March 23, 2015 12:45 pm

Windows 10 developer tooling preview now available to Windows Insiders

Three weeks ago, at Mobile World Congress, we had the opportunity to share with you a first look at the Windows 10 universal app platform. Today I’m excited to announce that we are making the first technical preview of the Windows 10 developer tooling available to Windows Insiders.

However, I’d like to point out that this is a preview. Our goal with this release is to give you the opportunity to experiment with the cool new platform capabilities while we continue working to finish Windows 10. As you go through what’s new I’d invite you to explore some key aspects in this preview release:

  • Adaptive UX: Windows 10 provides the ability to use a single UI that can adapt from small to large screens. For developers with an existing Windows 8.1 app, you can quickly try this one out by (a) removing one of your UI projects (and going from three Visual Studio projects to one!) and (b) add the improved ViewStateManager to control how your UI adapts at runtime.
  • User controls: A number of our Windows 10 UI controls will determine, at runtime, how the customer is interacting with your app and render the appropriate user experience (e.g. on a laptop with a touch-screen, an app fly-out control will provide larger touch-targets if tapped with touch, as opposed to clicked with a mouse).
  • API contracts: With Windows 10, you can directly verify if a Windows feature is available rather than inferring based on the operating system version. This empowers you to start checking, at runtime, if a Windows feature is available on the device before you call a related API. A good API contract for you to try out in your code to see this in action is HardwareButtons, which is present on phones (via the Mobile Extensions SDK), and thus available on the phone and mobile emulator but not available on the desktop. We believe that API contracts and the extension SDKs will allow you to adapt your code at runtime to deliver user experiences that feel right on the device it’s being run on.
  • Visual Studio Tooling improvements: As you experiment with the new developer tools, there are a number of improvements you’ll want to check out. For more details on this topic, I’d highly recommend you review the today’s post by S. Somasegar: Tools for Windows 10 Technical Preview.

Developer Content

In addition to the preview tooling, we are also releasing a number of resources to help you quickly come up to speed on the new universal app platform capabilities:

  1. Introducing the Universal App Platform: From Mobile World Congress 2015, Kevin Gallo provides a first look at the platform and how to build universal apps to target it.
  2. Windows 10 Jumpstart Preview: A first look at the upcoming Jumpstart training content. These videos provide you with the information you need to bring a Windows 8.1 app up to Windows 10.
  3. What’s New in Windows 10 for Developers: The Windows 10 developer documentation is online on the Windows Dev Center. This page provides a nice overview of what’s new in the documentation, with deep links across the relevant topics.
  4. Code samples: New with Windows 10, documentation code samples will be published on GitHub. Today, we’re publishing an initial couple dozen samples, with many more planned for the Build timeframe.

Getting Started

To get started with the preview:

  1. If you haven’t already, Join the Windows Insider Program. Instructions and downloads links are now available to get your developer machine set up.
  2. Once installed, get started by creating a Windows app using the universal app templates. You can find them under the <Language> | Windows 10 node – see the screenshot below.
  3. If you run into any issues while you are experimenting with this preview…
    1. First, check out the release notes and known issues with Visual Studio 2015 CTP6 to see if it’s a known issue.
    2. Continue to use the Windows and Windows Phone apps MSDN forum for development issues.
    3. If you believe you found a bug, you can use the new Developer Platform categories in the Windows Feedback app that is installed as part of Windows 10.
  4. If you have a platform capability or API suggestion, please continue to post them to the Windows platform developer UserVoice site. Please note that we will be updating this site between now and Build to reflect the new capabilities of Windows 10.

See You at Build

We hope that you enjoy the first look at the new developer tools. Please spend some time with it and send us feedback. We have put a ton of work on this release and we are excited to be able to share our progress with you. Our next major milestone, Build, is around the corner and we plan to go deep on Windows 10 and the Windows universal app platform at the event. If you aren’t able to attend in person, save the date to check out the Build site for information on how to participate in the online keynote and access recorded sessions from the event. I’m looking forward to seeing all you there.

Updated March 23, 2015 2:10 pm

Join the conversation

  1. For those of us not brave enough to download and install Windows 10. :)

    Can you tell us if the new Windows 10 Developer API supports Markup Extensions for its Xaml? This is a feature that has been in WPF, Silverlight 5 (and now Xamarin.Forms, a non-MSFT technology company, it is worth noting), but conspicuously absent from 8.x Universal Apps.

    It would be great to know if MSFT has returned to the roots that made WPF/Silverlight such great technologies to work with and finally implemented this feature. And if not, it would be great to hear why this continues to elude the “new” development stack (that is missing “old” features).

    Thank you for any assistance/clarification/insight/patience in addressing this concern/question! :)

    • Hi Michael — thanks for the note. For Windows 10 we will not be exposing custom markup extensions in this release. We’ve heard this feedback and it is on our backlog still! Please be sure also to use the Windows Feedback tool to submit developer feedback.

