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Windows Operating Systems Software Technology

Windows 8 Introduces a New Cross-App Data-Sharing System 213

Posted by timothy
from the at-least-it-won't-get-exploited-by-malware dept.
There's been a lot of attention to the way Windows 8 looks; reader aabelro writes with an interesting look at one way it behaves. The article begins thus: "Microsoft has created a new mechanism for sharing information between applications in Windows 8 called Windows Share. Apps can share text, bitmaps, HTML, URI, files, and other type of data, and the usage scenarios are numerous. For example, the app receiving the information can post it to Tweeter or Facebook[, making] it easy to post information to a social network without actually visiting it." Here's a short (video) explanation at MSDN, too.
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Windows 8 Introduces a New Cross-App Data-Sharing System

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  • are obsolete now?
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      Well, MIME is Multi-part Internet Mail Extensions ... It certainly was never the be-all and end-all of how to work with file formats, just how to send email messages with binary stuff attached.

      It's now at least 17 years old. Maybe not obsolete, but there is room for improvement.

  • by hey (83763) on Friday September 23, 2011 @11:00PM (#37499122) Journal

    I guess I won't watch it.
    (Or you can download 312M)

    • The MP4 will stream. And it's less than 1mbps.

      • How exactly? Opening it (the URL) as a "Network Stream" in VLC does nothing, and neither does opening it normally.

    • I wonder if they track how many people go to the page and then wander away without futzing with it?
      • Probably. It looks like they use webtrends to do their web analytics, and any analytics package worth its salt will give them a bounce rate.
  • Android Intents (Score:5, Informative)

    by bsv368 (686213) on Friday September 23, 2011 @11:21PM (#37499212)
    I would argue this is not a new idea. The same basic concept exists in Android as Intents [android.com].
    • Re:Android Intents (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Mekabyte (678689) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @12:48AM (#37499582) Homepage
      I came here to say the same thing. Also, Google and Mozilla are experimenting with making such functionality available to webapps as Web Intents / Web Activities http://webintents.org/ [webintents.org] http://mozillalabs.com/blog/2011/07/web-apps-update-experiments-in-web-activities-app-discovery/ [mozillalabs.com] I hope Microsoft will join the effort rather than making a separate system.
    • by ToasterMonkey (467067) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @02:14AM (#37499838) Homepage

      I would argue this is not a new idea. The same basic concept exists in Android as Intents.

      Windows is so stupidly far ahead of Android and Linux when it comes to sharing rich data between applications, you'd have to have your head deep up your arse to not know that, if you knew anything about this topic.

      By "same basic concept" we could also include "open with X" menu entries or registering file types with applications, attaching an 'open' verb to regular files. None of these are the same, and "the basic concept" probably existed before you were born if you want to be that generic.

    • For that matter, doesn't iOS also have something similar?

    • Re:Android Intents (Score:4, Insightful)

      by sourcerror (1718066) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @04:33AM (#37500288)

      It sounds like OLE reinvented for the web.

      • Try to find out something useful about it by typing "Windows Share" into google (or bing).

        Microsoft has a long history of this, as well. Let's call our groups of computers "domains," and our top programming language...let's give it the same name as a top level domain on the Net. That way, our developers will have to weed through a crap load of bad results to find what they are looking for. Developers, developers, developers (throws chair).

      • It sounds like OLE reinvented for the web.

        This is Microsoft. Every two years they re-invent OLE for whatever is popular.

  • by Truekaiser (724672) on Friday September 23, 2011 @11:25PM (#37499224)

    this sounds a bit similar to dbus. just more desktop & social media oriented.

    • Re:hmm i wonder. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nerdfest (867930) on Friday September 23, 2011 @11:31PM (#37499248)
      It sounds very much like Android intents as well, which is one of the big design failings of iOS (from what I understand). Does WP7 have anything this, or is it missing the inter-app ability as well?
      • I don't know, i have never seen a windows 7 phone in the wild. it's a rare beast in deed.

      • Does WP7 have anything this, or is it missing the inter-app ability as well?

        One of the biggest flaws of WP7 as it stands is complete absence of any inter-app communication for third party apps - you are limited to a few hardcoded entrypoints [microsoft.com] for stock apps only. It doesn't even have what iOS has, the ability to pass files and URLs from app to app. The only way to share data is by uploading it to the "cloud".

