, that the web developer refrain that Palm had been touting for webOS for over two years. Microsoft echoed a familiar line from way back in January of 2009: that from day one they’ll have millions of developers who know how to make apps for Windows 8. We all saw how well that worked out for Palm. Additionally, Windows 8 will be able to run older Windows 7-style apps, but seeing the old Start Menu and task bar was a real buzzkill. In fact, it’s a strange dichotomy that makes it seem as if everything that makes Windows 8 into Windows 8 is really just a touch overlay on top of the old interface (along with the ability to run on low-power ARM chips).

We imagine HP has already seen a lot of this (and more) in their long-standing partnership with Microsoft. But for the first time Windows is truly heading towards a touch-driven interface that’s going to put it into direct competition with the likes of webOS, Android, and iOS.

In fact, it poses quite the potential quandary for HP. With webOS to be on HP PCs by the end of the year, HP stands to have two distinctly different touch-based operating systems on the same device, should the release a Windows 8 tablet with webOS also on board. While webOS on the PC at first is expected to only be webOS in a window, we can’t help but imagine that HP intends to integrate it more deeply with later versions. Additionally, it puts HP back in with the Metro UI they shied away from when purchasing Palm and dumping their Windows Phone 7 development.

Will HP still adopt Windows 8 for their PC lines? Of course they will. Even if it takes a year to get Windows 8 out to consumers, webOS still isn’t going to be ready for primary machine duty by that time. The fact that Windows 8 will run on lightweight hardware and still support legacy-style apps in a major plus for Microsoft, but it remains to be seen how well they’re going to execute on their newfound embrace of web standards where Palm failed. Either way, the thought of an HP tablet with this slick new Metro UI Windows 8 and webOS is a very tempting idea. Slick video of it all is after the break.

Source: WPCentral


That snap feature needs to be in webOS yesterday!

For WebOS tablets it would be nice but it wouldn't be much use for phones.

Unfortunately HP has been busy creating WebOS to work on a tablet that innovations in the OS have been lacking. I really hope they have some new things on the board to implement into future versions WebOS.

I second that. Snap is sorta already in Win7 and I use it all the time. The hidden Tabs is another much desired improvement I expect will be in the TP.

funny this whole article has the tone that this was all stolen from webos. congruent maybe but if you are looking for stolen go back to rims tablet. also funny to find webos users demanding windows tech be stolen and implimented in webos.

it was astute to point out that this would make webos on the pc pretty useless.

a couple more weeks and webos will be a thing of the past for me. cant wait to show hp how i "make things right" with my wallet.

It does look somewhat impressive i must admit.

Actually I kinda liked it myself and wonder when HP is going to step it up and "snap" too it per say.

Actually, I not really a great programmer...more of a hack to be honest, but I like what I'm seeing from Enyo and would love to see some more HP magic on the way. Anything is possible, but timing is the big problem right now and only time will tell. Sorli...

All this is though is an emulator running on top of windows 7/vista. This is basically the same thing webOS will be on desktops pretty much.

HP steal that snap feature now!

Right now that's true, maybe. I have a feeling they're building a new OS from the ground up though, and all the webOS and other OSs buzz out there prompted this concoction to be debuted now.

Why would anyone want webOS on PC when they can run windows 8, full featured touch enabled software. Even using webOS for just syncing data now sound tedious. Imagine this on phone, tablet and PC all seamlessly integrated. Maybe Sync on Ford will also get updated to this.

Because its a battle of the vaporware, which one wont come out this year first. lol

oh please no! Sync on Ford already had usability issues don't wish this garbage on us Ford owners!

**** ford synch. Its a nightmare of voice options and it killed my original launch day palm pre. corrupted all my pictures when i plugged it into a ford car and accidentally hit media synch instead of usb drive. when i pulled it out of the usb it says my stuff was corrupted.

My girls new honda on the other hand, synch to usb and in a minute everything was there. granted there is no voice actions though.

They wouldn't. And to make things more murky, HP will be selling both windows 8 and webOS. They can't exactly bash one over the other. There will be customers asking why webOS over windows 8 and HP won't have much to say.

I'm with John Gruber on this one:

Can one OS do it all? Can one airplane do it all? I don't think so.

