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Microsoft Details IE10’s Pinned Sites on the Windows 8 Start Screen

The Windows 8 Start screen is the best place to find and stay connected to all your favorite apps and content. App tiles are alive with activity and show you fresh and tailored content so you know what’s new in your world.

In a April 4, blog post, the IE team describes in detail Internet Explorer 10’s pinned sites and their availability on the Windows 8 Start screen–complete with site-centric visuals and badge notifications to let you know there is new content.

The team also walk through the Web developer details to support pinned sites.

“Pinned sites on Windows 8 make it fast and easy to immediately get to your sites. With badge notifications, site tiles come alive with up-to-date information and help you know when new content is available,” the team posted.

“Developers can utilize pinned sites to better connect their site with their users and promote their site’s brand directly in the Windows start screen.” Adding, the team notes, “We found that sites that used this feature with IE9 on Windows 7 see anywhere from a 15% to 50% increase in site visits.” In Windows 8 the experience for consumers is even better with site tile updates, even when you don’t have the site open in the browser.

As a Web developer, “you can provide a site icon (favicon) that IE10 uses throughout the browser to represent the site, in the address bar, on the new tab page, and on the Start screen. IE10 uses the large site icon (32 x 32 pixels) to identify the site when pinned to the Start screen the same way that IE9 used it for pinning to the task bar,” the team said.

Windows 8 can poll for updates for pinned tiles on the Start screen. This works well for lightweight notifications such as new messages from other users (email & social networking), new discounts on a shopping site, new articles on a newsfeed etc.

The team note, that with IE10 and Windows 8, you can offer badge notifications directly on your pinned site tiles. “This means users get updates to their sites without the site being open in the browser. As an example, pin the Fresh Tweets demo using IE10 on Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The pinned site tile updates on a regular basis and notifies the user when there are new tweets available,” explains the IE team.

The following two screen shots illustrate pinned site tiles and badge notifications:

Internet Explorer 10 and Windows 8: Pinned Sites and Badge notification

The following video shows pinned sites in action on Windows 8 Consumer Preview:

Bonus: Watch the additional Windows 8 vides:

Supporting sensors in Windows 8

Touch hardware and Windows 8

While on Windows 8, Microsoft is doing its best to convince developers to bring their languages to Windows 8 and the new Windows 8 Runtime. To this end, Martyn Lovell, Development Manager for the WinRT team, made the pitch for more language support for Windows 8 on April 3, during his Lang.Next conference session at Microsoft.

“Will WinRT be at home in each language?” Lovell rhetorically asked the Lang.Next attendees. “Yes, but never perfectly.”

He said that almost all of the WinRT design principles he first presented to senior Windows leadership almost two years ago are still in place. A key idea in designing the new runtime was to make native, managed and dynamic languages all first class citizens in WinRT, with JavaScript, C#/VB and C++ as the initial targets. ”
Windows Runtime is the whole of Windows,” said Lovell. “It’s how applications and languages interact” with the Windows core.

When designing WinRT, the team started with a few pieces of COM, he said. In the end, they didn’t keep much of it, however, he conceded. They kept things like marshalling and proxy systems, but COM was horrible at Intellisense, support for which is key to WinRT and Windows 8, he said.

Here’s the core chunk of Lovell’s architectural diagram:

Lovells WinRT/Windows 8 Diagram

And, the latest Windows 8/WinRT architectural diagram:

Windows 8/WinRT Architectural Diagram

Here’s what the Windows 8 MSDN developer forum breakout looked like as of March 2012:

Windows 8 MSDN Developer

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