Using HTML5/JavaScript for non metro style applications

    General discussion

  • From everything I've seen it looks as though using HTML5/JavaScript for apps on Windows 8 will only be an option for metro style applications.  Is this correct?

    Here is the scenario I am interested in seeing supported...

    I have a rich single page HTML5/JavaScript application that can adjust its entire layout and capabilities based on the device/browser it is being run on.  I've been able to package this as a metro application without much trouble and with WinRT I see lots of potential for features that just wouldn't be possible otherwise.  A Metro style app will work great on a device but many of our users are "power users" and will need to work in a more traditional desktop mode for things like editing scripts, etc.

    So in the end I guess what I want is to be able to package up my app and run it either from metro or on the taskbar like traditional windows apps.

    Any info, thoughts or opinions on this would be appreciated.



    Thursday, December 29, 2011 7:13 PM

All replies

  • You are correct: the HTML5/JavaScript option for native client apps is only for Metro style apps. Options for implementing desktop apps remain as they are with Windows 7--with HTML5 and JavaScript, it means a browser-based app.

    Metro style (and desktop) apps appear on the Windows 8 Start Page; on the taskbar itself, only desktop apps appear since that's all within the desktop environment. Pinning web apps is the only way to get something written in HTML5/JS on the taskbar.

    On place you might think about it what the app's snap view looks like, because an app can be snapped with the desktop in the fill area. This provides a degree of simultaneous view between desktop apps and a single Metro style app, but of course the Metro style app only has limited screen space in that case.



    Thursday, December 29, 2011 9:26 PM
  • Do you know if there is a technical reason that this is not an option or is it just part of the MS strategy to encourage the move to metro style (or discourage new desktop apps)?  I think there are a bunch of web apps out there that could be turned into even more powerful windows apps given the ability to run on the desktop AND metro.  

    Are there any hints or rumors of the scenario I am interested in being supported eventually?


    Friday, December 30, 2011 9:38 PM
  • For desktop apps, plenty of third party frameworks that support a variety of languages, hence little incentive or value in adding another language option directly in the system for that environment. Also, the HTML option in Windows 8 is also oriented around the WinRT API (for technical reasons of how the API is structured), which doesn't represent desktop metaphors, only Metro style. Metro style metaphors (like Search and Share contracts, the App bar, etc.), similarly, aren't represented in the desktop or browser models.

    Metro style apps thus have unique design requirements; we don't recommend trying to design a single one app that works across Metro style, desktop, and browser environments. You really need to pick a target and design for that (and, in fact, the Store policies specifically make note that an app must be more than a repackaged website). For HTML/JS on the desktop, this means running in a browser.

    Also, I can't speak for future plans, rumors, or overall strategies. That kind of thing only comes through official announcements.

    Saturday, December 31, 2011 2:37 AM