Speculating on the Longhorn experience

Longhorn logoI guess it is fairly widely know that we have only seen a few hints of the Longhorn user experience.  What do we know:

  • It will be built on a very powerful graphics engine
  • This engine will enable effects that have previously been unheard of outside of games,  and has been designed to take advantage of increases in GPU and CPU power for the next 10 years.  This is a platform that is primarily forward looking, but that degrades gracefully on older hardware and shipping operating systems (XP and 2003)
  • It will use this graphics power, combined with further improved indexing and search to greatly improve our ability to navigate and visualise large quantities of files and images. 
  • The shell will also provide improved facilities to view document thumbnails, and full scale renditions of documents using Metro
  • Sharing of information with peers will be easier
  • Working with collections of things will be easier, files, RSS feeds, web browser tabs, collections of URLs etc
  • File location will be increasingly irrelevant as properties and associations become first class objects for access and grouping
  • Predictability, reliability, flexibility, integration, context, ease of use and easy collaboration will be the order of the day

That said its interesting to see this write up on from betaplace

Microsoft is concentrating social-computing experts from Microsoft Research onto the Windows user interface team, Microsoft Watch has reported. This happening has led some Longhorn insiders to speculate that the “Aero” user interface will assimilate interactive elements including blogs, RSS feeds and wikis.

They go on to say:

As part of the reorganization, Cheng is shifting approximately 10 of her coworkers to the Windows team where she will serve as the “director of Windows user experience and research.”

Cheng is credited as being the driving force behind Wallop, a social-networking Web site that puts each of the aforementioned technologies into practice to explore how users “share media and build conversations in the context of social network.”

Other projects developed by Microsoft Research focus on how to utilize metadata to clusters information and include the “Stacks” project for sorting digital images. MS Connect, meanwhile, displays graphical representations of the relationships between groups and individuals.

I am not sure myself that wikki’s and blogs will play much of a role in Longhorn client, however RSS is another matter.  I can imagine many part of Longhorn becoming RSS servers, from the event log, to the file system.  I can also image RSS support existing throughout the user experience being for example natively supported in the shell, and in IE.  For example you could imagine:

  • being able to take a directory and publish it as an RSS feed to your peers
  • being able to set a folder as being a repository for RSS feeds, including enclosures, where the RSS meta-data would become the enclosures properties
  • the add-remove programmes list being an RSS feed, monitor what your kids are up to 🙂
  • your favorites being an RSS feed
  • etc

it’s also interesting how quiet Microsoft have gone quiet about Monad,  imagine Monad extended to support RSS.  Being able to iterate over the items in a feed and sort, filter and otherwise manipulate them in the same way it can other .NET collections. 

I know lots of this stuff can be done today,  but when I come back to this list “predictability, reliability, flexibility, integration, context, ease of use and easy collaboration” how many current systems pass this test.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

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