Friday, October 22, 2010
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Windows Phone Developer" @ 12:16 PM
A bunch of us reviewers with devices are trying to wrap our heads around how the back button works in relation to applications. There's a bit of controversy here, because a few people are saying that this behaviour is correct - that re-launching the application from scratch is the proper behaviour, while others are saying there's a lack of proper state saving. From my experience using an iPod Touch (pre-multitasking), some apps save the state (also called "Tombstoning") very nicely; if I'm typing an email, and I hit the home button and check a Web site, then hit the home button again, and go back into the email app, the email I was typing is right there. Other apps, such as games, don't handle that same scenario very gracefully, but that's not surprising.
Ultimately I think this issue comes down to Windows Phone 7 developers not fully understanding how to save the state on their apps; hopefully over the next few months they'll figure this out. Microsoft needs to do a better job though of making it crystal clear how apps are ideally supposed to work; this is the first mobile OS from Microsoft in a very long time that hasn't allowed for traditional multi-tasking, so developers might not be thinking about things in the right way.
One thing is indisputable though: the fact that Windows Phone 7 has a back button means it introduces a completely different method of thinking about application states and moving between apps. Microsoft needs to work with their development partners to bring a level of consistency to this experience, or customers are going to be confused - because some reviewers already are!