1. Tiemen_S's Avatar
    I joined the WP train around the time Mango came out with my Lumia 800 and I saw a very integrated future lying ahead of me. At that time, the OS was maturing in a fast pace and had some great foundations to build on. But I've got some bad feelings about how MS is building upon them right now (whilst I'm carrying a Lumia 920 ;)).

    For me, the main advantages of WP were:
    • Clean look,
    • Strong MS service integration
    • Deep linking/pinning to sections deeply in an app instead of navigating all the way.
    • Hubs!


    The clean look is still pretty much intact, although the newer apps are getting more loosely inspired instead of following the guidelines. The integration is becoming stronger (and services refined), but what about the deep linking and hubs?

    When I saw Joe Belfiore explain all the deeplink magic, I suspected this would remain a core value of the OS. Is anything showing a movie title? Give an option to go to IMDB or another app. Food? Ditto. And so on. But that is lacking at this moment. I'm just hoping Cortana will fill this gap!

    My main concern is however, that MS has moved from their strong Hubs related approach to "getting all the apps on board". THE selling point for me was that I wouldn't need seperate apps for everything anymore! Set aside the technological challenges, I would simply LOVE a messaging hub that would simply contain all my chat-apps. Yes, some decent filtering/lay-out changes would be necessary if really everything would be in one place, but that's why you are a software company at heart - to solve those problems (while we're on that: fix Facebook messaging! It's a pain in the *** if you can't message offline contacts and I DON'T want to use the seperate app!). If MS would release a clear API to integrate your own messaging service (i.e. WhatsApp, Facebook, Kik) into the Messaging Hub, this perhaps would even reduce the amount of work for their developers, because all apps have the same basic functionalities anyhow! Text-messages, Voice/Audio, Pictures, Videos and perhaps Location... Is it that hard to get right?

    The same applies for your People hub, because there are a lot more feeds to be integrated that would be useful. Also the Pictures Hub, why wouldn't you expand it with the option to integrate all your Instagram/other picture service feeds as well?

    Why are they moving away from the attitude that said: "What do you need all those apps for, while you need only one hub?" Even the old core integrated Hubs are being "Apped" and as far as I've experienced the new X-Box Music app, it is far from pleasant to use.

    Anyone else feeling left in the cold by this?
    04-01-2014 06:08 AM
  2. psiu_glen's Avatar
    In short:

    Agreed.

    Longer: it is my impression that a lot of the core people who did UI/UX for it are gone. They had some brilliant work between the Zune, Media Center, and WP7 teams, and seem to have dropped them all and gone forward with things that sort of look like it...but don't quite feel like it. Couple that with your usual MS infighting and you get things like W8 redesigning the wheel over and over when it's already been done for them.

    Disappointing, really.
    04-01-2014 06:25 AM
  3. Tiemen_S's Avatar
    Perhaps for all people in favor of a unified messaging hub:
    Universal Messaging Hub with 3rd Party Support – Feature Suggestions for Windows Phone

    It still needs a lot of votes to really get their attention!
    04-01-2014 06:39 AM
  4. paulxxwall's Avatar
    Kinda! But I did find my self using both the Facebook app and the peoples hub ! The actual app to search and do the other things I couldn't from the peoples hub. But the peoples hub is good and fast I just hope Ms makes it a better experience.... How ever they have to do it!!!!
    04-01-2014 06:40 AM
  5. psychotron's Avatar
    Well, first of all platform strategies have to change with the landscape. Sometimes if you stick with an inflexible strategy you do so to your own detriment. I believe the unified messaging is a good example of this. I think the people hub, as good as it was, was one of those ideas that was doomed to failure from the beginning and here's why. When you build something like that into the core of the operating system then you're only able to update it when the entire OS gets an update. That turned out to bite them because as APIs for each protocol changed it would cripple the experience causing customer complaints. Having each service broken out individually allows Microsoft to be able to update it on the fly without it being tied to the operating system itself. They can implement new features without having to change the whole blob. The previous strategy was just too cumbersome and MS realized it. This is better for everyone in the long run. In all reality it's actually a good thing as the benefits outweigh the detriment.
    A895 likes this.
    04-01-2014 07:10 AM
  6. jasqid's Avatar
    If the people and picture hub had Sharing in the what's new section, I wouldn't need an app.
    04-01-2014 07:17 AM
  7. Tiemen_S's Avatar
    @psychotron: that's what I mean with the technological difficulties to overcome. It's their own OS, so there must be a place where they can install apps with more 'native' rights than others, without needing the whole OS update cycle (so they can use store updates). The user doesn't care how they've covered their end of the bargain, as long as it's covered and works fluently. As of now, the apps they are making to replace the old core hubs are far from perfect and because they miss the internal library integration, are very sluggish to load your music library for example. This is a degradation of the services delivered instead of an improvement. Also, if the updates are minor and probably small, what would be the problem with OTA updates? All they should do is distinguish two types, app-like updates and core OS... Also, I think (my opinion) that that 'just an app' feel is far worse compared to a decent native solution (remember the Windows Mobile days when you started putting XDA modded stuff on it and then returning to the basic ROM).

