Windows 8 beta release soon? Ribbon UI leaks.

Steve Ballmer (Der Tommy @ Picasaweb)
By Richi Jennings. April 4, 2011.

Update 2: A pre-release Windows 8 build leaked late last week, which shows Microsoft moving steadily towards the beta milestone. The build unveils Microsoft's ideas of using the Office Ribbon UI in Windows. In IT Blogwatch, bloggers also talk of an "immersive" Windows 8 for tablets.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. Not to mention ETH Aerial robotics: Quadrocopter Ball Juggling...


David Daw did describe details:

A major departure ... is already evident. ... The most noticeable change to Windows is the new Ribbon interface on every Explorer window.


This is a very early build, so many features ... haven't yet made their way in. Still ... we can say with some certainty that Windows 8 will bring some dramatic changes to the OS.

Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott search for secrets:

When Microsoft introduced the Ribbon user interface ... in Microsoft Office 2007, many were shocked. ... [It was] innovative, and useful, and ... made previously hidden functionality far more discoverable. It was so successful ... that Microsoft began adding it to other products.


As with Office 2010, there are various dynamic Ribbon tabs that can appear ... including Library Tools ... Picture Tools ... and Disk Tools. ... In the current pre-release builds ... the Ribbon is a serious work in progress and is quite unattractive. ... If you don’t like the Ribbon in Windows Explorer, hopefully you’ll be able to turn it off.

Todd Bishop is wired, not tired:

[It] follows reports that Windows 8 would come with an alternative interface for touch-based tablet computers that uses tiles. ... Those types of option will be critical ... to compete against the iPad and Android tablets.


Microsoft isn’t talking about Windows 8 features yet, and a lot could change. ... The clear message is that the company wants to make its biggest products feel more like members of the same family by incorporating signature characteristics from each into its flagship.

Long Zheng stated speculating:

It’s apparent now Microsoft is committed to ... the Ribbon user experience (otherwise known as Windows Scenic). ... Two user interface elements are worth pointing out that hint at ... file syncing and sharing features baked right in.


I can only speculate “Sync” would offer functionality similarly to Windows Live Mesh to synchronize folders. ... “Web sharing” might enable SkyDrive-like functionality to make their files and folders accessible ... for easy sharing with friends and family. ... Both of these features are consistent with the overarching “Windows + Cloud” strategy.

But Larry Dignan's seen it all before:

Of course, these Windows 8 builds are early. In fact, you shouldn’t take them all that seriously. Who knows what will wind up in the real Windows 8. Microsoft isn’t talking anyway.


Given that these features come from units that largely run independent of each other you have to wonder how this user interface will come together. ... Former employees say Microsoft is too insular and can’t innovate. ... CEO Steve Ballmer has to go. And while we’re at it let’s break up Microsoft to be more nimble.


That same storyline runs almost every quarter.

Meanwhile, Chuong Nguyen talks tablets:

In the past, the company has stated that Windows will be the tablet OS of choice. ... Rather than scaling up its mobile Windows Phone 7 operating system ... Microsoft will be utilizing a full-fledged desktop OS for tablets.


The move towards ribbons may help ... ribbons provide a more intuitive classifications of actions ... and the larger buttons are more conducive to touch than smaller ... options on drop-down menus.

And Mary Jo Foley explains the I-word:

Microsoft will be offering two different interfaces with Windows 8 ... [including] a tiled interface (similar to the tiled Metro/Windows Phone UI) ... [called] MoSH (Modern Shell) ... for Windows 8 tablets and slates. ... “Immersive” is the way that Microsoft is describing the ... experience on tablets and slates running the MoSH. ... Inside the company, some Softies use “immersive” and “modern” ... as synonyms.


An immersive app is one where the [Windows] navigational elements ... take a back seat to the application itself. ... These kinds of apps will run in the Windows 8 “LowBox” ... the new Windows 8 security sandbox. ... Jupiter — a new UI library for Windows 8 — ... will enable “immersive” applications to be deployed as AppX packages (.appx) ... delivered via the Windows 8 App Store.


And Finally...

ETH Aerial robotics: Quadrocopter Ball Juggling

[more like this; hat tip: Jason Scott]

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Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, you can follow him as @richi on Twitter, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email:

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Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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