Windows are the basic ingredients in traditional desktop applications—so basic that the operating system itself is named after them.

In the years since the window model was introduced, simplified page-based applications have often challenged the window model. The first and most successful challenger was the Web, with its range of app-like websites that run in the browser. But the page-based model of the Web has also crept into the territory of the desktop. Today, you’ll find that Microsoft is busy creating a design framework called Metro, which favors simplified, touch-friendly interfaces that don’t use windows at all. And ...

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