If you download and install Microsoft’s Windows Consumer Preview of their upcoming Windows 8 operating system and click on the Store button you will find a rapidly growing number of apps. One of them is a game called Pew Pew, which I submitted for the First App Contest. The description reads:
Attention Earthlings! This fun, retro space shooter game allows you to destroy enemy ships and UFOs from the safety and convenience of your home planet. Rack up points while protecting your planet from invasion.
Restless Developer Syndrome
Vacation! On 12/17/11 my wife and I hopped on an airplane in Seattle to visit her parents in Omaha. Those, who know me better, have accepted that I am one of those developers that always work – even on their vacations and honeymoon. I call it Rest Developer Syndrome while my wife thinks I am just a workaholic.
As in most cases, my wife is probably right, but still, in my opinion there is a difference between work and “work”. When I am on vacation I can finally catch up with all the new stuff that had come out in the past few months. That’s not work for me, that’s even more fun than my regular work! There was that //build conference that I missed in September 2011, when Microsoft revealed its new Windows 8 operating system with something completely new called Metro. Fortunately Microsoft made recordings of the keynotes and many talks publicly available. So I downloaded five or six of those videos and watched most of them during the long flight from Seattle to Omaha on my slow iPad.
Learning about Metro
Eight traits of Metro style apps
Still on the plane to Omaha I next picked Jensen Harris’s talk about 8 traits of great Metro style apps. Those eight traits are:
- Metro style design
- Fast and fluid
- Snap and scale beautifully
- Use the right Contracts
- Invest in a great Tile
- Feel connected and alive
- Roam to the cloud
- Embrace Metro principles
Jensen’s talk walks you through each of those traits and frankly, I was surprised. Something was really different with this guy and Metro itself also seemed different from what I had expected. I had to watch another talk about Metro.
Designing Metro style: principles and personality
The next talk I picked was Samuel Moreau’s talk about Designing Metro style: principles and personality and this one just blew me away. Sam, who is a director at UX Design and Research at Microsoft, explains the background and inspirations for Metro style design. He identifies three key influences:
- Modern design (Bauhaus)
- International Typographic Style (Swiss Design)
- Motion Design (Cinematography)
A New Microsoft?
Jensen Harris and Samuel Moreau really surprised me in many ways and it took me a while to put my finger on what it was. Their talks were interesting and I didn’t feel lectured to at all. Instead of past attitude, I sensed a human side that I found refreshing. Those guys seem to be normal people and their reasoning resonated with my way of thinking and cultural values. I wondered, is there maybe a new breed of developers and managers like Jensen and Sam emerging within Microsoft? Perhaps there is a New Microsoft forming within the Old Microsoft? One can only wait and see.
By the end of our flight to Omaha I have already decided to dive into Metro. But I also wanted to spend the holidays with my wife, who I love very much, and her wonderful family. So I came up with these ground rules for my new Holiday project: I should not work more than 3-4 hours a day on this, or any project that involved me being emerged with my laptop.