"Wrapping" multiple apps within the same App // Multitasking within an App

16 Jul 2013 - 3:34pm
2 years ago
3 replies
832 reads

I am curious if anyone has come across any well executed examples of multiple apps living within the same app. I know this might sound a bit confusing, but basically think of it like an "App Wrapper" that allows multiple apps to live within it. 

Another way to think about it is multi-tasking within an app, not utilizing the native OS functionality. 

I've had a really hard time finding any examples of this, and I figured that I would throw it out there and see if anyone else has...




26 Jul 2013 - 11:05pm
Larry Tesler

So you are building your own "shell" (or "desktop manager" or "window manager") that manages programs like a native shell does, but which the native shell treats like just another app. And you are hoping to discover existing examples.

If answering some questions below would require disclosure of confidential information, just don't answer them.

Will they be mobile, web or desktop applications? Which platform(s)?

Will one company create all the apps or will there be an API that allows anyone to create a compatible app? If it's the latter, is the plan to make all apps consistent in specified ways?

Will they form a suite of interoperating apps that are launched individually from separate icons (cf. Microsoft Office or iWork)? Or will they be feature sets inside a tightly integrated multi-app that launches from a single icon (cf. the old AppleWorks/ClarisWorks)?

No matter how you answer the above questions, I suspect there are examples out there. Maybe even apps that you have used.


30 Jul 2013 - 3:47am
Ali Rahimi

In the realm multitouch interaction there are a lot of examples for so called App-Launchers or Shells. You could draw some insipiration from them, maybe...

Here are just a few:

Microsoft Pixelsense:

Unedged Arena:

Concept wise there are examples too:


Windows 8.1 Multitasking:



30 Jul 2013 - 9:05am


One of the main ideas here is to be able to do this with no dependency on hardware, so ultimately, it could work across web, phone, tablets, etc. Some of the ideas above are interesting, but most depend on hardware solutions to access global menus, etc. 

Think of it as an ecosystem living within another ecosystem (which could be any device). What I'm struggling with is how to run full screen apps, and retain a way to close the app or open a multitasking dialogue of some sort, without infringing too heavily on the full screen active app, and without involving hardware buttons or interfaces.



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