Redesigned Outlook Client on Windows 10 and Windows 10 for Phones
Its been revealed that Windows 10 will include a redesigned Outlook email client. It will be a universal app across all platforms. It has also been announced that it will be the default email client in Windows 10, replacing the current calendar and email Metro apps in Windows 8/8.1.
Not much information on the Outlook client itself currently, but an interesting note in the article was reference to the Microsoft Word engine. Something which is already in use on the desktop client, but isn't part of the Outlook Mobile client on Windows Phone currently, as it has used IE Mobile for rendering since Windows Phone 7.
While Windows Central mentions formatting, I would take that as perhaps the rendering engine as well, but its too early to tell at this point. If it does turn out to be Microsoft Word for rendering email, I am both happy and sad to hear this news. Happy for consitency across the three platforms and sad because, well.. Microsoft Word, enough said really, if its anything like the Desktop currently, oh dear.
I'll be getting my hands on a build of Windows 10 Technical Preview and of Windows Phone 10 (Which will likely be branded as just Windows 10) when they are released through the Windows Insider programme. Currently Microsoft does not have a public build available that contains the Office touch apps, and the preview for phones build has not yet been released but should be dropping sometime in February.
So finally Microsoft released a build that had the new Outlook mail app. I tested it out on a Lumia 635 running Windows 10 for Phones Preview Build 10051. As of right now the Universal app is not available on the desktop builds, but the Office 2016 preview is, and it looks like they very much share the same core. Unfortunately, that is Microsoft Word.
I've done a write up on the initial findings of the Outlook mail app on Windows 10
More will be coming, I just need more time to experiment! Hopefully my initial findings are useful!
Looking at the emails in my inbox, the Outlook Mail app is an absolute train wreck. Worst case scenario confirmed.
What the hell Microsoft!?
I'm with you on that one. That rich authoring experience that Microsoft talked about? Yeah turned out well for email developers..
Lets try and be open about this though, this is a preview build after all. While it looks bad now hopefully things change before the final. Microsoft have proven they can change, particularly when they fixed a lot of the crazy issues in Office 365 OWA.
Best things to do is use the Windows Feedback app and make your voice heard!
Just added my feedback, it's under Apps/Outlook Mail. First line is "Support email standards!".
I wish the Windows Feedback app had better search facility, I was trying to find your feedback submission to do a "Me Too" response, but not finding it. Will keep looking.
I wrote it in the desktop Windows Feedback app. Keeps crashing on mobile.
Yikes, so I assume they're going to cram that bloody Word engine onto iOS, Android and Mac as well? That's madness (I guess not from their viewpoint).
Is the feedback page only limited to registered developers or open to the public?
I'd never thought I'd ask for IE back! The first look at the Oulook mail app on Windows 10 is almost unbelievable on much disregard it has for web standards.
The feedback app is part of the Windows 10 preview builds, so you do have to have it installed to access it. However there are of course several other routes to express your views, particularly blogging and Twitter, copying in some high profile people involved with Windows 10 might be a good idea, Gabe Aul is probably one of these people to try and strike a conversation with.
Yeah looks like we might have to resort to good ol' activism. :P
So I mentioned that the universal apps are not present on desktop yet. Looks like there is a leaked build that does have them in:
Its a rough and ready build however, because its actually an Internal build intended for MS.employees. Apparently it features the new Outlook mail app but its yet to be rebranded. I might hold off until the next official build, though depending on how truly universal the app is, its likely to be the same as what we've discovered already but there's always surprises somewhere!
Well here's my thoughts (hopes)
Last thing I'd want to see is current Word rendering on mobile... Another leap backwards.
I'm pretty confident that it won't be the default mail app as its always been part of the Microsoft Office suite as you've mentioned, though you could obtain it separately with the standalone suite packages, that's less likely these days with Microsoft offering Office 365 subscriptions over the old once off cost packages, similar to how Adobe Creative Cloud is over the Creative Suite versions. That being said, there is chatter regarding universal apps being different and actually pre-installed with Windows 10. Again, until the preview build drops, a lot of this is speculation at this point, but this article caught my attention:
It is sadly looking very likely that Microsoft Word will be the rendering engine. I can't imagine Microsoft having the Word engine for formatting and something else for rendering email, this actually happened with Outlook 2003 where the Word engine was used for formatting and IE for rendering. Maintaining two different engines in one product would of been difficult and time consuming so Microsoft changed this in Outlook 2007, beginning the mass outcry of every email developer hating Outlook 2007+ for its email rendering capabilities, with good reason too! The only saving grace would be if the new Word engine actually supports CSS3 and responsive as you mentioned Michael.
