back to article Windows Phone 8 to get NFC, HD and Skype

Following a leaked video which showed Windows Phone top dog Joe Belfiore listing the features adorning the next version of Windows Phone, beta testers have come clean on what we should expect. The video was intended for device manufacturers, but got into the hands of PocketNow, which promptly shared the details. The …

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  1. Graham Wilson
    Happy

    Microsoft actually competing! Absolutely fascinating!

    Never thought I'd live to see the day when Microsoft had to actually compete.

    What next, a Windows that works the way users want it to?

    1. Spearchucker Jones
      Go

      I'm typing this in IE10 on a Samsung Series 7 slate* running Windows 8. It's awesome. Metro and Windows 8 are awesome.

      Yo! Inevitable flamers and downvoters - I don't work for Microsoft, and not paid by them either (more's the pity). The Series 7 slate cost me £980 (yes, ouch!!), which I voluntarily shelled out because having a multi-touch tablet that runs full Office 2010 and Visual Studio is worth more to me than anything I can get on the iPad or an Android tablet. YMM obviously V.

      1. amanfromarse

        Why would you want to run Visual Studio on a tablet at all? 1366 x 768? Why?

        1. Spearchucker Jones

          @amanfromarse

          Because I'm porting a .NET 4.0 app to .NET 4.5 (Metro).

          1. amanfromarse

            So? Would you use an iPad to run xcode? Develop on PC, deploy to device. Can't think of any reason not to.

    2. Jim Coleman
      Happy

      @Graham Wilson: You've not tried Windows 7 or WP7 yet then :O)

      1. Graham Wilson
        Boffin

        @Jim Coleman -- I have actually, and Win-8 beta too.

        Now where would you like me to begin?

        - The lousy UI which can't easily be tailored by the user (and it's not backward compatible either)?

        - The file system with attributes still no further advanced than those of CP/M (if you're old enough to remember what that was)?

        - The continued lack of WinFS or database filing system? (A diabolical omission, yet albeit promised with Vista and still no sign of it in Win 8.)

        - The archaic reserved character list where one can't use a question mark or a colon in a filename? (Instead, you have to use this '¿' if you really need one.)

        - Filenames without UI attributes (highlighting, bolding, making, ordering, colouring, ticking, tagging etc.)

        - That MSI files still won't load if you have a leading space in a directory name, or that Win Explorer won't allow entering leading spaces in dir names? (Leading spaces are needed to order lists as Windows STILL doesn't have an attribute system to do this, so one has to fudge it.)

        1. Jim Coleman
          Happy

          @Graham Wilson: OK.....

          "... a Windows that works the way Graham Wilson wants it to..."

          There. Fixed it for ya!

          1. Graham Wilson
            Boffin

            @Jim Coleman -- Correct!

            Absolutely.

            ...And those for whom I work want them even more than me (to bring Windows into line with other installed O/Ses that already have many of these features).

      2. Graham Wilson
        Boffin

        @Jim Coleman -- I have actually, and Win-8 beta too. -- part 2

        ...continued.

        - The ridiculously short file/path length limit? (Should be 2^16 - 2 at least--every single day the 254 limit causes me major hassles. It's such a problem one could write a book about it.)

        - That the file system still lacks proper metadata support--authentication, encryption, history etc.?

        - The fact that Windows isn't modularized, that subsystems such as IE, ActiveX, Media player etc. can't simply unplugged/disassembled/nuked?

        - That other filing systems can't simply be plugged on and that Windows can't be installed on them.

        - The removal of the ability to install on FAT32?

        - That the drive ordering system--naming nomenclature can't be user set or user defined?

        - That Windows still has no filing system that fundamentally differentiates between user, program and O/S files?

        - That there's no superuser mode (in fact 'Administrator' has been downgraded rather than upgraded in W7).

        - There's still no way for the end-user to set the method and extent of file locking.

        Oh, hell this is getting boring, I've hardly started yet and I've only covered useability (there's pages more).