    EDIT: of course it takes some willingness to develop those hubs/apps yourself, but that's just the service I was expecting from Microsoft's side. If they are retreating from this native experience, they will fall down into the same mess you see with Android, where everybody has different half-done alternatives for basic functionalities.

    Also, they should make their own robust API, that can be used by external messaging services etc.. Which means it's the messaging service's responsability to make theirs work with the Hub, just as they are responsible for their app now (except that they don't need to build an interface).
    04-01-2014 07:47 AM
  8. Morpheus Phreak's Avatar
    You may have a faulty device. The separated Xbox Music and Xbox Video apps access my music and video libraries just fine and load instantaneously. I use both on a daily basis.
    04-01-2014 07:51 AM
  9. bionicgt's Avatar
    Is the People and Messaging Hub disappearing anytime soon on WP8.1? O.o !!! :$
    04-01-2014 10:40 AM
  10. MARKjotep's Avatar
    rumor!
    04-01-2014 10:50 AM
  11. AngrySprintUser's Avatar
    The hubs were one of the main selling points for me to switch to WP. Have everything consolidated into an area was great. Same as scout. Just find everything nearby, with reviews with one app.

    If I wanted to have to constantly switch to different apps, well, that's what ios is for.......
    04-01-2014 10:57 AM
  12. bionicgt's Avatar
    no way, I would die if they take away the people and msg hubs :( !! no way they can do that, that's why I love WP !
    04-01-2014 11:05 AM
  13. jmshub's Avatar
    I really like the hubs concept, but I read somewhere that the reason the hubs approach is fading away is that hubs integrated into the OS can only be updated when Microsoft is able to push an OS update through the carriers, while an app update can be pushed out frequently.
    04-01-2014 11:11 AM
  14. Morpheus Phreak's Avatar
    The hubs were one of the main selling points for me to switch to WP. Have everything consolidated into an area was great. Same as scout. Just find everything nearby, with reviews with one app.

    If I wanted to have to constantly switch to different apps, well, that's what ios is for.......
    They aren't removing the hubs. They are making them extensible.
    xandros9 likes this.
    04-01-2014 11:12 AM
  15. Markham Ranja's Avatar
    My main concern is however, that MS has moved from their strong Hubs related approach to "getting all the apps on board". THE selling point for me was that I wouldn't need seperate apps for everything anymore! Set aside the technological challenges, I would simply LOVE a messaging hub that would simply contain all my chat-apps. Yes, some decent filtering/lay-out changes would be necessary if really everything would be in one place, but that's why you are a software company at heart - to solve those problems (while we're on that: fix Facebook messaging! It's a pain in the *** if you can't message offline contacts and I DON'T want to use the seperate app!). If MS would release a clear API to integrate your own messaging service (i.e. WhatsApp, Facebook, Kik) into the Messaging Hub, this perhaps would even reduce the amount of work for their developers, because all apps have the same basic functionalities anyhow! Text-messages, Voice/Audio, Pictures, Videos and perhaps Location... Is it that hard to get right?

    The same applies for your People hub, because there are a lot more feeds to be integrated that would be useful. Also the Pictures Hub, why wouldn't you expand it with the option to integrate all your Instagram/other picture service feeds as well?

