The end of the app bar?

App bar in MSN Health
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It is increasingly looking like the folks at Microsoft have torn up the UX metaphor cookbook that was in place in Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. Windows 10 already appears to have moved away from landscape scrolling to the traditional portrait. We also know that the charms bar is already dead in the latest builds requiring search and share prompts to be brought into an app’s UI. The other potentially polarising change to acknowledge, discuss, and start getting ready for is the apparent end of the app bar as we know it.

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Getting ready for Windows 10 with responsive design

Windows 10 desktop
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Possibly the biggest change for modern Windows developers that comes with the Windows 10 system is that we no longer need to support just a few aspect ratios and scales, we have to support almost any possible aspect ratio at any scale. This is thanks to the ability to have Windows Store apps run in their very own windows in the desktop, which makes absolute sense for keyboard and mouse users.

We could argue that the snap view possibilities in Windows 8.1 already started this layout, but the difference with snap is we had a relatively guaranteed minimum size on the vertical plane, and could focus on layouts which showed more or less on the horizontal plane. This approach was closer to adaptive design, and had the benefit of always having a large vertical plane available (minimum of 768 pixels).

Now that users are able to resize and change the window across both axis, we have to start considering how we as developers should support this concept. This of course isn’t a new problem, just look at how web design has changed over the last few years, and even before then we have traditional Windows Forms apps which worked in the same way. That said it is at least partially new for XAML in Windows Store apps.

In this piece I will explore how we can take inspiration from Responsive web design and apply those lessons to current Windows Store apps so that they are ready for use on the desktop in Windows 10.

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