        If these aren't daily issues for you, then perhaps you don't require your computer to do very much.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. The Original Steve
          Stop

          Can't say I disagree with a number of your points, but.....

          - I can buy a version of Windows without WMP. I can also remove the executable if required. Not sure why you'd want that though. I understand Win8 will be even more modular that Win7 too.

          - Um - what's wrong with the Administrator account? I mean there's hacks to elevate further to SYSTEM if you REALLY need to

          - You complain about the filesystem, mentioning things such as authentication and encryption, yet say you want to install on FAT32?!

          - NTFS has rather good authentication, compression and with VSS reasonable rollback support.

          To be honest - sounds like you need a bloody good document management system or source code repository. NTFS is a generic, all-purpose file system for businesses and home users. Maybe a case that you want to get the circle to fit the square hole...

        3. Graham Wilson
          Happy

          Re: @Jim Coleman -- I have actually, and Win-8 beta too. -- part 2 (ADDENDUM)

          "- The ridiculously short file/path length limit? (Should be 2^16 - 2 at least--every single day the 254 limit causes me major hassles. It's such a problem one could write a book about it.)"

          Since I wrote this a couple of weeks ago, I've since read Microsoft's preliminary specs of the Resilient File System, ReFS, which will initially go into Win 8 server and then eventually be retrofitted to Win 8.

          Microsoft says the file/path length limit in ReFS is as follows:

          Max path length = 32k (2^16/2)

          Max file name length =32k (2^16/2)

          32k is only half my proposal but it's a damn side larger than 254 characters, 2^7 times in fact. Well, I can live easily with a 128-fold increase in the length of the path/file name over exiting Windows NTFS.

          ReFS isn't the database filing system WinFS by a long shot, but it's a significant improvement over the existing Windows NTFS (also, there are some significant downsides I've not time to address here). Microsoft, has done it's usual thing and just done enough to get itself out of trouble, here with ReFS, compatibility with NTFS is more important than any fundamental advancement (i.e., whilst using B+ trees Microsoft adds new 'Object Table' extensions).

          in fact, ReFS path/file name lengths are long enough for different schema to be adopted so delimited extents within file names could be used by 3rd-party utilities (file managers/Explorer replacements, Directory Opus, Total Commander etc.) to represent user-defined extended attributes.

          Whilst this large extension to the path/file name length seems like a logical necessity in ReFS--given the new infinitely extensible* 'Storage Pool' feature, just perhaps Microsoft has also been listening to the large number of whingeing bastards (such as yours truly) who encounter this problem regularly.

          All the other issues to which I referred still need to addressed.

          It's nice to be vindicated by Microsoft even if its only one point--but it's an important one.

          ___

          * My words for 'no limit'.

  2. Joe Montana
    WTF?

    Playing catch up...

    "Our next OS will contain some of the features Android has had for months or even years!"...

    I don't like the idea of integrated skype one bit, the idea of being locked in to a single supplier is even worse than a telco, at least we have a choice of mobile operators these days.

    By supporting skype, you are pushing people backwards towards the days of the monopoly telco. A single supplier, can only use approved clients with the service... Just like BT 40 years ago.

    Android includes a standard SIP client for Voip, allowing you to choose from hundreds of providers or run your own PBX.

    1. Dave's Jubblies
      Stop

      Don't be a nub... Integrated skype is there because integration makes it a better experience, and a consistent one.

      Just because it's integrated, it doesn't mean you can't use and add others. Just like you can on android.

      1. James Cooke

        I don't think the point is that you can't add any other VoIP solution more that this again puts MS in the IE bundling situation of Skype possibly having an unfair advantage over the competition.

        Though at what < 2% marketshare it's not exactly distorting the marketplace yet.

        1. Jim Coleman
          Meh

          @James Cooke: How is that any worse that Apple bundling Facetime with iOS?

          1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

            1. Dave's Jubblies

              Oh please don't start with that crap.. it's old and boring.

        2. Paul 129
          Pint

          @James Cooke

          Skype is an interesting play... VOIP is still a bit too techie for the average punter to setup, but skype on the other hand.... If it is well integrated then it may just sway the public.

