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Launcher is the menu that displays the applications that are available to users. It looks like a filmstrip and is displayed on top of any applications that are running. The Launcher filmstrip moves across the Microsoft Surface screen and displays an icon for each registered application. Each icon displays an image, the title of the application, and an optional description.

Launcher with several applications.

Launcher showing the registered applications

The following list describes features of Launcher:

  • Launcher appears when a user taps the center access point in the attract application, or when the user slides one of the access points that appear in the corners of the screen while an application is running.

  • Launcher opens with its display oriented to the long side of the device made for Surface. The user can use one of the rotation handles to spin Launcher 180 degrees.

  • When Launcher opens, it scrolls the list of applications from left to right. Users can also scroll it in either direction by using their fingers. To jump to a different point in the list of applications, the user can tap one of the compressed application icons.

  • To start an application, a user simply taps one of the expanded application icons.

  • If a user slides an access point in a running application, the running application shrinks back into Launcher. The user can then start another application from Launcher. (Returning to Launcher does not close an application. The application keeps running in the background.)

  • Multiple applications can run at the same time, but only one instance of each application can run at the same time. Users can restore other running applications by tapping their icons in Launcher. The application opens immediately to its state when it was last used.

  • If a user slides an access point while in Launcher, the user session ends and the Surface system closes all running applications and restarts the Attract application.

    Surface applications are responsible for removing any user data before they close. If your application uses the Presentation layer, complete the cleanup in the Window.Closing event handler. If your application uses the Core layer, complete the cleanup in the Game.Exiting event handler. (For more information about the Presentation and Core layers, see Presentation Layer vs. Core Layer Applications.)

You must supply the following items for Launcher:

  • A static image for the application icon.

  • The application title and description when an application is selected and appears in the center of the filmstrip.

For more information, see Deploying Surface Applications.

Opening an Application

When users start an application by tapping the selected application in the center of Launcher, the Surface screen displays a larger version of the application icon and a progress bar.

Loading screen - Example

A progress bar displayed beneath the icon of an application that is opening

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