Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Windows8 - My Opinion

I would like to present my opinion about Windows into two parts...
  • The back-end - Very Good
  • The front-end - Bad

The Back-End

I feel that in Windows 8, Microsoft has tremendously improved its back-end. I have been very impressed by the improvement in the Reliability, Multi-Tasking and Security.

These departments were traditionally been the weakness of earlier Windows versions. It is not surprising, because earlier Microsoft had not really given much credit to the Internet. It had not expected internet to become so popular.

I think Microsoft is fast covering lost ground in its back-end.
  • I like the way Windows now offers user-level security features, these where there in Windows XP but are much better now. 
  • I like the way it allows me to segregate Home, Office and Public networks.
  • I like the way it did not crash even once, even when some of my under-development applications really goofed up during testing.
But, the front-end is an entirely different story.

The Front-End

This section of Windows has disappointed me. In fact even though Windows presents itself as a GUI based operating system, it has seriously failed to keep up with the user expectations. I strongly feel that there is something not right with the its interface designers and planners. I think they forgot that Windows is an Operating System and not an application that users use to get their work done.

First they came up with some goofed up idea about some "jazzy" graphics with starting with its Windows Vista. Then they went overboard with its transparency based interface in Windows 7.
In Windows 8 they managed to tone overcome these mistakes, but then they end up blundering with some new Metro style start screen. It does not even let me easily layout my favorite app-icons and move them around.

This may have worked on small hand-held touch screen, but imagine how a user must feel when he/she is stuck with a single application on his 22inch or 30inch screen. I got a large screen so that I could open multiple applications and spread the relevant views across the screen so that I am able to enjoy the best of all together.

I have noted that while working, my development environment ie the VS-IDE occupies about 60-70% of my screen space. A small portion shows the latest stock market with rate tickers for the stocks in my portfolio, then there is a news-ticker, a weather app, some puzzle - a crossword or a sudoku.

I mean it is just not comprehensible why Microsoft felt that its users would be happy to run a single applications on the entire screen. Well... there are scenarios when I like the full screen approach, specially when I am watching a movie or playing some action game, but then these occasions are rare.

Frankly speaking, I mean if people can conceive and produce interfaces like Apple's Mac OS, IPhone's OS and Google's Android OS, why can't Microsoft build a better more customizable interface. I am sure the think-tanks at Microsoft will find a solution to overcome this.