          Cheaper calls, possibly video and easy to setup. If it gets traction with the market it would be a hell of a MS win and back to the lock in that they love. My money is on the telco's taking the unit sales bonuses n trying to knobble skype once they realise how much money they could be loosing.

          I think this will be interesting to watch. We need a popcorn icon.

    2. Jim Coleman
      Meh

      @Joe Montana: Funnily enough I'm running Tango VOIP on my WP7 phone. Which kinda blows your argument out of the water a tad.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only problem...

    Is that this is a new device and OS release thus its no doubt coming with its own share of ickyness or lackings. As we have seen with the Windows phone itself; the first version left /many/ things to desire, and the reason I mention this is because this included features which were plain out common for phones.

    The Mango update solved a lot and IMO it looks pretty impressive in its own.

    Yet I have to wonder.. Why not continue with the current line instead of walking down the road with possible problems again ?

    I've been quite cynical about the WM and it turns out most complaints involved the first release.

    My only gripe with WM7 / WM8 at this time is the lockdown. They provide the SDK and everything you need to write programs for free, but the moment you want to put your own software onto your own phone you have to cough up E100,-/year. If only it would support Java ME....

    1. Jim Coleman
      Happy

      @ShelLuser: Write them in HTML5?

  4. hplasm
    Alien

    With this news

    I don't see why anyone would buy wp7 when they can wait.

    It must reflect in sales?

    If they want wp7 then surely it will become fire-sale cheap once 8 is out.

    1. Jim Coleman
      Happy

      @hplasm:

      "I don't see why anyone would buy iPhone 4S / Galaxy S II Turbo Speedster Rocketship when they can wait. It must reflect in sales? If they want iPhone 4S / Galaxy S II Turbo Speedster Rocketship then surely it will become fire-sale cheap once iPhone 5 / Galaxy SRXGTi III Turbo Speedster Rocketship Slingshot Flashbang is out."

      Fixed it for ya!

    2. Dave's Jubblies

      Why would it it reflect in sales?

      You do understand that WP7 devices will get WP8, right?

      1. Richard Plinston

        WP7 devices will get WP8 ?

        WP7 devices are restricted to only be single core. WP7 can only support single core and this is a restriction in the licence to use.

        From what I have read, WP8 _requires_ dual core at least. This is because it can actually multitask (as distinct from something like TSRs on MS-DOS) and dual core is required so the the UI can still remain active even if a task uses all resources that it can get.

        WP7 devices are obsoleted by WP8. Buy now and throw away soon*.

        * 'Soon' being anything from 'later this tear' to 2014 depending on who says it.

        1. Dave's Jubblies
          WTF?

          @richard plinston

          and you know ANY of the above as fact because???

          If this is true, it's the first I've heard of it... nothing to that effect anywhere I have seen?

          You are aware that PC's have been multi tasking for many, many years... you don't NEED dual core for multi tasking at all...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @hplasm

      Of course your guess is as good as mine, but it wouldn't surprise me either if MS would simply pull all WM7 devices in order to have these replaced with WM8.

      After all; it's what they do with Windows.

  5. Pl0ns1971

    What's Windows Phone ?

    What's Windows Phone ? ;) Does it do copy & paste ? I've heard it not multitasking even.

    I'm "sure" WIndows 8 will be amazing - if Nokia will not collapse because of that ;)

    Google and Apple would have to stand still for 4-5 years and do nothing to allow Widnows Phone

    to catch up. There is not much apps for that either. M$ development model is out of date, who will be

    able to develop fast running games in .net ? But miracles are welcome ;) Good luck Nokia You will need

    that - just not sure Elop will help you with it.

    Windows Phone is like ghost we hear a lot of about them, someone have seen it once ;) but nobody likes them..

    1. Jim Coleman
      Meh

      @PI0ns1971:

      "What's Windows Phone ? ;) Does it do copy & paste ?"

      Yep

      " I've heard it not multitasking even."