Interesting observations and like what he had to say. I didn't really realize what Windows 8 was doing till I read this article. I suspect many people did the same thing I did and think this is something new, but all they've done is ad icing on the cake and made it prettier. Sorli...

Pretty... wonder if I can skip the metro UI and still just use the classical interface? I'm afraid if it comes from MS it tends to be a resource hog.

you raise an interesting point about how this will work on with windows '8' as the main operating system, and webos bundled on the side. what's the point then? if this Metro UI is working well as a top layer touch interface, would there much appeal for webos? It seems that people would rather have a windows '8' tablet and phone along with their PC running Windows '8.' I actually like what they're doing here, but as Daring Fireball pointed out, it's hard to ignore the skeleton of this beautiful beast, the old and tired Windows system that doesn't quite mesh with the touch control we see here. This refresh would appear more as a 'Windows Media Center' layer that would basically perform only to a certain level, but still at some point you're going to have to go into those dizzying menus and paralyzing options. there is a major disconnect here in the way the old and new play together, for in order to make the new work they way it should, you would have to let Windows offer *less* control of its whole system and provide them with a more refined, simpler experience.

I still don't see how they are going to put these on both tablets and PCs. this would make more sense as strictly a tablet OS.

Licensing webos doesn't seem like a horrible idea now...

When MS puts its sails up and changes directions, it changes course to another country. This is an example of them shifting their desktop model to reflect more of a touch-based interface (yes, the tablet revolution has begun). Sadly, I think that change will come too swiftly, I agree with you on that.

In looking at Apple's upcoming OS update Lion, they are *incrementally* meshing and molding iOS and OS X together, slowly and surely. Not even directly inputing touches on screen, they are gradually introducing users to complex gestures you can perform on a trackpad. That move to trackpad to screen will take place over the next few years, and that's even when they can find a suitable solution to inputting touches on a screen comfortably (i.e. not looking down on a table or extending your arm out).

If MS is serious about still playing with the rest of the big boys, I would suggest they think more seriously about having the Windows '8' serve as a tablet OS for now. It manages well on larger real estate, keeps the Metro DNA going, and could very well be a bridge for a 'Metro desktop version.'

Oh, and fire Ballmer.

I have always been a Mac user when it comes to home computing, but I have to admit, this is a really cool idea from Windows that I didn't see coming.

I am really excited for WWDC on Monday now.

I do think that a touch screen will be a must for Windows 8. This will also be a great trojan horse for getting people to switch to WP7.

I may be in the minority, but I think the tiles are awful looking and I don't want them on my PC. However, everything else about the touch interface is pretty nice.

I got a headache from watching the tiles bend in over and over again. But other than the motion sickness/nausea, it does look pretty good.

I don't care for the tiles either. They are well done (nice fonts and overall design), but as an interface...puke! No thanks. It would absolutely drive me up the wall if I had to deal with that interface on a daily basis.

I'm not a fan of the tiles either.

Have to admit this looks like wmc with a better skin. It could very well be 98/ME, XP/VISTA all over again. M$ just can't help themselves. This on tablets would be fine. Fullblown pc ah NO! When are they going to realize to cut from the top, Balmer first

If Windows 8 supports HTML5 apps then when HP said webOS on PCs, they may really mean Eyno on PC's. Just a thought.

competition is good, scary but good. if the windows 8 and IE 10 runs like is does on that screen it poses a threat to the deal HP with webos on every computer. i say steal the snap or modify it for our system in time for the first update "coming soon". but i have a feeling it might be another vista waiting to happen. remember vista being so beautiful, but it was a storage and memory hog. but with the advancement of newer technologies...this is no bueno. when we think we have made a leap...someone leap frogs us. get on the stick fellas..NOW

I think it's another Windows Vista waiting to happen but not because of resources. The issue for me is trying to force a mobile metaphor on a desktop. webOS is not that usable in the emulator because it is not mouse/trackpad friendly. I think this new "shell" on windows 8 will present many of the same usability issues. It will be beautiful and usable on a touch device, but on a non-touch device...not so much.

Notice how nice it looks in the video while they demo it on a touch enabled device. Now imagine doing those flicks and scrolls with a mouse.

