Microsoft launches Apportals to improve app management on Windows 8

Microsoft is continuing to attempt to reduce Windows 8.x hurdles for its business users with a new app-management tool called Windows Apportals.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is continuing to try to reduce the Windows 8.x hurdles for its business users.


Its latest attempt is a new technology meant to simplify the way apps are grouped, located and distributed that the company is calling Windows Apportals.

Here's how Microsoft officials described Apportals in a July 11 Springboard Series blog post:

"A Windows Apportal is a Windows 8.1 app that can integrate your entire Line of Business (LOB) stack into a single, modern, touch-based experience. The concept behind Apportals is simple – introduce the same nested folder structure common in a desktop OS to the modern mobile OS. The result is a UI experience that allows the user to drill from the Start screen (composed of Live Tiles) to another mini-Start screen (composed of Grid Tiles). And best of all, because an Apportal is built out of the OS, everything that runs on Windows runs in a Windows Apportal, including Desktop Windows 7 Applications; Modern Windows 8 Apps; and Web Applications."

Here's a simplier explanation, courtesy of Windows IT Pro's Rod Trent.

Trent noted that it can be tricky to find apps once they are installed on Windows 8. Sometimes they are pinned to the Start screen. Sometimes they are on the App screen. And scrolling horizontally, as one does with Windows 8, rather than vertically, can make the task even harder. (As Trent notes, users could simply search for their installed apps, but many don't do that.)

With Apportals, Microsoft is trying to eliminate this complexity. Trent explains how this will work:

"If you have a series of apps related to the HR department, you can group all of these apps under a special HR Tile. Once a user taps the HR tile, a new Start screen open and show all of the apps configured to display there."

Apportals will be deployed and automatically updated through users' Corporate App Store. They will include support Desktop Windows 7 applications, Windows Store/Metro-Style Windows 8 applications and Web applications or any combination thereof in a single Apportal. Enterprise users will be able to build their own Apportals or rely on Microsoft partners to build them on their behalf.

Microsoft officials are on tap to provide further details about Apportals at the Worldwide Partner Conference the week of July 14.

Editorial standards