Microsoft Discusses More About The Windows 10 Universal Developer Story

Posted on March 2, 2015 by Alan Walsh

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We already knew that Windows 10 was going to run on a variety of devices. These include the Internet of Things, phones, tablets, desktops, laptops, Xbox One, large-screen PPI displays such as Surface Hub and of course, the Microsoft HoloLens. Today, at a press conference at Mobile World Congress, Microsoft shared some additional details of the developer story for Windows 10 and even showed a Universal App running on the Xbox One. It’s important to note that this event wasn’t live-streamed and more details will be revealed at Build for Windows 10 developers. I’ll try simplifying this as much as possible for those of you who aren’t big into developer talk.

Microsoft is focused on the ‘One Core’ idea when it comes to building Universal Windows Apps. Kevin Gallo outlined today that Window 10 apps will truly be written once, with one set of business logic and even one UI and these apps will delivered to the ‘One Store’ as one package. These apps can reach every Windows 10 device the developer wants them on and they’ll scale based on input model and screen size. The bottom line is that developers will be able to create one app that runs on mobile, desktop, console, holographic and IoT. The new UAP (Universal App Platform) that Microsoft are building for Windows 10 sits on top of the Windows core, acting as) a superset of WinRT (the runtime currently used on Windows 8/8.1 and Windows RT/RT8.1).

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Universal Apps will also have Adaptive UX. This means an interface that adapts based on what device the consumer is using it on. So the right capabilities are accessed for the right device. Separate ‘project heads’ or ‘UI definitions’ are no longer needed for large and small screens. The controls given will also optimize based on touch, controller or keyboard and mouse. Natural inputs such as speech, inking, gestures and user gaze will also be easily to incorporate into apps and Windows handles all of these inputs. Developers only need to discover which inputs apply to their app. Windows 10 will also bring more ways for Developers to access cloud-based services including Cortana AI, OneDrive and Application Insights as well as Azure. Consumer-facing features like apps will also be launch-able directly in Cortana search results and Windows 10 will bring a more consistent and actionable notification experience to all Windows devices.

HTML based Developers will get a number of advancements for the modern web with ‘Project Spartan’. These include a new rendering engine that enables a consistent mobile experience with the desktop used by the WebView control. Spartan will also be a Windows Universal App and will be updated through the Windows Store. There will also be Web Apps. Windows 10 will allow developers to create web packages that can be published from the store. These packages once installed as an app can call Universal API’s from JavaScript for a more engaging user experience.

The first preview of this Windows 10 Cordova platform will be available later this month to give developers a preview of the update. Spartan will also be available in the next build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview.

Tom Warren from The Verge was at the event in person where they showed the first Universal Windows 10 App running on Xbox One. Default Apps are deployed to the console like on Windows 8 today, this is where you don’t have any images or names in the application if you understand. So the app is bare, it may contain coding but the tile and name of the app hasn’t been changed.

Image courtesy of Tom Warren from The Verge. Here’s an application deployed onto an Xbox One. The same way how it is on Windows today.

The next image shows the actual app running on the Xbox One. This app is a sample Barcelona travel app showing maps, hotels and places to eat and drink. So a basic travel app. This app has been adjusted for Xbox One control but features the same UI across mobile, desktop and so forth.

I recently wrote about how Microsoft is planning to introduce Universal Apps in November with the SDK coming in May. Next month, during Build 2015 in April, Microsoft plan to discuss more details about what’s next for Windows developers and developing for this ‘OneCore’ and ‘OneStore’. Microsoft will also share more about Xbox One and Windows 10 gaming during E3 2015 and Gamescom 2015 conferences. More about the gaming side of Windows 10, DirectX12 and Xbox One will be revealed at 16 panels this week at GDC with Xbox Head Phil Spencer hosting a conference tomorrow.

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