Why WinRT/WP would ban loopback IPC between different app containers while Android and iOS allow it? RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • This restriction is really inconvenient and very painful, not only for us developers, but also for WinRT/WP users. To understand my point, you must first have a good knowledge of some my backgrounds:

    Backgroud 1: I live in a big country where Wiki, Google, fb, twitter, BBC, NY times and a lot of other websites are blocked or filtered by a huge firewall! To "climb the wall" to access the outside world, we need proxy tools such as go*agent etc. Although go*agent works fine on Win32 and also has linux, Android and iOS version, but it has no WinRT/WP version!(What a surprise, huh)

    Backgroud 2: I and a lot people in this country I believe are considering transfer our entertainment and work environment to mobile devices such as surface RT running on WinRT. WinRT is really a wonderful os, it has modern ui, less power consuming, free office, and the APIs are much more elegant for developers compare to Win32, Android, iOS...but as it turns out, the migration is very painful for a lot of people in our network environment, because all proxy tools just don't have WinRT version. I have asked the go*agent project people to come up with a WinRT version, but with no result. So in order to less the pain and to continue to browse internet on WinRT/WP, I have to develop my own WinRT version of go*agent using c#.

    Background 3: I have almost finished the app on GAE(google app engine, it has quite generous free quota), now all I need to do is to develop a proxy server which run as background app on WinRT. Thanks to the nice networking APIs of WinRT, I can write a socket proxy server without much effort. By design, the proxy server will listen on a localhost port, and IE’s proxy will be set to this same address and port. So, when the proxy server accept request message from IE, it will relay the request to my GAE app, then my GAE app will relay the request to remote website.

    Under these backgrounds, you must have already known what a painful restriction it is for me. Thanks to this restriction, there would never be a proxy server on WinRT/WP! If there is no proxy server, then 1.5 billion people in a country cannot browse the Internet freely! If one cannot browse the Internet, why he would migrate to WinRT?!

    Until now, WinRT/WP only takes a small market share compare to Android and iOS.  productivity
    is one of the most important reasons for many people to choose WinRT/WP beyond Android an iOS! But so many restrictions will not only depress developers who come from win32, but also will damage the productivity of WinRT/WP as a user-friendly os. Maybe it's just a pity for the developers and users, because they have Android and iOS as their second choice (and a lot of them have already made their choice, you'll know this by just looking at the slow speed of WP/WinRT to catch up with Android and iOS.), but it would be another big mistake for Microsoft,  believe me. The killing of WPF and Silverlight already let lots of developers down and quit windows development forever, while in the mean time, WinRT/WP set so manys restrictions for the development, which is really not good move for Microsoft. 

    I really love WinRT/WP, and I hope it's not just a toy, and  can be used to do really jobs. If we just need a toy, why we not just pick iOS or Android?! They have pad too. In a word, we really hope these restrictions can be loosened or removed, as lots people have already mentioned, the existence of localhost address is not just for debug purpose!

    Friday, October 4, 2013 3:40 AM

All replies

  • Thank you for your feedback.
    Friday, October 4, 2013 4:16 PM
  • Hi, Rob, nice to see you and thanks for the reply. Forgive my bluntness, but I honestly think you people really need do something to change the situation and make sure WinRT/WP can pick up the speed  when catching up witch Android and iOS. This country(where WP has only managed to take 2.4% market share for now) has 0.2 billion active Internet users, and nearly 50% of them have the need to "climb the wall" every day. Android and iOS all have their version of proxy server while WinRT/WP which is known for productivity doesn’t, and it's maybe one of the most important reasons for people not to choose WinRT/WP. That’s really a shame!

    High productivity for both consumers and developers has always been one of the most distinguishing features of Microsoft products so far, and WinRT/WP should not be exceptions. WinRT/WP is a total new os compare to Win32, and we like it from the very beginning. It has modern, fluent ui, less power consuming compare to Win32(even Android), and for developers, it has an elegant ui framework and many nice APIs. In a word, it already has the solid basis to become one of the greatest os since the launch of Windows xp. But one of the biggest problems prevent people to migrate to WinRT/WP is the lack of many important daily-used apps, While the lack of many of these apps is just because WinRT/WP has introduced too many excessive restrictions (Even Android and iOs have no such restrictions).

    With regard to security and restriction issues, my suggestion is to give the freedom of choose to app users, give them more setting options. For example, the system can add one more option to disable (default)/enable   loopback traffic in an app’s security settings. In such a way, developers can add much more functions to WinRT/WP while in the mean time  not increase security risks.

    Btw: Many developers are desperately looking forward to see some XAML features  which WPF/SL has while missing in WinRT/WP to return. Just do some search on stackoverflow, you will realize how important it is for them to come back. To be more specific, in my humble opinion, two of the most urgent XAML features in the wishlist are “x:Static” keyword and MultiBinding.

    Forgive my awkward English, but I hope I have made my point clear: less restrictions/prohibitions, more security setting options, more freedom to choose, more functional apps, more users/developers...

    We love Windows and Microsoft, and we really like to see WinRT/WP  catch up with Android and iOS quickly. Such a wonderful os really deserves a good place in this planet.

    Saturday, October 5, 2013 2:55 AM