Is A Plug-In Free Internet Explorer For Windows 8 Metro Too Restrictive?

In order to get a better grasp on what life under Metro UI is like, I am strongly considering an experiment where I use nothing but the new start menu replacement for all my computing, except in the most dire of circumstances when I have no choice (like I really want to play a PC game).

This means directing almost all my day-to-day activities to Metro.

Considering I primarily blog and write in a word processor, listen to music, and browse the Internet I figured this wouldn’t be that difficult. For the apps like word processing that are currently non-existent in Windows 8 Consumer Preview, my plan is to turn to the net.

Between the apps that Metro does have, and a healthy does of Internet apps, I truly think there is hope for me to be primarily Metro dependent. There is one catch though, Internet Explorer is getting in the way ALREADY.

One of the biggest sources of contention for many users when it comes to Windows 8 (besides maybe Metro, itself) is whether or not it was wise of Microsoft to have two very different versions of Internet Explorer in its newest OS.

The desktop version allows plug-ins and flash, the one inside of Metro is much more ‘minimalist’ in nature and has absolute 100% dependence from add-ons including flash and even java. This is my problem.

Almost every major online word processor I’ve come across so far requires some sort of plug-in like Flash or Java. Google Docs should work, but every time I get out three or four sentences it displays ‘reconnecting to server’. This locks me out, takes a bunch of time, and makes Google Docs a deal-breaker.

What I’m not clear about is whether this is a common problem, or if again it is Metro’s IE that is at fault.

So, my own personal issue with it aside, you have to wonder if there is really a good idea on Microsoft’s part. Two different versions create confusion, but that’s not the biggest problem.

Regardless of what Microsoft says about the death of Flash and other plug-ins that are ‘insecure’, they are still a vital part of the web. Sure, a good deal of Flash programs are starting to offer HTML5 support as a substitute.

Sure, HTML5 is superior. At the end of the day though, the ‘casual’ crowd that Microsoft is trying to reach out to won’t understand why IE isn’t working in mention.

Microsoft can say, “Because HTML5 is the future, and its safer this way,” until they turn blue. The less technical crowd will just think, “That’s dumb. IE isn’t working right.” A compromise solution, which is what Windows 8 promises, should mean that if we want to run things like Flash on IE for Metro, we should be able to.

This is again just my opinion. I really like what Microsoft is doing with Windows 8 and Metro, despite some of the controversy surrounding it.

At the same time I can’t help but feel that they are adding to the confusion by creating uneven capabilities when comparing the desktop to Metro. In order for Windows 8 to truly be successful they must win users over to the new Metro UI.

In order to do that, Metro should be able to do about 75% of what you need to get done, free of the need to chain yourself down to the desktop.

I will continue to look for a decent web-based word processor that works well enough within Metro, because I really do want to give see what it is like to spend at week in Metro, at least for 75-90% of everything I do.

As it stands, I find that Metro gets about 10% of my time. Hopefully Firefox’s Metro app won’t be this restrictive in the near future.

So what do you think about the dual-nature of Internet Explorer? Additionally, is keeping out plug-ins on IE for Metro a good or bad idea in your opinion? Share your thoughts below.

Please Leave Your Comments Below...

  • Anon

    I can see the need to have plug in free on metro for WOA due to security and battery life etc, after all it was partially battery life that kept flash becoming mainstream in the mobile market wasn’t it? 

    I don’t know how hard it would be to code but you would have thought they could have a system in place that detects if its traditional windows or WOA and give it a plug in enabled metro version for x86 users. It will be a lot of annoyance on the consumer side with the lay user if you have to have the cut down version on all versions.

    unrelated note: anyone else finding that if you open the hot spot with the tiles of recently opened apps then you have to move the mouse on the tile from the left edge or the tile will disappear? wondering if is partially my setup (dual screens) and no touch 😛 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5WJGC7242GFDP2QXANKF5WTMEA Rex

    iPple did the same with their devices and everyone complained, but still bought them.  I think by now everyone understands that pluggins dont work on mobile devices.  And moving forward, desktops as well.  I wouldnt be surprised if Safari soon stops support for Plug-ins on all their versions soon too.  Plug-ins have met their doom.  Might as well get used to it.

  • Michael

    try using skydrive and word wep app or excel web app works perfect. 

  • Richard Edge

    IE is not my default browser on Windows 8 for this very reason. One of the daily tasks I use a browser for is to upload my bike ride data from my Garmin which requires the Garmin Communicator Plugin. When I first installed Windows 8, the Modern version of IE was horrid, even with You Tube videos it was a pain with most videos unplayable or not supported in IE. It is the wrong time to disable all plugins and Flash capability claiming HTML5 is the way to go when there are still so many sites using this technology. While that may be way for the future, in the present there are still too many sites requiring Flash or plugins to be usable.

    We have been hearing from the HTML5 only crowd for over a year now and yet there are still many sites that are not even HTML4 compatible. How can anyone claim then that HTML5 support is all that browsers should be supporting. These kind of changes do not happen overnight so developers need to include support for older technologies when said technology is still in widespread use.