      You heard wrong

      "I'm "sure" WIndows 8 will be amazing"

      Yep

      "if Nokia will not collapse because of that ;)"

      Nope, Nokia don't rely on Windows 8 as it's not a phone OS.

      "Google and Apple would have to stand still for 4-5 years and do nothing to allow Widnows Phone to catch up."

      According to the majority of reviewers, WP7.5 has already caught up and in some ways exceeded iOs and Android.

      " There is not much apps for that either."

      WP's apps market is expanding faster than Android's is/did and is already at 55,000 apps

      "M$ development model is out of date, who will be able to develop fast running games in .net ? "

      Um. WP has fast games written in XAML

      "Windows Phone is like ghost we hear a lot of about them, someone have seen it once ;) but nobody likes them.."

      Plenty of people like WP - the challenge is converting that into more sales. It'll come.

      .Thanks for your, er, insight.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Windows

        @Jim

        " I've heard it not multitasking even."

        You heard wrong

        No, he heard right. The first model did not support multitasking, nor other common features such as using your own mp3 file as a ringtone. You can even read this in MS' official phone specs; not being able to multitask was actually considered a key feature in order to enhance security.

        So the right answer is: "Yes you're right, but Microsoft has fixed this in the latest update."

        1. Dave's Jubblies

          No, he was right.

          Using your paradigm, we could say that ios doesn't allow bluetooth headphones.

        2. Shaun 1

          "Microsoft has fixed this in the latest update."

          So it does support multitasking, then

      2. bob's hamster

        @Jim Coleman

        Crikey man, keep off the Pepsi Max!

      3. Anonymous Coward
        WTF?

        @jim

        ""What's Windows Phone ? ;) Does it do copy & paste ?"

        Yep"

        It does - however it was so badly implemented that if you just want to add a letter in the middle of a word it keeps selecting the whole word to "allow" you to copy it until you give up and just delete the whole word.

        "" I've heard it not multitasking even."

        You heard wrong"

        If you call task switching "multitasking", then it now supports "multitasking". Just don't try to do two things at once, like downloading a map with nokia maps and doing anything else.

        "According to the majority of reviewers, WP7.5 has already caught up and in some ways exceeded iOs and Android."

        Then they haven't used it much. Where are folders? How can I transfer anything to/from it without a windows machine with the ms itunes clone, or a mac with the "connector" installed? Why do I need such a convoluted procedure to set a mp3 as ringtone? Why can't I send anything over bluetooth? Why are most of the apps inferior to their android counterparts? Why changing the windows live id means wiping everything from the phone (don't know if iOS forces you to do anything similar)? Why isn't the search button context sensitive and is tied to bing? I could go on and on with all the small stuff that doesn't work...

        Come on, even the interface (the only distinguishing touch) isn't more than a copy of android's widgets, and if you like it so much you can have it on android too (just search the market)!

        1. Dave's Jubblies

          really....?

          Oh come on, you clearly haven't even used WP7 to any extent, otherwise you would know most of what you have written above simply isn't true.

          How to correct a letter not a word? Simply press and hold. If you press and accidentally select a word, simply press somewhere else. Not hard is it?

          Multitasking. Very selective choice of task there. That issue is down to Nokia, they have said they will address it. How often do you need to download a map exactly??? Once.

          Yes, it isn't FULL multitasking. But if the choice is like Android, then I'll take it. There are very few areas where the implementation catches me out. For the vast majority of tasks, it works just fine.

          Most of the apps inferior to Android? Seriously? MOST? Of course they will vary, on both sides. Don't go making sweeping statements like that. They don't stand up. It's like me saying all android phones are crap. It just isn't true, but many are.

          Why is the search button on android tied to google....

          ANd live tiles... you reckon, seriously, that they are simply a rip off of 'short cuts'? Please...

          ANd no, you can't have it on Android... it's nothing like it. ANother example of someone 'who heard something from someone' without actually trying the thing in the first place.

          Don't get me wrong, WP has faults, and things missing in places, but all the OS's do... I'm just not willing to slag something else off without at least having SOME experience of it first...