I don't know what role Spartan will play in the new Windows 10, its a new browser, but doesn't appear to be a replacement for IE, not yet anyway. Not much detail has been revealed about it, and I don't believe its going to be in the upcoming Windows 10 preview builds. Rumour has it, its engine is another version of Trident and features tight integration with Cortana amongst other areas, but ultimately designed for mobile and syncing across multiple devices.
Can't wait for the preview to drop to test some of this stuff out!
Uh oh.. according to Paul Thurrot:
I started seeing this point surfacing on articles also. We've heard Microsoft tout that familiar phrase on the Word engine before.... Turned out well.....
Regarding #3. It would be cool if Microsoft decided to use the X-UA-COMPATIBLE meta tag to switch between rendering modes like it did on Windows Phone, although arguably that was probably still using the same rendering engine, just different rendering levels.
The X-UA-COMPATIBLE meta tag is specific to Internet Explorer and your correct, its used to "force" certain document modes, which could be edge or a specific IE version.
The version of the Windows Phone OS essentially dictated what version of IE/IE Mobile was integrated into the OS.
Windows Phone 8/8.1 decides to render with IE 7 standards in the email client by default, compared to 7.5/7.8 which uses IE 9, the most modern available document mode, it makes no sense, but forcing edge solves the issue for Windows Phone 8, again thanks to Michael on finding that original point out.
Windows 10 will include Internet Explorer 12 and Spartan, so the unknown right now is if Windows 10 for phones will remove Internet Explorer and switch to Spartan as is default browser, but equally if the email client goes for full Word rendering or not.
The game changes when you involve Exchange email accounts, because EAS throws in a whole different experience, but that's off topic here!
Just an update, the Windows 10 Preview for Phones was released today, however it doesn't include the new Office apps in this build, so I'm holding off installing it until the universal Outlook app is available. Likewise it was also released for a small subset of Windows Phone devices. I have a spare Lumia 520 and 635, the latter being one of the devices supported at this time, but that's expected to change overtime.
Likewise the public Windows 10 Preview builds on the desktop also don't include the new universal Outlook app, but the preview version of Word, Excel and Powerpoint were released a few weeks ago.
Hang in there!
Cheers for the news James, I look forward (kind of) to update when you get your hands on them!
I know what you mean, I want to get the next Windows 10 preview build running in Virtual Machine ASAP, but I think I won't like what I'll discover...
Pandora's Box!...by the by I'm confused why it says this post is 12 days old and these comment 11 days?!
The new Outlook app has just been released for iOS and Android. Care to take it for a spin?
Mark has got it covered! I unfortunately don't have an iOS or Android Device to test on. I could use the Android SDK but I'd have to find an APK of the new Outlook app to deploy on a AVD.
I will however, cover the Windows Phone version as promised, seems its the ecosystem I am part of! Still waiting for the preview to be released for phones as well as the new technical preview on the Desktop that includes the Office touch apps.
I'm using the new Microsoft Outlook on Android and actually is pretty good! I tested some responsive templates and everything is going well. The rendering looks similar to the android native client. However I don't know if this will be replicated on desktop clients (I truly doubt D': )
Impressed with it myself. Both the UX of the app and the email rendering. Giving it a spin as my default iOS Mail app for a bit.
The Outlook Mail app is now also present in the Windows 10 desktop builds (10061). No surprises. Its behaviour and rendering is the same as mobile, lending to the fact it really is a Universal App. Microsoft Word all over.
Its interesting because the Outlook Mail app on desktop is responsive in the fact the interface adjusts as the window size of the app is adjusted, strange how this approach isn't translated to the actual email preview pane, given the web focus on techniques like responsive design.
Would like to get a better idea on what you mean by responsive in the Outlook Mail app. Does it just mean that if you put width=100% it scales to the window width or if there's some special responsive trick involved?
What I mean is the interface of the Outlook Mail app adjusts based on the window size, menus and panels change based on this, so the app interface itself is responsive. The email pane isn't. So if you have a fixed width type email, you'd get scrollbars like on the mobile. A purely width 100% percentage based email would scale because of this functionality, but a rather limiting design method.
Microsoft calls it Adaptive UX:
No special tricks I've found as of yet. Documentation/API's are pretty scarce right now, but a preview of the Windows 10 SDK is floating around, might take a look soon.