Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform is not dead, but it has evolved over the years

What you need to know

  • The new claim that UWP is dead has misunderstood what is actually happening.
  • Microsoft focused on the desktop two years ago based on its UWP app strategy.
  • Developers now have more ways to bring apps to Windows 10.
  • UWP is still the primary development platform for future Windows environments.

UPDATE November 11 2019: We are re-upping this post following Microsoft’s answer highlighting plans for the evolution of UWP apps at Ignite 2019. The original story, first published on June 7, 2019, looks like this:

It was over two years ago when I wrote that Microsoft was avoiding Universal Windows Apps (UWA) based on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and focusing more on desktop-style applications in the Microsoft Store. The reasoning at that time was clear. Windows Phone was in the final stages, otherwise the developer reduced one more goal for UWA.

Moving on to 2019, Thurrott and The Verge have seemingly rotating headlines. Both articles have the truth for them, but there’s more misunderstanding among non-developers for most of this year’s non-build developers, UWP, announcements announced by Build this year, and what will be in the future.

Today I want to set the record a little straight, but first let’s define the meaning of UWP.

Nuance is important

Microsoft UWP or UWA?

The Universal Windows Platform dates back to Windows 8 and has led to a new era of computing with Microsoft. The mantra at the time was “three screens and a cloud,” referring to Xbox, PC, and phone.

Of course, what people mean about apps like Microsoft News, Weather, Mail, and apps from third-party developers. Universal Windows App – Apps that run on all three devices with little change.

In contrast, the “Universal Platform” part of UWP refers to the shared APIs and resources that developers can access when building their apps, not the hardware target of the app. This distinction is important as you can see below.

There is a difference between the Univeral Windows platform and Universal Apps

Microsoft often uses these UWPs for short term. This mix of terms has been especially applied during the Windows 8 days, featuring UWA as a native app experience, even on desktop PCs.

Tom Warren of The Verge said, [UWP] After the Windows Phone failed, the dreams really started to disappear, but now it’s well done. “I would argue otherwise. The original failure is a failed tablet strategy that goes back to Windows 8 and UWA should shine. New Start menu experience in Windows 8.1 – and abandonment completely in Windows 10 – UWA has lost momentum on the PC .

The decline and eventually loss of Windows Phone further exacerbated the problem.

Cancel damage

Microsoft Developer mistake

The failure of Microsoft’s Windows tablet and phone experience is undoubtedly a big contributor to undoing the UWP’s emphasis.

However, another reason why Microsoft has tried to fix in the last few years was the claim that developers should convert all “classic” Windows apps to UWA using UWP. This approach is none or not at all, and was largely driven by Microsoft’s build developer events between 2013 and 2016.

Microsoft will meet developers everywhere, regardless of developer platform.

To be fair, Windows 8, PC tablets, and Windows Phone dropped out of UWP, and UWA was foreshadowed earlier. Instead, it failed and UWA’s broad ambitions. (Now Apple and Google are running ironically.)

The developers moved. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet told Kevin Gallo, vice president of the Windows developer platform, “We did not mention the consequences of the results of Win32 and UWP.”

UWP, for example, has not matched the Win32 development capabilities for over 20 years. Even if a developer tried to port a mapping application, there was little motivation to do it if the API and features were missing, or if the mapping API was incomplete or lacked the required functionality.

It is true that Microsoft did not allow developers to port to UWP and make UWA easy. But that change began, and it was especially widespread in Microsoft Build this year. The company took a more harmonious approach. We will meet developers everywhere.

Open to developers

Just call me Windows app

Build (2019) “Associated State: Windows Presentation Platform”

At this point, Microsoft will guide you where you can apply all these changes today. Microsoft’s future is about UPF as well as WPF, Win32 and WinRT. It can be measured using XAML Islands, React Native, Electron, or using the Chrome JavaScript engine for Progressive Web Apps (PWA).

Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, is turning to a comprehensive approach to the company’s structure, services and app development. The company is not far from UWA or UWP, but is backing away from “all or none” mantras. Instead, companies want developers to use it The tools they have Get apps and games on Windows 10 and Microsoft Store.

