Microsoft Provides Update on Developer Bridges for Windows 10

Posted on February 25, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Dev, iOS, Windows 10 with 0 Comments

Microsoft Provides Update on Developer Bridges for Windows 10

Microsoft today provided an update to its strategy to bring developers to the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) on Windows 10. And yes, it’s official: The Windows Bridge for Android (project “Astoria”) is dead.

Microsoft first announced this strategy, in which it would provide several so-called “bridges,” at Build last year. We’re about a month away from the start of Build 2016, so I figured we’d get an update on that strategy at the show. But Microsoft provided that update today, just one day after the firm announced it was acquiring Xamarin, which makes tools that let Windows developers create apps for other mobile platforms.

“Our goal is to make it easy for developers of all sizes to bring existing code to the one billion devices we expect to see running Windows 10 in the next few years,” Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo explains in a post to the Building Apps for Windows blog. “The tools we announced [at Build 2015] were designed to help developers with existing code bases of HTML/JavaScript, .NET and Win32, Java/C+ + and Objective-C bring their code to Windows, and provide a way to integrate with Universal Windows Platform capabilities.”

And with that, Mr. Gallo provided the following update on the bridges Microsoft announced last year. I’ll get to the big news first.

Windows Bridge for Android (“Astoria”). It’s dead, Jim. (But then we’ve known this for months. This just makes it official.) Apparently, many developers told Microsoft that having two different approaches for bringing Android and iOS code to Windows 10 was confusing. So … “We have decided that we would focus our efforts on the Windows Bridge for iOS and make it the single Bridge option for bringing mobile code to all Windows 10 devices, including Xbox and PCs,” Gallo says. Based on what I’ve been told by sources, this is not the real reason Astoria was killed.

Windows Bridge for iOS (“Islandwood”). This bridge lets developers bring iOS apps written in Objective-C to the Windows Store. Microsoft released the first version to GitHub as an open source project in August and has been updating it regularly ever since.

“Centennial.” Not sure why this one lacks an English name (“the Windows bridge for Windows” was probably too confusing), but this solution lets developers bring existing desktop Windows (Win32 and .NET) applications to the Windows Store. It is currently in testing with “a set of developers now,” a Microsoft says. Gallo promises that “an early iteration of the tools” will be available soon, at which point Microsoft will “expand the program and support a broader range of developers.”

Web Bridge (Hosted Web Apps). This one helps developers bring web apps (HTML- and JavaScript-based) to the Windows Store and extend them with Windows 10 features like live tiles, Cortana integration, in-app purchase capabilities and more. “This shipped as part of the standard Windows 10 SDK in July,” Gallo says, “and we’ve already seen adoption from companies such as Shazam and Yahoo.”

“At Build this year, we’ll go into more detail on the Bridges, Xamarin, our Universal Windows Platform and much more,” Gallo concludes. “Hope to see you there!”