Codename “Windows 8” User Interface Video

By now you have seen Jensen Harris introduce to the world the first look at the new user interface for the upcoming version of Windows codenamed “Windows 8.” This new interface expands on the concept of Live Tiles Windows Phone 7’s Metro UI which provides the user with a view, or window if you will, of application data that is most relevant to the user of the device.  This is an overdue revolution overthrowing the 30+ year old concept of the desktop icon which essentially provided users with a pretty picture and not a whole lot else.

I should caveat that I am merely reading tea leaves and connecting dots here.  In no way do I have advanced product knowledge nor is this any announcement of product features.  If I had such knowledge then I would not be writing about it in public.  I am a consultant working with customers to build solutions with currently available technologies who is simply sharing in the excitement of this first video.

I thought about the video on my drive into work this morning and began to speculate what will be possible with this new design.  I kept coming back to the fact that this new UI is built on HTML5 and JavaScript and thinking about the integration possibilities this represents.  Imagine an HTML5/JS version of the SharePoint UI layer that specifically supported Live Tiles.  Since the release of IE9 people have experimented with HTML5 and Master Pages but a set of custom master pages for SharePoint 2010 tailored for “Windows 8” could give a user that same peek into a document library, custom list, web part, or alerts.  Tap on the SharePoint tile pinned to this Start Menu and be taken to that custom list view.

Consider how the HTML5 version of the Bing search engine would play into the new start menu.  You have to imagine that any similar versions of Hotmail and Maps would provide richer integration to the OS (unknown, but merely a “what if”).

Video playback was featured prominently in the video so you have to imagine that a Live Tile from an online streaming service might let you know the most recent movie or show you are in mid stream and perhaps include a small screen grab. Adoption of the Live Tiles concept with Windows Media Center could prove very interesting and hopefully further integrate Zune services there as they have on the Xbox.  Will “Windows 8” adopt the concept of hubs found on Windows Phone 7 by using the Libraries feature?

It will be interesting to see how enterprise management features will come into play.  Group Policy, running HTML5/JS applications in disconnected scenarios, launching applications developed for Windows Phone 7, deployment of packages, and inventory of software assets are all important to organizations.  Features discussed at MMS 2011 and included in the SCCM 2012 Beta 2 around flexible application delivery and on-demand applications certainly make perfect sense for “Windows 8.”

Dare I say this will be the best of both worlds?  Will “Windows 8” be the operating system for both work and play that requires even fewer resources and brings the present and future of the web to everyone?

HTML5 and JavaScript have been creeping on up in preference on my training plan for other reasons but with the release of this video they just got bumped to high priority.

We are still a ways off and this is merely a peek into a moment of the development cycle.  Expect changes between now and the final product.  I look forward to answers to these questions and more at Build Windows in September.