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Isn't Metro just another browser plug-in masquerading as a user interface?

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  • So I sat.  And I thought.  And I thought some more.  And when I was all thunked out, I realized:

    Metro is effectively just another browser plug-in.  It just happens to only work on one browser, that only comes with one OS.  Think about it.  You design in HTML but use some other code for the application logic.  It only works in a browser that supports that code base.  If another browser tries to view the same HTML, it can't because it doesn't have anything loaded that can run the code.  What does that sound like to you?

    I see only two substantial differences between Metro and a traditional plug-in: 

    • First, Metro is embedded in the "browser" No biggie.  I think Chrome supports native Flash, and they have plans to support Dart natively as well, so even that's not a new concept.
    • To produce content for the plug-in, you need the permission of the vendor of the plug-in, and if you sell that content you have to share your pennies and nickles with the vendor.

    Metro supports a different set of functions than Flash/Silverlight/whatever support, but every plug-in supports a different set of functionality than all other plug-ins.  Otherwise, why bother writing plug-ins?

    Ergo, Metro-style UI is basically just a browser plug-in that only runs on Windows 8.

    So now that I've cleared that up for myself, my next big thinking project will be to figure out exactly what Metro brings to the table that makes it a compelling choice for development.  If I'm going to give up cross-platform development and cough up a third of my gross receipts, it better be WORTH it to me.  Where's the story?  I'm only hearing "security" and "the app store gives you exposure."  I'm just not convinced.

    Somebody please help me understand!  Where's my compelling business case?  Where's the market?  How is Metro UI development going to make me, the guy who decides whether or not to buy half a million bucks worth of msdn licenses, rich?  (Or rather make the owners of my company rich- who am I kidding?)

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011 2:46 PM

All replies

  • Isn't Metro just another browser plug-in masquerading as a user interface?

    Since Metro doesn't run in a browser - no, it's not a browser plugin.

     

    For more info on Metro and how to use it:

    Windows 8 Preview:
    http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-8/preview

    Building Windows 8 Blog:
    http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/

    Windows 8 Videos:
    http://www.buildwindows.com/

     

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011 6:06 PM
  • This sort of reminds me of the "all programming languages are Turing-complete therefore they are all the same" argument - a browser plugin (at least implemented with something like ActiveX or Pepper that allow native access) can basically do anything, therefore anything can be implemented as a browser plugin, therefore you can think of any application framework/environment as equivalent to a browser plugin if you really want to think about it that way, although whether it makes sense from a support or user experience pov is another matter. 

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011 6:57 PM