          Try being objective. Your arguments will have much more substance.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            FAIL

            @dave: Really? I never used that lame excuse for a phone OS? I tried for three weeks to like using one, and gave up in disgust.

            First, widgets aren't shortcuts - but you never used android by the tripe you're spewing. Second, there is a launcher replacement that looks and works the same as WP7. Search for it in the market,.

            Search button tied to google? When it has been replaced by Bing by verizon and enraged its customers? Besides, the problem isn't only being tied to bing - it is that it is plainly unusable, no context sensitivity, only opens bing and that's it. Doesn't search on the market, or email, or whatever app you have open.

            As for inferior app quality, I've seen it on most apps I've tried. A couple were barely of android quality. But most were very inferior.

            And I had experience with WP7.5 - unlike you who seem to not even know what you're saying about android.

            1. Dave's Jubblies
              Facepalm

              Oh dear...

              where to start... the entire rant you had about text editing is, well, wrong. You have simply made stuff up to for what you want to believe.

              Let me explain how it works...

              You type some text... you see you made an error... you can either, a: tap the word once, phone will offer to correct the spellign for you. Or b: press and hold anywhere in the text entry window. Do that, and a text icon appears ABOVE your finger, you then drag to where you want to place the cursor. Accurate, simple. If by chance you have clicked, and highlighted a word in error, then press and hold elsewhere in the text window, and go to point b.

              Still think I haven't used WP? I own a bloody lumia. I also own a android tablet, I used to own a moto defy, my mrs has just moved off a SE mini10 pro. So yes, I do kjnow android and WP.

              Perhaps if you had actually tried to get along with the Lumia, (in case you hadn't noticed, it isn't android) instead of being determined to find fault, you might have seen the up sodes of the OS.

              As I said, try being objective, and your arguments will have more substance. As it is you just look like a mad ranter like Mr Shitpeas.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Wow... Personal attacks now? I am being objective. I'm sorry I hated the OS you love so much. You might even be right on the selection/cursor positioning. All I know is that every time I tried to answer an email or a facebook post on the damn thing, I gave up, as every attempt to correct a misspelled word was only met by the copy and paste indicators around the word I was trying to edit. I got some suggestions for the supposedly correct spelling, but I guess that dealing with three languages in my texts confused the spell checker, as the suggestions were usually wrong.

                I never found the press and hold thing (still seems completely idiotic to me, why can't I just tap where I want to write), might try if it works as you describe, but really, that OS for me is a total failure and I have to force myself to use it. It might have other unintuitive short-cuts, but really I can't be bothered.

                BTW, improve a little your reading comprehension skills. I said that the declarations you made about android meant you never had used it; I never said anything about your knowledge of WP. If you say you have an android tablet and have used a defy, I believe you; but I still don't understand your claims about android being so much off the mark.

                1. Jim Coleman
                  Meh

                  @jbernado: You're criticizing an OS because of your own inability to use it. Tap-and-hold is hardly "idiotic". Ultimately, when you tap on some text, there are two things an OS can do.

                  1) Highlight the bit you tapped

                  2) Place the cursor where you tapped

                  I would like to think that a competent OS would go for whichever is most used most often by most people. This would be number 1. Holding where you tapped gives number 2.

                  How is this in any way "idiotic". To my mind it's just common sense. As others have said, the cursor appears ABOVE your finger so you can see what you're doing easily. Idiotic? Nah. Common sense.

                  But as I always say, "don't let the truth get in the way of your vitriol" eh!

                  1. Anonymous Coward
                    FAIL

                    @jims

                    So what should I use to criticize an OS rather than my like/dislike and my ability to use it? Your opinion of it? LOL! Should I now use a OS that keeps getting in the way of my work, that hinders more than helps, just because you say so?

                    I'm still saying it is idiotically unintuitive to have a tap to select, and to have a tap and hold to place the cursor. In particular when the standard is one tap/click to place the cursor, a double-tap/click to select. Even on Microsoft apps on the pc. No idea why any idiot would change this convention - it is too counter-intuitive, completely the inverse of normal usage. And for selecting being used more often than placing the cursor, where did you get that info? Or are you just making it up now?

