What is a Metro application?

Recently Microsoft has introduced a new design language called ‘Metro’ that comes along with the ‘Windows8 OS’.

Microsoft’s description of the metro language: “METRO is our design language. We call it metro because it’s modern and clean. It’s fast and in motion. It’s about content and typography. And it’s entirely authentic”.

“Metro style apps are full screen apps tailored to your users’ needs, tailored to the device they run on, tailored for touch interaction, and tailored to the Windows user interface. Windows helps you interact with your users, and your users interact with your app.”

How are Metro applications different from traditional windows applications?

A lot of differences exist between metro applications and traditional windows applications. You will see the huge difference in the user interface itself. Metro style applications are also referred as “Windows store apps”.

1. Metro applications use tiles whereas the traditional windows applications use icons

Icons in the traditional windows applications are just a shortcut but the tiles in the metro applications can do a lot of things. You can get live updates of your application through tiles. Example: weather report, email notifications.

2. Metro apps have single windows

Metro applications do not have minimize, maximize, resize and close buttons. It has a single window which fills the entire screen and gives the better user experience.

3. Multiple views of metro application

Metro apps support multiple views like Snap view, Fill view and Full screen view. By default it will adjust its display and allows the user can work on more than one application at a time.

4. Metro app responds to various gestures

Metro applications respond to various gestures to provide a more natural and real world experience when interacting with the application. It is designed for touch based devices, also it can work well with the mouse and keyboard.

5. Metro app can share data between apps

Metro apps can share content with other applications as well as it can receive content from other applications.

6. Metro app supports orientations

Metro application supports both landscape and portrait orientations.

7. Metro app uses system controls

Metro applications use system controls like Charm bar, App bar.

App bar presents commands, controls, navigations and tools to the users. The app bar appears at the bottom of the screen and it can be dismissed by the user with an edge swipe, or by interacting with the app.

Charm bar is a toolbar of windows 8. You can access the charm bar by dragging your mouse pointer to the top or bottom right corner of the screen or you can press Windows + C button to invoke the charm bar. Charm bar will pop up on the right side of the screen containing five buttons that are Search, Share, Start, Devices and Settings.

Metro application testing

How to test Metro applications?

Testing the metro style applications and verifying its functionality is the critical step and we need to verify that the users have a great experience with the app. It includes verifying the behavior of the application when it is launched in different contexts, verifying the functionality of the application and verifying the behavior of the application when it transit through various states of metro application life cycle.

Here are the few high level verification areas you can find in the below mind map, that we need to verify during the metro application testing.

Metro app

Activation Behavior:

RunTime Behavior:

Application behavior when not running:

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