      • I’m wondering Tim, is Microsoft strapped for cash? It’s still on the backlog??? Along with MultiValue converters, StringFormat for binding, glaring bugs that were never fixed in the phone SDKs. Never mind that both WPF and Silverlight have a DataGrid that Microsoft, a company rolling in BILLIONS of profits, still doesn’t have the time/money to port to Windows.

        I thought Microsoft completely f***ing its developers over with regards to Silverlight was a one time thing. Nope, the hits keep on coming.

        • I have to agree with Mr. Bond here. Don’t forget DataForm. Best control ever.

          WinRT/Universal Apps API has the feeling that it was “ported” over by an army of interns that don’t know any better. Either that, or it was done by developers who are just collecting a paycheck. It’s too bad, almost 3 years later, that fundamental functionality still does not exist, even when it is known (on the backlog). As an aside, I am not sure it really helps to admit that you know there is some key functionality that is missing (for almost 3 years) and it is still on the backlog. 😛

          There is a reason why adoption has been suffering with the new Windows Development APIs. Fundamentals, man! I do appreciate your reply though, Tim. Thanks for engaging your customers. Although it would mean more to get these (very) fundamental elements that made Silverlight5 (and WPF) so great into the new API so we can have fun building applications with your tech again.

          With all of this said, Xamarin.Forms looks like it’s the winner here. Its Xaml supports markup extensions (and is therefore very, erm, eXtensible), is cross-platform, and has a very passionate community. Not to mention the team there is very agile, visible on their forums, and are releasing new NuGets every few weeks. I think you will find most of Windows 10 developers will be flocking there instead over the coming year… especially since they will be supporting Windows 10 via a renderer, anyways.

          Why deal with an inferior Xaml API when you can do the same thing with an Xaml API that is cross-platform and reaches billions more devices/PCs? It’s truly telling (and somewhat sad) when an external partner understands Microsoft technology better than Microsoft itself, especially when Microsoft has had 3 attempts (Windows 8.0, Windows 8.1, and now 10) to get it right.

          • Well, 8 months later and I find myself agreeing with this perspective (Xamarin.Forms). I have had the same experience with the Xamarin team and the technology. So much so I have recommended it for a couple of projects and we have purchased both iOS and Android licenses and look forward to deploying on Windows 10 when it is finished. Good job XAMARIN!

    • It would also be nice to know if the new API’s support x:Static extension (it appears 8.1 doesn’t?!) and also if the new APIs support XAML2009 as Xamarin.Forms currently does.

      Thank you!

  2. Can we please have some of our effects back? Even just shadows? Metro was a nice, innovative design language 5 years ago, but come on, Android and iOS have vastly surpassed it by mixing in real world effects.

    And radial gradient!

  3. Will Spartan be replacing the native IE11 WebBrowser XAML/HTML5 control eventually? I’m running into quite a few issues with calls and it freezing the UI during InvokeScriptAsync() calls (Freezing the UI even though it’s awaiting during page loads). Based on lots of feedback, it’d definitely an IE11 WebBrowser issue. Need to know if I should scrap my app idea or not :)

    • I would defer to the IE team on this question, but my understanding is that there will be two browsers for Windows 10: IE11 and the ‘project Spartan’ browser.

      Definitely get your issues/feedback over to the IE/Spartan team and they can confirm if it’s a ‘bug’ or a ‘feature’. :)

  4. Great to see Microsoft make the new tools public already! Thank you.

    Now the (somewhat obvious) question: Is there any chance some of the adaptive UI platform can be back-ported to the Windows 8.1 toolset? Even with Windows 10 being a free update for end users – going all the way back to Windows 7 even, not everyone may “take” the offer, and thus there would still be Win 8.1 systems out there to support. Making the decision to invest in adaptive / responsive UI based on the new toolset would be easier to do if there was information available about potential plans for back-porting some of the new development capabilities to Windows 8.1.

    • Many of the Windows 10 developer advances are tied pretty closely to the universal app platform, and so not great candidates for back-porting to prior releases…it would require some pretty significant changes to the platform, which would then need to be rolled out to users for your app to take advantage of it.

      That being said, we expect that Windows 10 will be a very compelling upgrade for Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 users.

    • Consider this an initial preview release, providing a peek at the direction of the tooling. We’ll have more in there when we go deep into the details at Build and update the preview tooling.

  5. I agree with Vitor Gabriel — have you published the UI/UX guidelines yet? I would kill for a Balsamiq template too but I am probably asking for too much at the moment :)

    • Hi Michael and Vitor – consider this is an early preview of the upcoming toolset. The controls and tooling are definitely not complete, and intended for evaluation…not for writing real code or apps just yet.

      We’ll have full details (plus design guidelines) at Build. :)

  6. Is there anywhere for designers to download the Windows 10 icons? Or maybe even the Segoe MDL2 font/assets?