With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft introduced the world to a new kind of user interface: Live Tiles. This new UI metaphor provides a couple of benefits to developers and end-users alike: developers can update the tile on a regular basis to provide visible up-to-date information to the user, and can better organize the main entry point into their apps. The user experience is much improved: users don't have to run the app to view important information and there is only one app entry point (the tile itself). To help WinForms developers introduce this UI experience within their desktop applications, we released a complete set of WinForms TileControls in 2011.

Despite this, there is a bit of a disconnect between Windows 8 Tiles on the Start Screen and non-Modern-UI desktop apps. Bridging this disconnect is the reason we engineered the DevExpress WinRT Live Tile Manager.

The idea is simple: allow a WinForms desktop app to create, display and update Live Tiles on the Windows 8 Start Screen, such that when the user clicks the tile, the desktop app is invoked and will respond. To accomplish this, we ship a fully-compliant Windows Store App - the Live Tile Manager.

WinForms Tiles Control
DevExpress Live Tile Manager

The Live Tile Manager will analyze running desktop apps to determine if they support the Live Tile Manager interface. For each found, it will collect one or more tiles exposed by the app and pin them to the Start Screen. It will also respond to clicks or touch gestures on these tiles and route the event to the relevant app on the desktop.

The DevExpress Live Tile Manager includes the following built-in features so you can build a bridge between your WinForms app and the Windows 8 Start Screen:

  • Display Live Tiles for WinForms desktop apps built using the DevExpress WinRT Live Tile Manager.
  • Managing Live Tiles in the Start Screen via Pin/Unpin buttons.
  • Automatic communication between desktop apps and the Windows Start Screen.
  • Automatic update of Live Tiles when receiving notifications from a desktop app.
  • Launching a desktop app when clicking a Live Tile, even if the desktop app has been closed.
  • Displaying Live Tiles for multiple desktop apps at the same time.
  • Displaying multiple Live Tiles for the same desktop app.
  • Ability to switch to a specific module within the desktop app.

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