Building an app for Windows 10 is suddenly looking like a compelling offer, with Microsoft talking about getting its new software on 1 billion devices within the next 2-3 years.
Microsoft has made it a lot easier to build apps for Windows 10, with its new universal Windows app project as well as being able to port existing apps built for other platforms onto Windows.
With Windows 8.1 the company introduced Universal Windows 8 apps allowing devs to target Windows PC as well as Windows Phone with a shared codebase.
However, with Windows 10, Microsoft has unveiled Universal Windows Platform (UWP) that provides a guaranteed core API layer across devices. Devs can create a single app package that can be installed onto a wide range of devices, and a single store makes it easy to publish apps across all device types.
Microsoft has also built-in redundancies that allow developers to target just one of the device families, more than one device family or exclude support for a particular device family.
Check out Microsoft’s guide to Universal Windows Platform (UWP) Apps here.
Windows 10 Universal Apps
In order to build a Windows 10 Universal app, developers will have to download Microsoft Visual Studio and select the Windows Universal App Development Tools to get started.
Developing and testing apps on a Windows 10 device requires no developer license, instead the device just needs to be enabled for development.
The Universal Windows Program introduces new controls that adapt their appearance for different types of devices, layouts, and orientations. [Read: adaptive controls]
Since most APIs have been converged into the Windows Universal SDK, most of the code will run across desktops as well as mobile, however, Microsoft has added controls to selectively run code on different devices.
Further, Microsoft has added controls for apps to handle different orientations and screen sizes, device-specific views for pages, porting existing Windows 8.1 universal apps and migrating existing Window 10 universal apps from previous releases.
A First Look at Building Windows 10 Universal Apps [Video]
Porting Apps To The Windows Runtime
One of the most exciting features for developers in Windows 10 is the redefinition of universal apps.
Whether you have a Windows Phone Silverlight app, a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) app, a “desktop” Microsoft Silverlight app, or an Android or iOS app, developers can bring them all to the Windows Runtime (WinRT).
Porting apps on to WinRT will allow developers to easily support PCs, tablets, and phones from one code base.
Here’s a handy guide on how to develop a Windows Runtime App.
Windows Phone Silverlight > WinRT
WPF and Microsoft Silverlight > WinRT
Android > WinRT
iOS > WinRT
Web > WinRT
Since Windows 10 will support apps that may not be built for rival platforms such as iOS and Android, it shouldn’t be too common for developers to not own a PC.
Devs with Macs can use an emulator of Boot Camp to run Windows 8.1 and Microsoft Visual Studio in order to build Windows Universal Apps.
How to Port Android apps to Windows Store apps [Video]
How to Port iOS apps to Windows Store apps [Video]