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So I'm reading up about the differences between the old and the new APIs, and I can't find whether the new WinRT API will provide for desktop apps, so far it seems its only available to write Metro apps - ie the full screen, 'phone style' apps.

Does this mean that I can write a WinRT-based app and it will be invoked from a desktop but display like other Metro apps (eg IE) and I won't be able to write an old-style desktop app that runs in the old-style desktop?

What does this mean for server side apps? I imagine WinRT would be the API of choice for servers, now that Windows Server comes with an optional GUI, so I imagine that if I can write a windows-less app using WinRT for the server, I should be able to write the same for the client too? (and if that's the case, surely I could connect a non-Metro UI to it)

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WinRT demystified by Miguel de Icaza –  spong Sep 15 '11 at 16:08

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

So I'm reading up about the differences between the old and the new APIs, and I can't find whether the new WinRT API will provide for desktop apps, so far it seems its only available to write Metro apps - ie the full screen, 'phone style' apps.

All WinRT more or less is a modified library similar to Win32.

WinRT is the Metro version of Win32, they took a great deal of complexity away from it, and made it easy to work with.

Does this mean that I can write a WinRT-based app and it will be invoked from a desktop but display like other Metro apps (eg IE) and I won't be able to write an old-style desktop app that runs in the old-style desktop?

In theory you would write a desktop application and add WinRT code in order to display a Metro style UI when the user requested it.

What does this mean for server side apps? I imagine WinRT would be the API of choice for servers, now that Windows Server comes with an optional GUI, so I imagine that if I can write a windows-less app using WinRT for the server, I should be able to write the same for the client too? (and if that's the case, surely I could connect a non-Metro UI to it)

Don't guess...Power Shell( the name escapes me if this is wrong ) is still king in Windows Server

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Microsoft is saying that you can, but that there's no documentation on it yet:

http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/winappswithnativecode/thread/e65f53b4-cac9-44e3-aa10-cd7955d6a9b3

We have received a number of inquiries in this area. The documentation will be expanding as the Windows 8 project progresses to include more API specific details.

It is possible to use WinRT from Desktop applications. WinRT APIs may be tied to Metro style apps, Desktop apps or potentially available to both. The documentation will list which environments (Desktop, Metro style or both) a given API works in.

Note: Custom WinRT components are only supported in Metro style applications. They are not supported in Desktop applications.

I don't know why they'd leave us in the dark for two public releases on something this important. Then again, Microsoft's inability to communicate lately has been bordering on pathological...

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You can very well run apps designed for WinRT on desktops, only limitation here you need to keep in mind is that it will not run on previous operating systems like Windows 7, Windows Vista and Windows XP and so on.

And since now more and more monitors are becoming touch screen so end-user should not have any problem in running your app on dektop, but if you are targeting users who are going to use keyboard and mouse than it might be frustrating to replicate the gestures and innovation of top and bottom app bar, so it is a good idea to keep the semantic zoom and gesture related action to minimal.

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