                    As for skydrive, you can access it using a browser - but if you want to synchronize folders, to use it automatically like spideroak or dropbox, for instance, you need to install some windows only (cr)app called "Windows Live Essentials" (or "Windows Live Mesh", which is what it is called in the skydrive site). Since it carries also a load of unneeded stuff, I would pass it even if I would boot into my netbook windows partition.

                    "don't let the truth get in the way of your vitriol" indeed!

        2. Jim Coleman
          Happy

          @jbernado:

          "[copy & paste]... was so badly implemented that if you just want to add a letter in the middle of a word it keeps selecting the whole word to "allow" you to copy it until you give up and just delete the whole word.

          I see you've never used WP7 then - if you had, you would have tapped-and-held to position the cursor wherever you wanted, so you could add your letter in the middle of the word. Although what editing has to do with cut 'n' paste is beyond me.

          "Where are folders?"

          Skydrive, office hub, picture albums etc all support folders.

          "How can I transfer anything to/from it without a windows machine with the ms itunes clone, or a mac with the "connector" installed?"

          Skydrive. Simples.

          "Why isn't the search button context sensitive and is tied to bing?"

          It used to be, but now it is consistent in always taking you to Bing, leaving the on-screen search buttons within apps to do the contextual search.

          Happy to be of service.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            WTF?

            Just for the record, I used a lumia for 3 weeks before giving up - the OS is so limiting I went back to my two years old N1 as fast as I could.

            As for the copy and paste getting in the way of selection, it always acted like that for the three weeks I used that crap. Maybe in your fantasy world it works well? A single tap would select a whole word,without a way to put the cursor in the middle of the world. You now say I'd need not only to tap but also to hold the finger there, then while the word is hidden by my finger, I'd have to write the missing letter hoping it was in the right position? LOL! That is the most idiotic "feature" I've seen yet!

            About skydrive - wtf is it? The msft dropbox clone? That thing doesn't work on Linux, the last I looked, and it also needs you to install something on a pc.

            Finally, the excuse for the unusability of the search button is ridiculous - consistency is having a button locked to a service nobody wants to use (outside redmond, that is)? Or would consistency have been having a search button working as a search button, searching your email when you have the email open, searching for apps when the market is open, etc.

            As for folders - so you can organize your apps. Or maybe you're happy with the ridiculous app list or the default window, with the ugly widgets and 30% of the screen wasted with a black bar with an arrow on top. I wasn't.

            1. Jim Coleman
              Meh

              @jbernado:

              "About skydrive - wtf is it?"

              You've never heard of Skydrive? Really? The cloud storage solution from the world's largest software company? Been under a rock?

              "That thing doesn't work on Linux"

              You access Skydrive from any browser. http://skydrive.live.com

              So unless Linux's browsers are all shyte, you're telling porkies. You don't need a local client.

              "the last I looked, and it also needs you to install something on a pc."

              NO. IT DOESN'T.

              "Don't let the truth get in the way of your vitriol"

    2. metadevuk

      Does the 1971 in your user id refer to the last time you made an accurate statement?

  6. JDX Gold badge

    @Graham

    >>every single day the 254 limit causes me major hassles

    Says it all. You're clearly some highly atypical user because I've never had this problem (I'm a software developer) and didn't even know the limit existed... implying I never heard anyone else complain either.

    If you need to be able to tweak every aspect of your OS, just use linux.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >>every single day the 254 limit causes me major hassles

      > Says it all. You're clearly some highly atypical user because I've never had this problem (I'm a software developer)

      Not the kind of software developer that runs e.g. real time test logs then.

      > and didn't even know the limit existed... implying I never heard anyone else complain either.

      Not the kind of software developer that listens to a lot of other software developers, either, then.

      > If you need to be able to tweak every aspect of your OS, just use linux.

      Thank you. We will.

    2. Graham Wilson
      Facepalm

      Wow. You've shocked me. I wonder what kind of stuff you develop.

