Share Charm Allows Seamless Content Sharing with IE10 on Windows 8

Sharing a link to a Web page gets better with IE10 on Windows 8 throguh a new feature called "Share charm," which allows you to seamlessly send content between apps on your PC. "Previously, if you wanted to share an interesting article with your friend, or post a funny picture on your blog, you'd copy […]

Sharing a link to a Web page gets better with IE10 on Windows 8 throguh a new feature called "Share charm," which allows you to seamlessly send content between apps on your PC.

"Previously, if you wanted to share an interesting article with your friend, or post a funny picture on your blog, you'd copy the link from the address bar, switch to a different site or app, and then paste it. Now, with the Windows 8 Share charm, you can share directly from the browser without ever leaving your current page," posted Alex Feldman, Program Manager, Internet Explorer.

Feldman notes, "When you use the Share charm to share a site from the browser, IE10 creates two data formats that contain relevant content - the URI, and some HTML that includes a rich representation of the page." As an example, the following URI of YouTube video was shared using the new feature: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4DbgiOCTQts -- and here is IE10's rich preview of Web pages:

IE10 rich preview of Web pages

"Both of these data formats are created for an "implicit" share, which is the name for what happens when you share the site that you are currently viewing. Since Web pages can be represented as hyperlinks or a rich HTML link preview, IE10 includes both types of data. Of course, if you aren't sharing the whole page, but rather, some content that you've highlighted, IE10 will share the HTML of your selection instead of the URI and the link preview. In this case, sharing a selection would be called an "explicit" share, and does not include the link," Feldmans explains.

To help you save a link to a web page for later viewing, Microsoft offers the "Stash app," a sample link saving app that makes use of the Windows share charm with HTML. "The sample app simply supports the HTML data format for sharing, and IE provides the link preview. Link previews are HTML that contains a title, image, and description for every shared link. This makes it easy for you to recognize the site content," Feldman explained.

To run the Stash app, you will need to install both the Windows 8 Consumer preview along with the Visual Studio 11 beta.

In order for their sites to run in IE10, website developers can program their sites in order to show what kind of information is shared with a website link. Microsoft says that kind of information can be determined with some "extra meta-data markup." "We support the Open Graph protocol as a simple way to add meta-data about the page. When users share sites on Facebook and through Windows 8 and IE10, you can use OpenGraph to control the way your Web page appears to others," Feldman said.

Here's an example of an IE test drive demo that uses this markup:

<head><meta name="description" content="Brick Breaker TestDrive Demo Game, Performance and Touch benchmark"><title>Brick Breaker</title><meta property="og:image" content="Views/Homepage/Icons/BrickBreaker.png"></head>

Stash app Link Previews in IE10 on Windows 8

If you are developing a Windows 8 Metro app, you might want to consider adding support for HTML as a shared data format if that Windows 8 app supports the Share target app contract. Microsoft says:

"Apps that use HTML can benefit from the link previews shared by IE10 because IE10 does all of the heavy lifting. It parses the site and puts together a short and informative link preview, and all your app needs to do is display and host the HTML. The hyperlink is embedded within the preview, so it functions just like a Uri, but looks much better. This way, apps that don't have the resources to parse the Web to condense pages into small, rich previews, can still display contextual links as HTML," Feldman concludes.

Here's a video of how a user might share links from the browser to an app that uses HTML: