New Content Submission for TechEd NZ: Live Tiles, The Good, The Great and The Ugly

by Matthew Hintzen on 31. May 2012 16:23

I’m really hoping to be able to present this year at TechEd (I’m a natural ham and love being on stage).  I’m really interested in Live Tiles, but I have a fear that as so often happens some people won’t truly understand what a Live Tile should and should not do, and will dilute or even ruin the Live Tile experience. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on the theory behind the LT concept, and I’m not sure that Microsoft is doing the education it really should on this subject.

I mean how many times have we seen a cool UI idea, that gets left by the way side because it gets abused.  I think we all need to do what we can to make sure that LT UX remains relevant for end users for years to come.

So anyways, I just put this Content Submission in for a session at TechEd 2012 in New Zealand.  What do you think, is this something you would like to see?  And if it was to be picked up, what sort of questions do you have on this subject, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

TechEd New Zealand 2012 Call for Content Submission Confirmation

Submitter Information

Matthew Hintzen

Topic Information

Track: Windows 8: Metro Style Applications

Session Type: Open Session

Session Title:

Live Tiles, The Good, The Great and The Ugly

Live Tiles are all the new rage and talk of the world in WP7 and with Windows 8 release just around the corner they are going to become even more important to your software. Your users are going to come to expect your live tile to actually be alive and meaningful.

To do a Live Tile correctly however takes planning and an understanding of the Metro Experience Live Tile update architecture and life cycle. I'm hoping to help you to make sure your Live Tile is Great and plays well with Metro.

In this session you will discover what makes for a good Live Tile, a bad Live Tile, and a "just don't do that". We'll walk thru:

  • Determining what should be on a Live Tile (and what shouldn't).
  • How to make the tile engaging and informative without being distracting.
  • Creating a Web Service that feeds the Live Tile in the way that best works with the Metro UI life cycle.


Audience Participation will be greatly appreciated! Many of the Live Tile examples that are currently out there that show you "how" to do Live Tiles are not Best Practice! We look thru some not so good examples and really understand WHY they are should be avoided. For Live Tiles to be useful to the End Users we must use our great power with great responsibility


Absolute Speculation - Windows 8 Roadmap?

by Matthew Hintzen on 17. August 2011 14:43

Ok, just to be clear, I have NO inside information, I’m pulling this out of my … well let’s use the phrase “deep recess of my mind” and leave it at that.

Ever since the early demo of Windows 8 (with the new Metro Themed UX) there has been lots of speculation where Windows is heading with this next build. I’ve had some suspicion for a while, and while I’m probably wrong, all of the pieces that I see being showed lead me to one wild speculation, that if I’m correct would be REALLY cool!

Let me give you some of the links I use to come to my speculation


There are actually a lot more links and reading and thinking I’ve been doing, but the main driving observations are:

  • Scott Guthrie (His Gu-ness) being moved to oversee Azure platform
  • Windows Phone 7 native programming systems being either Silverlight or XNA
  • Windows Surface latest release
  • Windows 8 multi-touch Metro centric approach
  • HTML5 Spec
    • HTML5 Spec will have built in support for Multi-touch
  • WPF, while being a “superset” of Silverlight, it’s Silverlight that is getting all the love
  • WPF in some ways and Silverlight in MOST ways actually feels kinda like a type of HTML Spec
  • Hanselman’s post on JavaScript is Assembly Language for the Web- Sematic Markup is Dead! Clean vs. Machine-coded HTM
  • Windows 7 and its “built-in” XP VM (where you couldn’t tell when you left Win 7 and went into XP VM)


So what assumptions am I making?

  • It would be fairly easy for Microsoft to make a “compiler” that could convert a Silverlight App over to HTML5 ( HTML5 == HTML5 tags + CSS3 + Javascript) and / or vice Versa
  • Windows 8 Native programming system will be the same as Windows Phone 7 – Silverlight and/or XNA
  • Windows 8’s screen rendering system will actually be IE 10 (this time Internet Explorer REALLY will be the OS)
  • All legacy apps (unless written in HTML5 or Silverlight or XNA) will be run in a virtual machine running inside of Windows 8


So here is my roadmap

  • Windows 8 will natively run HTML5 / Silverlight
    • I don’t know if this means that it will compile HTML5 into Silverlight, or if it will compile Silverlight into HTML5
  • All Windows 7 apps and earlier will run in VM, hosted within Windows 8
  • Surface will no longer be a separate OS in the strictest sense, Windows 8 will actually be Surface 3.0 Core
  • .Net developers applications will run as follows
    • If built on Win Forms program will run within the Embedded VM
    • If built on Silverlight or XNA will run natively on Windows 8
    • Azure development will be where .Net programmers will move (cloud computing)
    • Build Silverlight or ASP.NET app for UX, and Azure for Business layer / Data layer
      • (can always build and push out as .Net app, but then runs in VM on Win 8)
    • If Silverlight UX deployed to Windows Azure (or next Windows server, more on that in a moment), if caller is NOT IE10 / Windows 8, Azure / Windows Server will on the fly compile and serve Silverlight app as HTML5.
  • Windows 8 Server, will actually be Windows Azure, just running locally


Your thoughts Gentle Readers?

(tweet me at @matthewhintzen with your responses)