      "and didn't even know the limit existed"

      Wow. You've shocked me. I wonder what kind of stuff you develop.

      I'll give you just ONE example of the path/filename problem:

      Here are two books, one has a long title that you don't want truncated and the other has metadata also that you don't want to truncated. In the absence of a database filing system (e.g.: promised but undelivered Win FS) you want to incorporate all this info into the filename (so it's searchable locally and remotely). With a path length/filename limit of 254 characters, it's simply impossible.

      http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924018834055 (long title name, there are ones much longer.)

      http://www.archive.org/details/lincolncelebrati3150sche (long metadata)

      Libraries, universities, publishers have this problem all the time. Moreover, scientific papers also want to include the name, which can be very long, the author info, the abstract text as well as the key metadata words. Windows, with its 254 character limit--and that it pukes whenever it hits a colon, '?', '/' or quotes--which are commonplace in such text--means that one hell of a lot of programming is needed to abridge titles in any meaningful way. In fact, it's a common cause of articles, documents and books getting lost (as one can't just cut-and-paste, do CSVs etc., so errors are commonplace and thus searches fail.

      Unfortunately, Windows is pretty ubiquitous but so too are documents with long tiles and lots of metadata. However Microsoft has never addressed this problem (other than promising to do so but never delivering) because it would mean much rewiring of the underlying Windows code which Microsoft is very loathe to do.

      Summary: Windows can't emulate real-world data humans work with daily.

      Just because you've never come across such requirements for computer solution it doesn't mean that they don't exist and widely so at that. Fact is, I'm a small cog in a large system that's been pulling its hair out over these issues for years.

      1. JC_
        Thumb Down

        @Graham Wilson

        Putting a couple of thousand characters of meta-data in the filename seems like a really bad idea, regardless of what the limit is. If you going to that kind of extreme, you might as well include the entire text of the book in the filename, too.

        1. Graham Wilson
          Boffin

          @JC_ -- Precisely!

          "you might as well include the entire text of the book in the filename, too."

          Precisely, and what's more it's done too. In many instances, all the data you need is also wrapped up within the filename. Sometimes this is of considerable advantage for managing information, at other times it's inappropriate or useless.

          Even though this method is actually used, it's outside the box for most traditional Windows users because Windows doesn't support such a scheme, so users aren't familiar with it. If Windows used extents as delimiters and then had the facility to separately process information between the extents then such a scheme becomes useful. Similar schemes exist in other operating systems but not Windows.

          Essentially, Windows cannot mirror what's been done in paper-based filing systems for centuries. What's more, the Windows filing system is so limited that it's not even a close match. These mismatches have considerable ergonomic implications for normal people (as opposed to programmers and El Reg readers), and they're causing huge problems as we continue to digitise the world's paper-based records.

          For starters, in transliteration and hermeneutics there's little agreement with respect to structures, nomenclature etc., so where headings, indexes and such are truncated during digitisation, data is lost, or partially lost, or meanings changed. This why it's important to often keep paper-based records and their digital counterparts the same (mirrored). Microsoft has yet to offer even the vaguest of solutions for this problem.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Hang on there

        File names longer than the system will support? Theres a patent for that!

      3. The Original Steve

        Im not a developer...

        ... But isn't the point of metadata to be in ASSOCIATION WITH the file? To a lowly network administrator you seem to by trying to put metadata in a single field.

        Sounds like using something for other than its intended purpose - hence the fieldname "filename"...

        Plus you can have custom attributes for metadata on NTFS objects.

        Your main gripe with the platform appears to be related to using the native filesystem as a document management system. Whilst a Linux variant will meet your needs better, the vast majority of users are more than happy using folders for document filling and using native, indexed, free-text searching.

        Thank goodness for choice hey?

    3. Graham Wilson
      Meh

      @JDX -- FYI

      FYI:

      http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/aa365247%28v=vs.85%29.aspx

  7. the-it-slayer
    Pint

    Jim Coleman is Microsoft?

