At Build 2020 at this time, Microsoft unveiled Project Reunion, its newest try to unify the Windows developer platform by decreasing fragmentation between Win32 APIs and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) APIs. Microsoft additionally guarantees Project Reunion can modernize current apps with the most recent performance, whether or not they’re constructed utilizing C++, .NET (together with WPF, Windows Forms, and UWP), or React Native. Additionally, it will possibly decouple the APIs from Windows by way of instruments like NuGet, and it brings new WinUI Three and WebView2 releases.

Microsoft began pushing UWP — its platform for growing apps that run on Windows 10, Windows 10 Mobile, Xbox One, and HoloLens — with the discharge of Windows 10 in July 2015. (Microsoft buffs will bear in mind, nevertheless, that it has its roots in Windows 8.) When it grew to become clear that builders weren’t embracing UWP apps in droves, the corporate shifted focus again to its tried-and-true Win32 platform. Ever since, Microsoft has been trying to bridge the divide between Win32 (additionally known as the Windows API) and UWP APIs. In brief, Project Reunion is Microsoft’s newest try to “make it easier to build a great Windows app.”

As of March, Windows 10 runs on 1 billion month-to-month lively units (PCs, Xbox One consoles, and HoloLens units). It’s an enormous platform for builders to focus on. And Microsoft stated earlier this month that the coronavirus pandemic has exploded engagement. Users are spending greater than four trillion minutes on Windows 10 a month, a 75% improve year-over-year. Developers thus have extra cause than ever to enhance current apps — and construct new apps — for Windows 10.

Also earlier this month, in response to the pandemic Microsoft delayed Windows 10X and its dual-screen PC imaginative and prescient (initially set for vacation 2020) to 2021. Instead, the variant will come to laptops first. Microsoft executives confirmed to VentureBeat that any apps builders construct at this time with Project Reunion will work on Windows 10X units.

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What’s totally different this time?

Microsoft has been on a years-long journey to unify the APIs in Win32 and UWP, including extra frequent APIs and interoperable code between the 2. Still, each time Microsoft tries to enhance the scenario, builders have to attend for the most recent model of Windows.

This time, Microsoft is borrowing an concept from the online — polyfill — with the introduction of packages. A polyfill is a bit of code that gives trendy performance on older browsers that don’t natively help it. As Microsoft introduces new APIs, builders hyperlink in opposition to a package deal, and in the event you’re on an older model, Microsoft will polyfill the performance as finest it will possibly to make use of within the new model. The better part is that these packages will work from a Win32 or UWP app. The assortment of packages thus turns into a standard API service between Win32 and UWP. Best of all, Microsoft can do that throughout its 1 billion units, instantly. Microsoft EVP Rajesh Jha defined the end in a briefing forward of Build 2020.

“We’re bringing together the combined power of Win32 and UWP,” Jha stated. “So developers no longer have to choose, because we’re unifying these existing APIs — in some way decoupling them from the OS. And so the developers are confident that as they use these APIs, they will work across all of Windows. And Project Reunion allows developers to not only modernize their app so it runs efficiently, locally, on a physical Windows machine, but it can also deliver a great experience when streamed from the cloud — such as remote apps or Windows Virtual Desktop. And so you’re now running Windows, not only on Windows, but iOS and Android and Mac and Linux from the cloud.”

WinUI Three and WebView2

Microsoft at this time additionally launched WinUI 3 Preview 1, which lets builders use UWP help in Win32 apps. Windows UI XAML Library (WinUI) is among the well-liked Windows frameworks that Microsoft tried to deemphasize after debuting UWP. Now, Microsoft describes it as “the high-performant, Fluent-optimized framework for Windows.”

Microsoft’s Project Reunion bridges Win32 and UWP divide, again

For occasions whenever you wish to combine internet content material in your native app to share code throughout platforms, there’s WebView. Microsoft at this time expanded WebView2 with a .NET preview that lets builders embed a Chromium-based WebView of their Windows Forms, WPF, or UWP app. Because WebView2 is decoupled from the OS, it presents full internet performance with out being locked into a particular model of Windows.

Microsoft expects each previews to hit common availability by the top of the 12 months.

NuGet, MSIX, and .NET

Speaking of decoupling, Microsoft at this time launched the preview of a Windows SDK Build Tools NuGet package deal that helps builders undertake MSIX. By factoring out Windows SDK instruments into their very own NuGet package deal, builders can scale back dependencies and combine Windows SDK construct instruments into CI/CD pipelines.

Additionally, MSIX is getting some love as organizations shift to allow distant work by way of Windows Virtual Desktop for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows. A brand new characteristic known as MSIX App Attach separates the OS picture that organizations deploy within the cloud from the apps that individuals have to entry remotely. As a consequence, Microsoft guarantees the characteristic makes roaming between VMs sooner and cheaper when operating apps in Windows Virtual Desktop on Azure. IT admins may also load stability their workforce extra successfully and get extra density out of their VMs. In brief, it interprets to decrease storage, efficiency, and startup prices.

Microsoft at this time additionally launched a brand new Windows SDK .NET package deal in preview and launched C#/WinRT. The former supplies a .NET interop meeting for all Windows WinRT APIs. The latter is a software to create WinRT projections for .NET that may let managed .NET 5 functions name Windows WinRT APIs and third-party WinRT parts.

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