Software engineering can actually be fun as well as hard work. Recently, Microsoft released their "consumer preview" of Windows 8, probably due for a full release in October with Windows Server 8 hot on its heels. With the new operating system comes a new user interface - Metro - designed for touch screens on Windows tablets. Our Engineering department were keen to play with it: what's Metro like? How does the touch screen behave? More crucially, how well will our Geo-Replicator product work with the new operating system?
Well, the good news is that the product installs and works fine on the normal Windows desktop (although, obviously, neither iOra nor Microsoft will support that combination just yet!). But after the playing came the discussions, and the thinking, and the questions: should Geo-Replicator have a presence on the the Metro interface? How would it work for a touch screen? How about using "live tiles"? What about ARM tablets? And so on. Lots to think about, lots to discuss.
There can be no definite answers yet. We're discussing it internally. We're discussing it with our customers and partners to find out what they need. We want to get it right. Metro is great, but how should it apply to enterprise-scale replication?
Software interface design is important, as Microsoft and Metro have shown. The answers we get will feed into our work on improving the user experience ("UX") and user interface ("UI") for Geo-Replicator. This work has already begun, driven by great customer feedback, deep thinking and internal prototypes, and we're confident that very soon Geo-Replicator will be even better. It's hard work keeping up with new technologies and new interfaces, but fun too. Watch this space!