HP will do what is in the best interest of HP. So them having a Windows 8 TouchPad along side their webOS TouchPad is not out of the realm of possibility. They already sell servers running either Windows Server or HP Unix.

*LOVE* This. The look, feel and fluidity is amazing. It will be interesting to see more of this in the coming months. I assume this video is just scratching the surface. Smart on Microsoft to merge the desktop and smartphone OS. This just killed the iPad surge in my company.

Not in mine, not until they actually SHIP something.

The other problem will be the Apps, if this is running on Arm and also on a Touch-device it basically starts with 0 Apps. So it will be even later then webOS ever was.

It will be pretty hard for Microsoft to play catchup on this field. Nevertheless... it looks good, lets see how things will evolve. :)

Who's playing catchup? Even though Apple dominates the current tablet market, only a fraction of the consumer population even owns a tablet. This idea that they should have introduced a tablet two years ago to have any traction is nonsense. Consumers don't live in the world of the tech blogs. If they did, Windows wouldn't have 90% marketshare and everyone would worship the ground Steve Jobs walks on.

You need to take your tech-nerd shaded glasses off and try to look at it like a consumer. Will it run e-mail and will it give them access to Facebook? If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then it will sell. Who needs 900,000 apps when all you do is two things on a computer?

Is it geeky to ask for the Applications?

Basically the biggest win for Windows right now are the numerous and uncountable numbers of Applications that exist for it and that can cover almost anything.

Now Microsoft is basically throwing away all of this (at least on the tablet platform). What else should attract developers and users? If it's only "Hey, it's Windows and it has a nice user interface!" then I have to tell you, that there are already three other mobile OSes out there out of which at least two also already have a nice UI and are more established in the market.

Microsoft is not going to introduce Windows 8 in this year. Now the tablet market has just started, but in one year it will be prime-time for tablets and that's the time when MS is going to release a first-gen "tabledized" Windows onto the masses, while even HP will be releasing their second generation, and others their third or fourth... This for now is nothing else then what Windows Mobile 6.5 was to 6.1. It will be hard for MS.

Except they aren't. They even showed that legacy apps run in the classic Windows environment. And if HP can get webOS off the ground, a lot of Devs will have apps already mostly written for the JS envirnment of Windows 8.

If anything it sounds like MS is letting HP do all the heavy lifting.


Also on ARM?

That legacy Apps will run on x86 should be clear.

I have yet to see an x86-tablet that doesn't suck.

I believe you will see more teaming of the major players that are not leading in the current mobile OS's (apple & google) in order to integrate 'their' strengths and leave the two biggies struggling to touch the rest of the computing ecosystem. Maybe struggling is not the right word . . . how about, make them (apple & google) come play with them. From a marketing a global power perspective they have to force the others to come to them. Seems like just 5-10 years ago MS 'allowed' apple to use their PC strengths and I believe they would like to get back to that part of the business.

It will be an interesting next 5 years, but in the end, it will be those with the most cash and capital that are on top . . . and NO ONE stays up there forever . . . right IBM?

Who is the next dominant tech company? Don't know, but I sure hope I get a WebOS phone on Sprint soon !

Though I don't like the tile interface I think that MS is probably moving in the right direction for the masses (not for me since I'm a power user).

As far as HP WebOS is concerned, I think those saying it won't have a role to play with Windows 8 are forgeting about the current HP Touch Smart all-in-ones. They get good reviews and I think it is a perfect place to have WebOS showcased. I believe they could possible get this done by Christmas. It will be way out ahead of Windows 8, taking up the mindshare. Just my thoughts.

To me, the best part about webOS is the interaction design. It doesn't matter to me what it was implemented in. If webOS apps were coded with Java or C++ or Python or even Objective-C, I wouldn't care. With that said, I never bought into the hype that using JavaScript/HTML/CSS for client apps allows you to tap into the vast community of web developers. It usually doesn't.

The reality is, for most web developers, apps are written on a server typically in some server-based language/framework like PHP, Java, Ruby, ASP.NET, etc. HTML/CSS is generated on the server to create the user interface (UI) and JavaScript is used to provide interactivity.