    Why are they moving away from the attitude that said: "What do you need all those apps for, while you need only one hub?" Even the old core integrated Hubs are being "Apped" and as far as I've experienced the new X-Box Music app, it is far from pleasant to use.

    Anyone else feeling left in the cold by this?
    The core assumptions that led to MS taking the Hub approach are flawed, and that is extant in their recent "de-hubbing" releases.

    First, if you want to integrate all these disparate messaging services into one hub (like Whatsapp, FB, etc) you would need to work with each developer to integrate their app with the Hub, OR release an API for WP that allows such integration. I haven't seen any evidence of the latter. And the former is an impractical approach - there are many apps and more keep coming. And that's assuming that there is a WP app at all.

    Basically, that no-app-only-hub paradigm would work ONLY in a world where everybody only used Microsoft or MS-compatible products. Unless there dawns a Grand Unifying API of Everything at some distant time, a hub-only system will not work.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    04-01-2014 12:15 PM
  16. Morpheus Phreak's Avatar
    I already said in my post directly above yours that they are making the hubs extensible...
    04-01-2014 12:17 PM
  17. bionicgt's Avatar
    I already said in my post directly above yours that they are making the hubs extensible...
    What does that mean in normal words? lol
    04-01-2014 12:25 PM
  18. Morpheus Phreak's Avatar
    What does that mean in normal words? lol
    Long Answer: Extensibility - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Short Answer: API access just as Markham was talking about that would allow apps to tie into the hubs directly.
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    04-01-2014 12:34 PM
  19. Markham Ranja's Avatar
    I already said in my post directly above yours that they are making the hubs extensible...
    Doesn't really help.We see already that a lot of these developers don't bother writing apps for WP. Chances of them taking the trouble to include the Hun integration are low (compare the Xbox Live games fiasco).
    04-01-2014 11:42 PM
  20. Morpheus Phreak's Avatar
    Doesn't really help.We see already that a lot of these developers don't bother writing apps for WP. Chances of them taking the trouble to include the Hun integration are low (compare the Xbox Live games fiasco).
    Ok, now you're just being silly...
    04-02-2014 12:04 AM
  21. Tiemen_S's Avatar
    Long Answer: Extensibility - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Short Answer: API access just as Markham was talking about that would allow apps to tie into the hubs directly.
    That would be great news for what my "wish" is and was. The ball would then lie in the developer's court. And since the code-savvy developers usually like to code and make things work and not build UI's, my hopes are getting a little higher. Oh boy that would be great! It would require an updated UI that allows for a clearer way to navigate through different types (person/group) and services (FB, Skype, WhatsApp, etc.) though. Where have you read/heard this news/information? I've never read it on WPC and it seems pretty great and big news to me! (if a OneNote API can make it, why not this ;))

    Still, converting core elements to apps is a concern to me. I just hope they have a way to let these apps work like as if they really are native (with respect to file/system rights) and just use the Store as a way to update them (thus no need to push OS update for that).

    For example, I reinstalled the Xbox Music app after you told me it works better than the initial builds, but it needed a couple of minutes to load all my music into it's library when I ran it for the first time. These things shouldn't be necessary for MS (core, but converted) apps in my opinion. Or at least not at first run, but immediately start doing so after installation in the background.
    04-03-2014 07:31 AM
  22. Morpheus Phreak's Avatar
    Well Xbox Music takes a couple minutes on the initial load because it's also comparing to the cloud to make sure that everything you have you will have access to. So let's say that you didn't copy or forgot to copy some of your music over, or you've lost it.

    Then it checks the cloud and will offer you the ability to stream or download it to your phone (provided you use the Xbox Music service). It's the same reason why Xbox Video takes a moment on initial load if you have a large number of movies or videos as it also checks the cloud for purchased items.

    As far as the APIs go, there's been some mention of it here and there. I know at Build they are discussing the APIs and trust me there's a lot more extensibility in WP 8.1 than most folks realize. I would recommend watching all of the Build videos you can find, lots of good information will be revealed over the next couple days. :)

    I can tell you that your thoughts as to proper integration and the store updates are spot on. :)
    04-03-2014 12:57 PM

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