Today at Microsoft’s Build 2016 new developer related opportunities were announced in conjunction with the upcoming release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, aka Redstone 1, which is expected this summer.
Although today’s keynote kicked off with Windows 10 and this update as its primary focus it quickly moved into how this update benefits developers in what Microsoft has labeled their open development ecosystem.
“For over thirty years, Windows has been an open ecosystem, welcoming the contributions of hardware and software partners and developers around the world. Nothing changes with the Universal Windows Platform – it brings together the openness that is part of Windows’ history, as well as everything that you expect from a modern application platform – like robust install, uninstall, and seamless updates. Our goal is for Windows to be the best platform for ALL developers – making Windows their home and getting the best return on their investment in their code.”
This article will focus on the developer aspects of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update but if you want to read about the new features that are expected be sure to check out my article about that over on SuperSite for Windows.
So, there were three main areas that the Windows team talked about development for the Windows platform.
- Hosted Web Apps have done very well for web developers on Windows 10 and companies like American Express, BBC Sport and Yahoo Mail. With full access to the Windows 10 API and the ability to use system features like Live Tiles and Notifications, developers with web apps save the work of needing to program an entirely new app to deliver their service across the ecosystem.
- The new Desktop App Converter announced today, aka Project Centennial, will allow Win32 and .Net developers to get their desktop programs into the Windows Store in the form of apps with full access to the Windows 10 APIs for Live Tiles and Notifications. There is no modification needed to the original Win32 and .Net code to make the conversion.
- A brief mention was made of Xamarin helping developers to be able to share more of their code across platforms. I expect that will get a lot more detail and demos in the Day 2 Keynote.
On a separate blog post over on the Building Apps for Windows blog, Kevin Gallo shares that the Windows 10 Anniversary Update SDK Preview is now available for developers to get started with these new features.
While there were several additions discussed during the keynote, there were others that were not covered due to a lack of time on stage:
- Connected Devices: We are bringing new ways to connect to, communicate with, and manage multiple devices and apps. This technology enables Cortana extensibility and the new Action Center in the Cloud, and it’s being introduced today.
- Background execution: We are bringing the ability to run your application in the background without requiring two separate processes. Along with extended execution and opportunistic tasks, writing applications that run when they need to will become simpler and more powerful.
- App Extensions: UWP now supports app extensibility allowing you to build an ecosystem based on your application. Microsoft Edge uses this technology for its own extensions.
- Action Center in the Cloud: Enables your app to engage with users on all their devices. You can now dismiss notifications on one device and they will be dismissed everywhere.
- Windows Store & Dev Center: Significate new tools include user roles in Dev Center, app flighting, improved analytics, an analytics API that allows you to grab your data and use it outside of the dashboard, user segmentation and targeting, A/B testing, app subscriptions, advertising improvements, and more.
The following SDK related updates were discussed on stage and demoed and are available in this updated Anniversary SDK as well:
- Windows Ink APIs: Together we will unlock new natural ways of interacting with our apps with Windows Ink. Just two lines of code enable you to bring the “Hello World” of Windows Ink into your apps through the InkCanvas and new InkToolbar controls. One level down, the InkPresenter provides a powerful and flexible way to extend the InkToolbar and to create customize ink experiences. In all cases, the platform provides beautiful low-latency ink rendering, handwriting recognition, and ink data management.
- Cortana APIs: Nearly 1,000 apps are already using voice commands with Cortana. Now Cortana allows you to go further and integrate proactive actions with your apps. As a developer, you can drive increased user engagement by registering actions with Cortana that she will use to connect users to your apps at just the right time. Check out the new Cortana portal where you can request access to the beta.
- Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition begins shipping: The Windows Holographic SDK and emulator are now available for download and Microsoft HoloLens Development Edition is starting to ship to developers. These will enable you to create holographic apps using UWP. Our documentation and forums are up and running. We’re also happy to share a number of open source projects, HoloToolkit, HoloToolkit-Unity, and Galaxy Explorer, which will accelerate your development of holographic apps, and give you an opportunity to contribute back to help others building on the platform. Developers can now bring existing UWP apps to HoloLens where they will work on 2D surfaces within the virtual world.
The live demos, which you should watch when the on-demand replay is available on Channel 9, were impressive and I am looking forward to trying them out in the near future on a Windows Insider build.
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