Microsoft Offers First Look At The Windows 10 Universal App Platform

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At MWC today, Microsoft offered the first look at their Windows 10 Universal App platform coming later this year. With Windows 10, Windows across all devices are now running on a single, unified Windows core. This enables one app to run on every Windows device – phone, the tablet or laptop, the PC , and the Xbox console. Even the HoloLens, Surface Hub, and IoT devices like the Raspberry Pi 2. The new universal platform enables a new class of Windows universal apps – apps that are truly written once, with one set of business logic and one UI. Apps that are delivered to one Store within one package. Apps that are able to reach every Windows 10 device the developer wants to reach.

The universal app platform is designed to help you quickly build these new mobile experiences that are both consistent yet flexible, enabling you to deliver a unique, highly-personalized experience to delight and engage your customers across each device family you target. We do this by providing a number of platform capabilities that do most of the runtime adaptation work for you, and doing so intelligently, allowing you to focus on delighting the customer:

  • Adaptive UX: enables your app’s user interface to fluidly adapt at runtime based on how the customer is interacting with your app and the available device capabilities – rendering an experience that is contextually appropriate.
    • Screen layout: In addition to base app model improvements, we have improved the ViewStateManager to make it easier to create more adaptive experiences. This means that your universal app projects no longer require separate project heads or UI definitions for small and large screens, although we will still provide the option of separate UI definitions should you prefer it.
    • User controls: Windows 10 will determine, at runtime, how the customer is interacting with your app and render the appropriate user experience (e.g. on a laptop with a touch-screen, an app fly-out control will provide larger touch-targets if tapped with touch, as opposed to clicked with a mouse).
    • Natural user inputs: Windows 10 helps you build an app experience that is more personal and more human, by making it easy to incorporate natural user inputs into your app, such as natural speech, inking, gestures, and user gaze. Because Windows handles all of these inputs, we free you from needing to worry about how to parse the input for meaning – you only need to worry about which inputs are appropriate for your app and we’ll determine if they are present and parse the intent for you.
    • Cloud-based Services: Windows provides a number of services for use in your apps, such as Windows Notification Services (WNS), Windows roaming data and the Windows Credential Locker. With Windows 10, we are making more Windows services available to developers, including an expanded Cortana AI, OneDrive, and Application Insights. Beyond Windows, we continue to make it easier to take advantage of Microsoft Azure using services like Azure Mobile Services and the Azure Notification Hub.

    But we know that your mobile experience doesn’t end when the customer closes your app. There are a number of Windows shell advances that are enabled by universal platform advances, making it easier to keep your customers engaged and getting your apps launched more often. Examples include:

    • Cortana integration: Apps now appear (and can be launched) directly in Cortana search results, with installed apps given highest priority in the search results.
    • Action Center: Windows 10 brings a more consistent and actionable notification experience to all Windows devices.

    Lastly, I’d like to call out that the universal app platform is at the heart of Windows 10 itself with much of the shell running on the platform, in addition to a number of our key Windows experiences (e.g. a number of in-box apps, the Windows Store, and the ‘Project Spartan’ browser, to name a few). And the same animations, APIs, and controls used by these app experiences are available to you. You can feel confident that this platform has been ‘battle-tested’ and is ready for you to build mobile experiences that delight your customers, just as we are.

    Maximizing investments in your app and web code
    Windows 10 is about making it easier for you and your code to do more and go further with a new platform built to maximize and extend your existing investments, both in your code and your skills.

    We’ve designed Windows 10 to continue to support existing Windows apps and desktop applications on the devices for which they were developed. And we’re working to make it as easy as possible for you to bring those investments forward to the new universal app platform.

    For our HTML developers, Windows 10 provides a number of advances for the modern web:

    • New rendering engine: The new engine frees you from having to do platform-specific work to deliver a consistent mobile experience and is included in Internet Explorer 11, in our new ‘Project Spartan’ browser, and will be used by the WebView control.
    • ‘Project Spartan’: The ‘Project Spartan’ browser itself is a Windows universal app and updated via the Store – helping ensure it is always kept up-to-date.
    • Web Apps: Windows 10 will make it easy for you to create a Windows app that packages your website for publishing to the Store. Once installed, your website can update and call Universal APIs from JavaScript, creating a more engaging user experience.

    Microsoft will go into all of the universal platform technical details at Build.

    Read more about it at Windows blog.

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