For client-side apps like webOS apps and these Windows 8 apps, there is no server that you browse to to create the UI. Instead, apps need to be coded like old-style C++ apps (but using JavaScript) and are installed locally like the Windows/Mac apps of old. Once run, the apps typically make a request to a server for data and then the JavaScript code builds up the UI using some kind of framework (like Mojo, Enyo, Dojo, etc.). IMPORTANT DISTINCTION: The way the UI is constructed in a JavaScript-based client is very different from how it would be done on the server (e.g., very little HTML is written by the developer, but instead JavaScript framework API calls are used). And many web developers are not familiar with doing things this way. There is a huge learning curve involved with using one of these client-side JavaScript frameworks, so the fact that it's based on web technologies doesn't get you very far.

Now, there are some web developers who are familiar with AJAX (which is what client-side JavaScript development really is), but they typically use a particular JavaScript framework. So, if your client platform does not let them use the framework they are experts in, they're pretty much at the bottom of the learning curve too.

Given the fact that many web developers feel that developing with AJAX is **** I'm not sure why people tout that their new client-side framework uses JavaScript and that it will be instantly accessible to millions of web developers -- that's simply not true. There are benefits to using JavaScript/HTML/CSS and they mostly have to do with cross-platform portability of the application. But instant productivity (due to use of web technologies) and a great development environment aren't anything they can claim, but typically try to. Just doesn't make sense.

I SERIOUSLY hope that this isn't the sort of OS they are thinking about putting onto actual computers.... this would be an utter slap in the face to any actual PC user... I mean, it may be ok if you have a laptop with a touch screen, but there are so few people out there that actually have one, let alone USE that feature for every day things...

Besides, if I have a really nice computer with quite a bit of power, no one would want to install an OS onto their machine that makes it look like it couldn't run anything they normally would run on a daily basis... Plus actual navigation throughout the OS... Sure the tiles and all make it good if you have a touch screen, but for more than 75% of us using a PC, we dont have a touch screen, we have a MOUSE and KEYBOARD...

Here I was actually looking forward to seeing what would come after Windows 7... and if this is what I'm awarded with for my waiting, then I doubt I'll ever buy another windows OS...

"but for more than 75% of us using a PC, we dont have a touch screen, we have a MOUSE and KEYBOARD..."


Windows tried to put their full, non-touch, OS on slates and it failed. Now they are planning on putting a purely touch-based OS on desktops/laptops. All that scrolling, flicking, zooming is going to be a pain with a mouse and keyboard.

I predict an abondance of initial "WOW! That thing is beautiful!", followed by an onslaught of frustration once the eye candy effect has worn off.

I don't think you quite understand what MS has in mind. If you're using a desktop, windows will look like windows of old. If a tablet, then you can pick the touch UI.

No one expects you to sit and stare at tiles on a desktop trying to use a mouse.

Windows 8 will be what you want it to be given the hardware you're using. For those with a tablet, it will give more than enough to similate an ipad like experience which is all the consumers want. Multitouch, browsing, simple apps/games all with real multitasking.

But with a kb and mouse, you can also use powerful apps (instead of pretend apps like iwork) when its time to work on that tablet.

Windows 8 means a real tablet. Pads refer to the "tablets" running a lite OS with play apps.

Thumb-view virtual keyboard! Brilliant! That's the most useful thing in the video.


I like the direction Microsoft is taking. In general, the desktop PC hasn't really changed. Granted there has been advancements in internal hardware and software. But the mouse and keyboard configuration is unchanged. To quote Matias Duarte of Google, "computers suck." Furthermore, Steve Jobs is already using the term, "Post PC," for a reason. Clearly the future of computing is heading to a more unified and simplified user experience across all types of form factors including the traditional desktop. I believe Windows 8 is just the beginning to this approach.

What has me a little puzzled is how webOS will work on a Windows 8 desktop or laptop. I can see webOS as a supplement on a current Windows 7 device. But Windows 8 seems like it's taking a shot at webOS rather then being supplemented by webOS.

Interesting isn't it? It looks like HP may have to start cranking up webOS capabilities in order to stay above the competition.

Competition is a consumers greatest advantage.

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