locked
Desktop App, Live Tile Notifications

    Question

  • Hi,

      I realise that related questions have been asked elsewhere. But we have a legacy (desktop-style) app  (driven by a service) but we want to look good on the Windows 8 Start Screen with a nicely-designed tile, preferably with live updates (notifications). The obvious way to do this would be to build a separate Metro app and update its info via maybe a periodic COM call. A lot of stuff on MSDN says communication between the two is impossible - does this mean that Metro apps don't support calling via COM into a legacy DLL? If not, is there any way that a live tile notification could be retrofitted onto an old-school executable/service?

      It seems foolish that developers not wishing to port their whole codebase into Metro (and therefore being forced to maintain two forks if they want to continue to support Win7/Vista/etc) will be limited to a scruffy old default tile, which would make the whole new swishy Win8 Start Screen look dowdy. That just doesn't sound like a smart move on MS's part, which is a shame because the Win8 development idiom looks pretty cool!

    Thursday, November 17, 2011 11:00 AM

Answers

  • I don't believe this is possible nor scheduled for this release of Windows. Even if you were to build a seperate Metro application and somehow communicate between the two, you'd still have no way of automatically getting this into the Start screen (since Metro apps have to come from the app store and can't be bundled with something else) nor any obvious way of launching your desktop application when the user clicked the Metro tile (even assuming the user had installed the desktop version, again something you can't guarantee).

    I suspect this might be something that could possibly surface in future releases of Windows, assuming the WinRT model is further extended into the desktop space, but that's pure speculation at this point.

    • Marked as answer by steve_jonesuk Friday, November 18, 2011 11:50 AM
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 4:59 PM

All replies

  • I don't believe this is possible nor scheduled for this release of Windows. Even if you were to build a seperate Metro application and somehow communicate between the two, you'd still have no way of automatically getting this into the Start screen (since Metro apps have to come from the app store and can't be bundled with something else) nor any obvious way of launching your desktop application when the user clicked the Metro tile (even assuming the user had installed the desktop version, again something you can't guarantee).

    I suspect this might be something that could possibly surface in future releases of Windows, assuming the WinRT model is further extended into the desktop space, but that's pure speculation at this point.

    • Marked as answer by steve_jonesuk Friday, November 18, 2011 11:50 AM
    Thursday, November 17, 2011 4:59 PM
  • Hi, thanks for the reply. I've seen contradictory reports on MSDN about whether Metro apps can be distributed outside of the app store. I can't find the link now (darn!) but I'm sure I saw one post from one of your fellow experts which asserted that the app store was the only way, but then later the same expert corrected themselves and said other distribution was available.

    I thought VS11 had the capability to make a standalone installer, so I don't see what's to stop our distributing these using old-fashioned channels. We have dependencies on other applications in our current version, so this wouldn't be any more risky than what we're doing at the moment.

    I take it from your last sentence that you appreciate my sentiment that new-school development / sandboxing / distribution should (ideally) not be the exclusive path to Start screen whizziness.

    Do you (or anyone else!) have any comment on my suggestion that COM might be possible between the two? Metro apps are capable of some sort of COM, aren't they?

    Thanks,

      - Steve.

    Friday, November 18, 2011 12:01 PM