      • by cbhacking (979169)

        It doesn't really. Mango (WP7.5) has something like it, but it's search- or media-oriented. An app can hook into search or into the media hub, but those are native parts of the OS. There's no way for one app to directly call into another app, even through an OS-defined channel.

  • It will be revolutionary when it's released [wikipedia.org] in 1991!

    • by FrootLoops (1817694) on Friday September 23, 2011 @11:46PM (#37499324)
      That's nothing like this system. Well, they're both generalized clipboards, but in different ways. In Publish and Subscribe, "changes to the original published document would be noticed and updated by the subscribers". In Share, the link between the source and target app dies off as soon as the data finishes transferring. No further updates are sent after the "paste" finishes.
      • I never used it, but was aware of its function. Looked like it would be immensely useful for a team all making updates to some document that was used in other documents. But if it doesn't update my Facebook status, what good is it? -- last part there was sarcasm. Publish and Subscribe is a good idea that helps people get real work done. idk what the Hell this "New Cross-App Data-Sharing System" is supposed to do other than help people waste their lives, and let Microsoft show the world that "Hey! See? We c
        • Just because you didn't take the time to understand the potential uses for the new system doesn't make it alright to bash it. One potential use case (among zillions) is to "paste" text into a form email before sending it, using their QuickLinks feature, all in a couple clicks. Or, you could share a picture (or 10) from a photo viewer to a photo editor without going through files. Sorry if I'm coming off angry; I'm just tired of random MS-bashing comments on this story.
  • by izomiac (815208) on Friday September 23, 2011 @11:32PM (#37499252) Homepage
    Well, this sounds almost exactly like BeOS's Negotiated Drag and Drop [nyud.net]. I remember Leo Laporte doing an episode of (IIRC) The Screensavers where he showed the BeOS, and demonstrated this by dragging an unsaved piece of data between three or four applications and manipulating it in each. But, all I could easily find was this classic scene [youtube.com] from a demo video demonstrating the concept between Tracker (the desktop application) and the Book application.
    • No, this isn't it. Reading the article linked by you:

      In a negotiated drag'n'drop, the drag message does not typically carry the data that defines the object being dropped; for example, if you drop a block of text, the message that is dropped normally does not contain the text that was dragged. Instead, the drag message contains information about the different formats and methods by which the sender application may supply the data to the receiver application, and about which actions the receiver application can request of the sender application.

      This is exactly how [microsoft.com] Windows clipboard works already with OLE objects. It has been there since, oh, WinNT 3.1 (1993)?

      What's described in TFA, as noted by others, is much more like Android intents.

    • They're actually quite different.

      Negotatied Drag and Drop requires negotation, where the source and target app "presumably have a common private protocol". However, Windows Share has essentially no negotiation, and explicitly tries to avoid special-case private communication. Here's roughly what happens with Windows Share:

      • The user tells the OS "I'd like to share this thing I've (perhaps implicitly) selected from this source program I have running"
      • The OS asks the program for the data the user requested, i
    • by rvw (755107)

      Well, this sounds almost exactly like BeOS's Negotiated Drag and Drop [nyud.net]. I remember Leo Laporte doing an episode of (IIRC) The Screensavers where he showed the BeOS, and demonstrated this by dragging an unsaved piece of data between three or four applications and manipulating it in each. But, all I could easily find was this classic scene [youtube.com] from a demo video demonstrating the concept between Tracker (the desktop application) and the Book application.

      BeOS? Or NeverHasBeenOS?! I remember when BeOS was a hype. Has it ever been more than that? Everytime it is mentioned, it seems like some GodOS, which had all and everything anybody could ever want.

  • Didn't the Amiga do something like this with ARexx? I distinctly remember someone showing me Lightwave rendering a frame then pushing it to an arbitrary image editor along with some commands to execute on it.

    ARexx was primarily for commands and scripting. Maybe they copied the image to the clipboard and referred to it. But the general result was data being shared.

  • So now viruses can spam facebook & twitter with scam ads?

    • No, they can't, since sharing is always a user-initiated action in this model. There's no way for one app to "force share" with another app behind user's back.

      You know, just like any smartphone on the market today?

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      What's your point? That's already totally possible, assuming the user leaves their browser logged in (equivalent to storing credentials in one of these Social Netowrking apps). Seriously, I realize MS-bashing is popular around here, but stop and thing for a couple seconds before you post.

    • Yes, because they totally cant manage that now.

  • by sabernet (751826) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @12:01AM (#37499372) Homepage

    Seriously, it looks like the "Share with" feature in the Android browser as well(which leverages the Intent system).

