Universal Windows Platform

Microsoft demos Universal Windows Platform

At the Build conference in San Francisco, Microsoft spent a session promoting its new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) that provides a core API layer across devices.  The goal is to make  it easier for developers to extend their Android and iOS apps to the new Windows 10 operating system with a code-base that extends from phones to Xbox, to PCs, tablets and even Microsoft's new HoloLens holographic platform.

David Treadwell, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Operating Systems Group, kicked off a series of demos focused on UWP, emphasizing that developers can target the new application programming interfaces (API) to produce one project package that can run on every device. He also talked about opportunities to tailor programs for best-possible experiences on different devices.

universal windows platform 

"The new adaptive triggers feature lets you respond to changes such as windows size and automatically adjust your layout, all in markup," Treadwell said. "You can tailor [software] on input, orientation, availability of sensors, app services or pretty much any other changes you can detect. You can even create a totally custom XAML here, for each device, all sharing common code."

A series of XAML-focused demos showed how the same app can run, in adapted format, on phone, PC, Xbox and other platforms. The Raspberry Pi demo, for instance, showed how developers can adapt the app for a kiosk scenario, so that the display of library images changes based on detected proximity of users. Another demo showed how the new DirectInk API could be used to add the ability to draw on content displayed on the large-format Surface Hub client.

Bridging Beyond Windows 

Treadwell also talked about the Microsoft Edge browser (previously code-named "Project Spartan"), which is built on the new Microsoft EdgeHTML Web engine. He said Edge is 150 percent faster than Internet Explorer 11 in the JetStream benchmark, and 200 percent faster in the Octane 2.0 benchmark. The new browser also delivers gains in compatibility and functionality, Treadwell said.

"Microsoft Edge leaves behind all the Internet Explorer behaviors...that have been built up over the last 20 years," he said. "It has over 4,200 interoperability improvements to ensure that the Web just works."

More broadly, Treadwell described how Windows 10 makes it possible for Web site code to be packaged as a Windows app in the new OS.

"With Windows 10 you can reuse your existing Web site code and create an app that points directly to your URL," he explained. "You can access universal platform APIs directly through the Web code that came down from your server. And you can distribute the app you made in the Windows Store."

Microsoft's effort to make Windows 10 a host for a wide range of different application types extends beyond the Web. Kevin Gallo, director of Windows Developer Platform at Microsoft, walked through adapting a Windows Presentation Foundation application in Visual Studio to integrate new functionality like Windows toast notifications and and connections to Azure services.

This article originally appeared on Redmond Channel Partner, a sister site to GCN.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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