    Go figure. Maybe he's some bot that scans the internet highways for anti-MS posts and responds in a sharp tone.

    If not, have a beer Jim. Your problems will start to disappear as you remember Microsoft is not the definition of life and that there more sides than your side to think about when debating.

    I'd love to feature the blast icon, but keep going. It's entertaining. And yes, I own all Apple products which I personally think are superior to the competition (inc. Microsoft). What's that?

    1. dogged

      As I recall, accusing someone of being a corporate shill against the <a href="http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/01/register_comments_guidelines/">house rules</a>

      Also, I get to see if I can do that linky thing that "powerusers" can do.

      1. dogged
        Unhappy

        guess not.

        Here is the plaintext link.

        http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/02/01/register_comments_guidelines/

    2. Jim Coleman
      Unhappy

      Ah yes, I see you broke Forum rule number 7. Reported.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pre-installed Skype - no surprise as MS bought them - but will not make the mobile operators too happy being pre-installed and assuming they enable it over 3G.

    I predict it will not be long before the mobile companies are more about shifting data than voice calls and SMS.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Pre-installed Facebook and Twitter- no surprise as MS bought them - Oh, wait...

    2. Jim Coleman
      Meh

      @AC: How is pre-installed Skype on WP7 any more likely to raise provider's hackles than pre-installed Face-time on iOS?

  9. EzJ

    @Graham / JDX

    Graham, JDX is a software developer and he has not heard of this problem. I think it must be you, ya rookie. Oh and me, the problem has annoyed me on more than one occasion :s

    1. Paul Shirley

      look up MAX_PATH

      NTFS may not have the problem but the older Win32 APIs have a strict path length limit on filenames: 260 char in total, 254 (I think) for the longest component. You had to use newer Unicode interfaces to bypass that limit. It was a rich source of buffer overflows down the years in Windows and it's apps.

      That essentially guaranteed your filesystem was restricted because significant parts of the OS and most applications couldn't handle anything longer. I've not tested Vista/Win7 but XP's Explorer is affected, it's possible to create directories that Explorer cannot open or even delete because of it. Perversely you can create problem folders *with Explorer* just by cut&pasting.

      Make your own mind up what to think of a developer unaware of that limit. I won't be taking any tips from him/her.

      1. Renato
        Mushroom

        Windows 7's Explorer still uses the Win32 namespaces. This might be why MS is "deprecating" the Win32 API in favour of WinRT. No more backward compatibility with Ye Olde MS-DOS, and who knows, finally WinFS?

        Oh the joy of mkdir \\.\c:\users\userid\desktop\nul

  10. Stephen Hunt
    Go

    And Swype..

    please..

  11. JDX Gold badge

    Graham, EzJ

    @EzK and the AC troll - if you want to turn our discussion into a personal attack, feel free to butt out.

    @Graham - suggesting you use Linux isn't an attack, it's a serious suggestion... if you are writing a data management system that needs this, pick the right tool.

    I still don't think you need all those long names in the first place though. Storing meta-data in the file-name is a bad design decision in my book (no pun intended). If you're writing a data-management system, the obvious solution is to use a database and decouple the file-name from the title.

    1. Graham Wilson
      Meh

      @JDX -- Re Linux

      I've no problem with using Linux when it suits (and I often do).

      Unfortunately, whether I like it or not, in the real world Windows dominates the O/S market and the majority of end users expect to use Windows.

      Secondly, the Linux filing system is one place within Linux where there's little practical difference with Windows. Like Windows, Linux offers a hierarchical tree, directory and file structure but it too doesn't include the 'smarts' of a database filing system.

  12. JDX Gold badge

    @Paul Shirley

    I mis-spoke slightly. I know there IS a MAX_PATH (IIRC you often use it when creating a char-array before calling Win32 API methods), what I meant was I've never written or worked on software which has run into problems in this regard, and I've never heard other developers bitching about it causing them problems either.

    I stand by the claim it's a fairly atypical usage that you need such long file-names. I suppose competent Windows developers write software for their OS, rather than running into these limits all the time.

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