HTML and CSS Reference
Adding Live tiles
— Marie Curie
The Microsoft Windows 8 and Windows Phone user interfaces are characterized by colorful blocks
that remind many users of those old-fashioned icons that made earlier versions of Microsoft Win-
dows so popular. However, the new blocks are significantly larger than icons and are displayed side by
side under the control of the operating system. The blocks are referred to as tiles . The term tile mostly
refers to the shape and size of the graphical element. Tiles in Windows 8 (as well as tiles in Windows
Phone) have an additional and fairly interesting capability: they can display tailored information
generated by the application appropriate for the needs of the user who installed the application. Such
tiles are referred to as Live tiles .
An icon is a static image that makes it quick and fast for users to identify the application. The icon,
though, never changes on its own to reflect the current state of the application. A Live tile, on the
other hand, is a sort of an application appendix that passes some content to the operating system,
which then displays that information to the user even when the application is offline or not running.
From a developer's perspective, dealing with Live tiles requires becoming familiar with a new
application programming interface (API), and the concept of an application notification. . In this
chapter, you'll work through an exercise that adds Live tiles to the TodoList application you built in
What's a Live tile anyway?
Figure 13-1 shows the Start screen of a Windows 8 machine. Each block in the user interface
represents an installed application. While a Live tile can be active and kept up to date, in most cases
(such as when the application is offline) the tile is just a newer and snazzier version of the plain
icons used in previous versions of Windows. In Figure 13-1, all the tiles are static and show only the
application's logo and name.