To share his opinion on the matter Matt Velloso, Technical Advisor, Microsoft CEOThis said:

Why [UWP] Need an identifier? As the walls separating these various Windows development platforms collapse, the more you can use existing code to meet the needs of developers who can evolve, blend, and use what works best.
We do not want cliffs. Pick anything and evolve in any way … life is too short. I don’t get both “need to win this” and stuff.

The point of Velloso is very important. Windows didn’t have a native development platform (close to Win32) due to the openness of the system. Developers can port their apps to introduce new languages, emulation, sandboxing, and scripting age. This is why it makes Windows great.

Nothing has changed with regards to UWPs, but the way we talk about them a few years ago.

As Microsoft brings XAML Islands to Win32 and Fluent Design Language to iOS, Android, and the Web, Microsoft wants to be a one-stop developer house for all developers. The era of platform-centric app developers is fading away. The future is PWP, Electron, React or JavaScript and UWP is already compatible.

UWP target: from “Build UWP apps for multiple devices” (build, 2019)

This new tool, released in Build, allows developers to improve their code using UWP instead of taking existing code from legacy apps and fragmenting it entirely. It gives developers the flexibility to adopt UWPs at the speed they want. There are some legitimate performance improvements in the transition to partial UWPs and some improvements in the XAML scheme (the UWP’s UI elements that can work in Win32 applications) on why developers want to do this.

Why UWP is not dead

Universal Windows App Still important

New “Legere” UWP app for Reddit, released in June 2019

But are true Universal Windows apps dead? In fact, these play an important role in Microsoft’s future computing experience.

Moving from desktop PCs to HoloLens 2, Surface Hub 2, ARM-based Windows, IoT, and Windows Lite, these systems are much more dependent on UWA. Microsoft allows these devices to run “classic” Win32 applications (emulated or virtualized), but Win32 is not the default development platform for such systems (I insist that Win32 is closer to maintenance mode than UWP).

It’s strange that all of this “UWP is dead” has come to a haunt as Microsoft has invested heavily in things like dual-screen PCs and light laptops as a part of its future graphics computing alone. The idea of ​​people running Win32 Adobe PhotoShop on HoloLens or Surface Hub seems quite impossible. This is because Win32 apps are for desktop PCs with powerful x86 processors, not for ARM, optical computing or hologram experience.

The basics of Windows Core OS and Windows Lite are built In UWP as the default app layer. Without UWP, Microsoft could only have a legacy experience, not a new one. There is no alternative.

TL; DR

Microsoft UWP and What does that mean

The failure of the Windows 8 tablet strategy and the collapse of the Windows Phone has left Microsoft’s Universal Windows Apps (UWA) vision much irritated. As Microsoft began to deviate from this approach in early 2017 with UWA and non-mature developer tools, it forced them to rewrite their apps with developer confusion.

As desktop and laptop PCs are again in the spotlight, Microsoft has opened a universal Windows platform for cross-platform tools such as older systems such as Electron, PWA, JavaScript, and Win32. With the announcement of Build 2019, Microsoft now allows developers to mix various developer technologies with UWP to meet developers in their current location.

Pure cross-device Windows apps still play an important role in future non-legacy experiences.

The so-called “pure” UWA still plays an important role for Microsoft and its developers. These apps serve as native app platforms for Windows Core OS, Xbox, HoloLens 2, Surface Hub, and IoT. While this area of ​​computing is still narrow compared to “classic” x86 PCs, we believe that these new systems will grow in importance as we move to cloud and peripheral computing in the next few years.

PC manufacturers also use UWP to provide customized app experiences, configuration tools, and drivers through the Microsoft Store, which is part of the Microsoft Universal Windows Driver program.

No changes were made in relation to UWP or UWA last year. Microsoft’s failed strategy for tablets and phones is old, but the company is adapting to the times. Expecting next-generation computing experiences compared to legacy desktop PCs, UWP still serves as the system’s native (not platform) app platform.

UPW is not dead. It’s just one of the many tools developers need to bring great apps and games to Windows apps.

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