This is the end of the UWP and Win32 applications

windows 10 19h1

Along with the disaster of Windows 10 Mobile, developers have little reason to switch to the Universal Windows Platform. The rest, fortunately, will not be forgotten or wasted.

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is an attempt to thoroughly rebuild the Windows application development environment. This platform is built not only on modern foundations, but also offered the developers an additional advantage: it was truly universal in the context of Windows 10. The same UWP application code will work on any device with Windows 10 - no matter if we are talking about a phone, tablet or powerful machine working.

UWP, however, has several problems. First, freshness and modernity does not mean maturity. To this day, many activities available for classic Win32 applications are not available for the UWP application.

And secondly, the promise of operation on all devices has lost its importance when Microsoft finished the development of Windows 10 Mobile.

windows 10 win32 uwp

UWP is now required only if we plan to offer our application also for Xbox consoles and mixed reality goggles - and thus for a very niche recipient. Windows tablets and PCs will successfully cope with the classic Win32 application. Are there any additional reasons to change to UWP?

Yes, even greater security, modern scaling mechanisms or resource management. However, these are not so much the key elements that developers should invest a lot of time and money to rewrite their mature and tested Win32 programs on the new platform, which in addition will work on older versions of Windows. And yet there is the PWA (Progressive Web Apps) platform, which is supported not only by Windows 10, but also by most modern systems from other companies.

It has been speculated that this marks the end of the UWP platform. Reality, however, will be more interesting.

Kevin Gallo, vice president of the Windows Developer Platform, in a very interesting conversation with Mary Jo Foley admits that Microsoft made a few mistakes guiding the development of the UWP. However, he does not intend to give up the platform. Microsoft wants to remove the barriers that divide Win32 and UWP applications. More specifically, enable Win32 application developers to use solutions and APIs that until now were reserved exclusively for the Universal Windows Platform.

Ultimately, all applications for Windows - web, Win32, UWP, PWA, React Native, Electron and all the rest - are to be simply called "Windows apps", or simply applications for Windows. Their components are the responsibility of the developer: Microsoft's task is to make that regardless of what set of tools the programmer chooses, the final effect is to perform perfectly in the Windows environment. These types of "mixed" applications will work on Windows 10 1903 or newer.

So what will be the role of the Microsoft Store in all this?

It is hardly surprising that UWP applications are clearly associated with the system repository of Windows 10. Until now, the Microsoft Store was the only source of their acquisition. However, Microsoft's observers, mindful and well-remembered, should remember that linking UWP with the Microsoft Store has never been a company plan. Modern UWP-apps were also supposed to go to other stores with games and applications. It did not happen because ... no one except Microsoft was interested.

Microsoft Store has been offering many types of applications for some time: not only UWP, but also Win32 or PWA, constituting a much more universal and better "provided" repository for Windows. And this will not change: the products offered there are still to be safe, packed in containers, which certainly will not affect the stability and performance of the system and which are automatically carried out by the Microsoft system. However, the boundary between UWP and Win32 is supposed to be blurred in applications from any source. And this is good news for both developers and users.

This is the end of the UWP and Win32 applications


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