December 17, 2014 1:50 pm

Bring your Windows Phone Silverlight apps to Windows Runtime XAML; prepare for universal app development in Windows 10

With the release of Windows Phone 8.1 last year, we introduced the concept of universal Windows apps. Windows 10 will build on our commitment to provide a common Windows platform with one API layer (WinRT) and consistent UX design surfaces.

For developers creating new apps for Windows today, this universal approach is recommended as it allows you to target both Windows and Windows Phone and to be prepared for Windows 10. For you, we’ve got great documentation (Building universal Windows apps for all Windows devices) and video training (Developing Universal Windows Apps with C# and XAML).

But what about developers who have existing Silverlight-based apps in the Windows Phone Store? The good news is that the process of bringing these to WinRT-based universal apps is fairly straightforward. We think now is the right time to take this step, both to expand your audience and to prepare for Windows 10, and we have some great new content on MSDN to guide you through the process, in a new MSDN section entitled Move from Windows Phone Silverlight to WinRT.

And, new this week on the Inside Windows Platform series, Steve White, one of the writers behind all this great new content, talks about making the move, with some practical tips.

When you visit the new MSDN section, one of the first things you will see is the Namespace and class mappings topic. This topic takes a comprehensive list of the API’s available to Silverlight-based apps and maps each to the API surface available to Windows Runtime apps. It a useful reference to keep by your side during the porting process.

The Porting a Windows Phone Silverlight app to a XAML WinRT app topic describes the porting approach and provides the following specific sections:

Finally, there is a case study that takes you through the whole process and provides both Silverlight and WinRT (universal) code samples.

  • Case study: Bookstore 1. The first in a series (Bookstore 2 and 3 are coming soon) of case studies that take a Windows Phone Silverlight app and port it to Windows Runtime as a Universal app project targeting both Windows and Windows Phone. You can read the step-by-step account of the porting process and download both the Silverlight and the universal app projects.

We hope these resources make the porting process satisfying and efficient.

Join the conversation

  1. Hello,

    Does it mean that Windows 10 will not support Windows Phone Silverlight version at all?

    Thank you,

    • Hi Jakub,

      It absolutely does NOT mean this.

      Microsoft devotes enormous resources to protect the investments of its developers, and ensure that a vast majority of applications written for previous releases continue to run as expected on future releases.

      There is a lot of work going on to provide developers the easiest possible ways to leverage the same code to target multiple device types. The focus here is on applications that target the Windows Runtime. That means, if you want to take advantage of this work, you’ll need to build apps that target the Windows Runtime.

  2. What about those Silverlight APIs not yet catered for with WinRT on Windows Phone 8.1?

    Alarms and Reminders
    Social Apps
    People Hub extension apps (select third parties only right now)
    Continuous GPS tracking apps
    Camera Lens Apps
    Lock screen apps (select third parties only right now)

    • Yep these ones are not available yet for WinRT apps. It is unfortunately the case that it is difficult to do everything in a quality manner at one time.

      We are looking to address them in a timely manner.

      For now, if you have an app that depends on this functionality, you can not build to WinRT.

  3. Hello,
    Copy-paste is one of the key feature in my Windows Phone 8.0 app.
    I know that copy-paste is not supported in WinRT WP 8.1.
    Wait for Windows Phone 10???

    Thank you,

  4. The “Move from Windows Phone Silverlight to WinRT” article doesn’t list Linq-to-SQL as an unsupported feature – does this mean we’ll be able to use this in Universal Apps soon?

  5. Hi,

    I already wanted to port my existing windows phone app that shows appointments on the live tile to WinRT but there is no API to query for appointments in WinRT.
    Yes – in 2014/15 MS does not provide an API for such a simple thing like querying for appointments.
    This works in SL 8.0/8.1 but it is not available in WinRT.

    I guess developers are able to create an universal app project by themselves and are able to port POCO-classes and service calls but what should we do, when an app relies on an API, which is not available in WinRT? Is there a guarantee that all APIs that are available in SL 8.1 will be available in WinRT for Win10?

    best regards,

  6. I really cant understand how you want from people to move their app from Silverlight to universal as universal is half completed. Not only ss Mr. Anderseon pointed less components , also it is buggy. I know that because i produced an app using universal and within camera operation it always produce memory exceptions even i recycle unused objects. Also there is no wcf support either as pointed by your super intelligent personnel (Actually i should ask him “pls write my code if you know too much”). So developers IS NOT YOUR TEST PEOPLE that you want them to use your half-finished product. I wish i made my project with Silverlight instead universal. Point.


  7. And when is Visual Basic going to be supported for Universal apps!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?

  8. so I have a question: Is Windows 10 going to still be a separate OS for phone? that is, SHOULD I be developing Universal apps (one for Win and another for WinPhone)?


    should I start developing a single app for Windows 10 that is able to scale down to the phone size?

    This is a fundamental question, because if Windows 10 truly means i’ll only need to create one app, I definitely want to know!

  9. How about some bridge to port from Silverlight web apps (not just phone apps) to UWP?
    Even a browser-based wrapper like the one used for Hybrid Mobile Apps would be fine

    One can’t make their own wrappers now since they don’t have IE for WebView-like controls in UWP, but Edge, which doesn’t host Silverlight

    I wouldn’t mind if my Silverlight web app (ClipFlair Studio – would run only on x86, although I don’t see why Microsoft couldn’t make an ARM version of Silverlight just for the bridge (or even one hosted in Edge everywhere, like they have for Flash). Or even go further and then release Silverlight 6 with UWP-compatible API extensions.