Nothing New for Windows Devs at Ignite 2020

Posted on September 22, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Windows 10 with 21 Comments

Microsoft had precious little in the way of new Windows development announcements this week, so it offered up some rehashing instead.

‘Building great apps on Windows should be easier, no matter how your app is written,” Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo writes in a blog post tied to Ignite 2020. “Today, at Microsoft Ignite I’m excited to share the progress we’ve made to simplify app development and give you a great developer experience.”

Here’s what he discusses.

Project Reunion. Basically a do-over for the failed Universal Windows Platform (UWP), Project Reunion is a way to combine Win32, the classic desktop application environment, with UWP and extrude it on the other side as some kind of weird mash-up of the two. The big deal here is that technologies that were previously locked into UWP, and thus non-accessible by the majority of developers who correctly ignored UWP, are now being decoupled from UWP and made available separately. There is no new information or news regarding Project Reunion, and the next pre-release milestone is presumably still expected in November.

Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL). Microsoft previously backported WSL 2 to Windows version 1903 or higher, giving all WSL 2 users “the same performance parity as Windows 10 version 2004.”  Microsoft also previously added support for Linux graphical user interface (GUI) apps to Insider builds. But there is no new information or news regarding WSL at Ignite.

Windows Terminal Preview 1.4 is at least “new,” but it’s also a minor update and only available now in preview. This release will let you click on links inside the terminal and have them open in your default browser. And it provides support for jump lists and a new command palette.

React Native for Windows v.0.63 was released two weeks ago. This technology lets web developers create new apps for Windows 10 or upgrade existing apps, and this latest version supports navigation, improved theming, automatic linking of native modules, and services that allow inter-module communication. But there is no new information or news regarding React Native at Ignite.

And that’s it.

 

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Comments (24)

24 responses to “Nothing New for Windows Devs at Ignite 2020”

  1. glenn8878

    Project Reunion could potentially help revive Windows as a platform for new apps and mobile. It should have been done since the beginning to get developers to upgrade old Windows applications. No one wants to make 2 separate apps for Windows desktop and UWP especially since UWP apps are less capable. Lets see if they succeed, but Microsoft never does things right out the gate. They need at least 3 iterations and there's always the risk they won't do much after the first release.

    • spiderman2

      In reply to glenn8878:

      you don't need to write 2 apps for windows desktop and UWP (if you target only windows 10) ... and UWP is not less capable at all (in 90% of cases)

    • dmitryko

      In reply to glenn8878:


      Project Reunion roadmap has been updated with WinUI Modern Windowing proposal, which would replace exising WinRT/UWP CoreWindow, ApplicationView, AppWindow classes with a new windowing API and include an interoperability layer for USER/GDI structures and APIs.


      A few excerpts from (emphasis is mine):


      For UWP we have been in a constant state of "catching up" on core functionality, and never being able to. While for Win32 we have been in a state of non-innovation, leaving developers behind <...>
      With Project Reunion we are taking a bold stance - we want all Windows developers to have the power of Win32 windowing at their disposal, but we also want to provide easy to adopt APIs that can provide consistent experiences across apps, as well as easy to use APIs that lower the bar of entry for new developers.
      <...> all these APIs are accessible to you regardless of process model - both UWP and Win32 have access to all the layers of the APIs <...> we are giving you the ability to freely move from one layer to the other regardless of where you started from.
      <...> UWP have multiple windowing currencies, each with different limitations and life-time management. We are not going to preserve them all <...> we are unifying the windowing model, this means changes to UWP that will require work. <...> If you have worked with AppWindow in UWP, you should be familiar with what we have in mind.


  2. ddawson

    Ignite news has been fast and furious but that’s an interesting observation about absence of news for Windows devs. Two ways to look at it: the good stuff is being saved for later, and, whew, for once there’s no news!

    • Paul Thurrott

      Yes, I'm sure that's it. :) Obviously, Microsoft has Build. So the big news should be at that show. But Ignite has long had a big developer push in addition to IT pros. Not so much this time.
  3. illuminated

    Now Apple is coming with Swift and Google with Flutter. Vultures are circling...

    • johndehope3

      In reply to illuminated: That's what I don't get. They're not circling a juicy meaty fresh carcass. They're circling dry bones. Desktop thick client windows development feels dead to me. Everything is web apps. At least in my line of business apps world. The thought of deploying a thick client desktop windows app hasn't crossed my mind in 10+ years. It's history. And even the "yeah but..." apps like MS Word are looking like they might not last long in the face of online MS 365 web apps for editing documents. Have you used them? It's very close to not worth loading the desktop app unless you're going to be doing really heavy lifting. I agree the vultures are circling for cross platform domination. I'm just not sure why they are.


  4. eric_rasmussen

    More evidence that Windows has become a low-priority side project within Microsoft. I don't expect them to ever fix the in-OS advertising, issues with consistency, or multiple (sometimes contradictory) control panels available for configuring things.


    I don't know why more companies aren't ditching Windows for Mac, Linux, or ChromeOS. I guess most stuff is already on web and mobile, but I'm thinking of things like triple-A games on Steam.

  5. siv

    I wish they would port the full Visual Studio to Linux so that you can develop and test Windows apps on Linux.

    • Paul Thurrott

      I don't think we'll ever see that. Visual Studio is incredibly complex. It's not even on the Mac (The VS product there is for mobile development and is based on Xamarin Studio).
  6. waethorn

    How are they supporting GUI Linux apps? Did they implement their own x11.org server or Wayland compositor?


    I wish they had support for standard Linux OS containers instead of having to use pre-packaged distros from the Windows Store. This thing should work similar to Crostini, which uses LXD userspace containers from us.images.linuxcontainers.org with many different popular distros being represented. The Windows integration support should just be something that can be installed in the userspace image by the end-user with a simple Linux command. Instead, you have to contact Microsoft, probably sign an NDA, and at the end of the day this thing still needs Visual Studio to custom-compile a Distro-launcher. *smh*


  7. adamstaiwan

    For Win. Term. a command palette is available in 1.2.2381.0

  8. F4IL

    I seriously can't see how msft can sell devs on a story centered around Windows development. The vast majority of new and exciting development targets the web, cloud and mobile. Windows as a development - deployment station is entirely out of the picture.

    • SWCetacean

      In reply to F4IL:

      But why should they focus on Windows-specific development? How would Windows-specific development features benefit developers? There is a good reason why all of the new and exciting development revolves around web, cloud, and mobile; because that's where the users and the money are. For Microsoft to push Windows-centric development in this day and age would be fighting against the current and not actually adding any value to developers.


      The only exceptions to that would be software sectors that are still highly OS-dependent e.g. games. But even there, the major accessible game engines (like Unreal and Unity) are going cross-platform too. And in gaming, Microsoft is continuing to add new platform features like DX12 "Ultimate" (really just a fancy name for DX12 feature level 12.2).

      • BizTechSherpa

        In reply to SWCetacean:

        They should focus on Windows development like anybody should focus on developing the market. If they sell Windows, then they should develop that market. In other words while other things seem more exciting, like mobile, web, etc. they have to make a compelling case for developers to work in Windows and create new tools and applications. They are not doing this because they don’t believe in it, or there is not a platform that works. I’m not sure what the answer is to that question.

  9. rwj_dk

    The Dev. Keynote is first tomorrow

  10. spiderman2

    LOL paul is really obsessed about UWP, take it easy

  11. martinusv2

    Kinda sad, I was hoping they would annonce the full release of .NET Core 5. Same for WinUI 3.

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