Microsoft announced Windows Apportals, a portal technology that allows organizations to create custom portals for modern apps, Windows 7 applications, web apps, and embedded apps (enterprise-specific apps).
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The front end of an Apportal is a Windows 8.1 app, which has the look and feel of the Windows 8 Start Screen. You can have tiles for multiple Apportals on a Start Screen. Doing so allows you to create a nested folder structure for your applications.

Windows Apportals

Windows Apportals

Clicking an Apportal tile on the Start Screen opens the Hub View, the homepage of an Apportal that consists of groups of tiles. The tiles of an Apportal, called Grid tiles, have the same functionality as the Start Screen’s Live tiles except that the end user can’t move them.

The Grid tiles can represent modern apps, desktop applications, pinned links, and Line of Business (LOB) apps. Organizations can leverage Active Directory to present different Apportals based on user roles. The data displayed in the Grid tiles may be user-dependent as well. In addition, users can hide groupings they don’t need.

The main point of Windows Apportals is that all kinds of applications that an organization uses are integrated into one user interface. Even though the application may depend on different technologies (desktop application, modern app, web app), the Apportal is supposed to unify the end user experience. Thus, anything that can run on a Windows machine can be integrated in Windows Apportals.

To deploy Apportals to Windows 8.x machines, you need a Corporate App Store. Microsoft offers the Windows Apportal Prototype Generator, a modern app that is relatively easy to use, for creating Apportals. However, this tool is only good for creating example Apportals that consultants can use for demonstration purposes. For productions systems, Apportals are created by developers with Visual Studio using C# and XAML.

The whole process of creating an Apportal appears to be rather complicated to me. If you look at the Discovery Roadmap below, you’ll notice that Microsoft mostly targets large organizations with Windows Apportals.

Windows Apportal - Discovery Roadmap

Windows Apportal - Discovery Roadmap

Windows Apportals is a Windows 8.1 feature, and there are no additional licensing costs. If you want to learn more about how Apportals are created, you can download the 215-page Builder Guide (click “Build it yourself” on this page).

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