    Not saying it's a bad thing(I love the idea)...I just fail to see how this is a "New Cross-App Data-Sharing System"....heck, if Google tended to play this game as dirty as Apple and MS do, they'd probably be doing a software patent suit by now O_o

    • Is different from what was available in Windows before, hence title of TFA is "new data exchange mechanism in Windows". It's not something completely new, of course.

  • "short" (Score:5, Informative)

    by FrootLoops (1817694) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @12:05AM (#37499400)
    The "short (video) explanation" is an hour long. If you just want some demos, they start at about 10:33, 12:19, 14:14, and 17:44.
  • already have this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mister_playboy (1474163) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @12:08AM (#37499418)

    I've already got this in my CLI... it's called a pipe.

  • by nbvb (32836)

    Welcome to 1992. ... What's the codename for Windows 8? Pink?

    The revenge of Taligent.

    What's next? Microsoft CyberDog?

  • Taking data from one program to another? Resharing text, images, that kind of thing? Isn't that copy and paste?

    • by cbhacking (979169)

      You would typicaly need to manually launch the other app and paste the content in there, but in a generalized sense, yeah, that's what this is. The difference is that it provides a way for an app to say "Share with me, and I will with it." For example, a Facebook app could say "Share Text with me, and I will do a Status Update with it" and "Share An Image with me, and I will Add It To An Album for you".

      The ability for either the user or the developer to do things like this is not new at all. What is new i

      • by jbengt (874751)
        I don't get it. How will the receiving application know what to do with the shared content if I don't open it up and tell it what to do? Maybe I just don't use enough brain-dead apps to understand.
    • I think the hope is that it'll be a more convenient and powerful copy&paste. For instance, I write a weekly email containing a list I've jotted down in Notepad. Those notes get injected into a form email before being sent off. Right now, I actually edit a copy of the previous week's email, which works but takes, oh, a dozen clicks/key presses--getting to the sent mail folder, getting a copy of the message up, removing last week's list, and finally pasting in this week's. This way, if my email app is cle

  • 'innovation'

  • Sounds a lot like Apple's proposed and failed feature called OpenDoc [wikipedia.org]. Or is it more like Metro, and this is like Objective-C?

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @02:29AM (#37499880) Homepage

    It's yet another publish/subscribe system, of course. The new thing will be that it's "social" or tied to every social network and advertising system within reach.

    Hopefully it does not continue the Microsoft tradition of executing anything executable that appears in any data stream or comes in any data port. Microsoft has had trouble with that on everything from Word documents to USB devices.

    • No, it doesn't. If you watch the video, "sharing" is explicit - user has to bring up the system menu, tap "Share", then select the app to share with.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday September 24, 2011 @06:00AM (#37500536) Homepage

    I rendered predictions on Windows Vista and 7 in the past. I predicted Vista to be the next Windows ME largely because of all the features which were removed, the steep hardware requirements and the ridiculous DRM support. Despite the logical reasons, quite a few people modded my comments to that effect as troll -1. Okay. Who's troll now? I also predicted 7 as a "return to Windows XP but with a Vista look and feel." Not too far off. 7 is still different enough that you can't call it a return to XP exactly, but it will "stay" as long as XP has, I believe.

    My predictions on Windows 8 are that the industry is pretty annoyed with Microsoft and it will not matter how awesome the new things Windows 8 will have are. Developers will be reluctant to use them with their updates of the current software as they will want to keep doing things the way they did in the past and whether or not it is completely true, they will claim the need for backward compatibility as the cause. IT shops are stuck and entrenched with Windows XP as many have still not migrated to Windows 7 and 64 bit is still a bit of a dream for them. IT shops are simply too occupied with establishing a stable and reliable environment with what was new a few years ago to risk destabilizing things further with what's new tomorrow.

    Microsoft's days of "innovating" are pretty much over. The people DON'T WANT IT. What's more, people have long since gotten over the idea that "newer is better" and are more interested in actually getting work or play done than using the newest methods of doing it.

  • It's more stable anyhow.

  • by smash (1351)
    they invented pipes?
  • And I'm sure the malware authors are studying them intently.

  • Right: NewtonOS 2.0, ca. 1995:

    http://manuals.info.apple.com/Apple_Support_Area/Manuals/newton/NewtonProgrammerRef20.PDF [apple.com]

    Chapters 18 and 19, routing and transports.

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