Enabling developers to bring and re-use some of their existing code to Windows 10 is part of our longer-term vision for developers, where we want to make Windows the best development platform regardless of technologies used. Yesterday, we reached another milestone on this journey via our agreement to acquire Xamarin. UWP developers can not only reach all Windows 10 devices, but with Xamarin, they can now use a large percentage of their C# code to deliver a fully native mobile app experience for iOS and Android. Xamarin’s approach enables developers to take advantage of the productivity and power of .NET to develop mobile apps, and to use C# to write to the full set of native APIs and mobile capabilities provided by each platform.
We’re excited to have Xamarin join Microsoft and the opportunities it will offer developers – making it easy to share common app code across Windows, iOS, and Android apps while still delivering fully-native experiences for each of the platforms.
Progress on the bridges
In addition to welcoming Xamarin, we also wanted to provide an update on the Windows 10 Bridges:
- Project “Centennial” helps bring existing Win32 and .NET-based apps to the Windows Store and is in testing with a set of developers now. We’ll have an early iteration of the tools soon, and then we’ll expand the program and support a broader range of developers.
- The Windows Bridge for iOS (project “Islandwood”), enables developers to bring Objective-C iOS apps to the Windows Store, was released to GitHub as an open source project in August and we’ve been releasing updates to it frequently. Just last week, we released an update which included the first ARM32 preview compiler drop.
We also announced the Windows Bridge for Android (project “Astoria”) at Build last year, and some of you have asked about its status. We received a lot of feedback that having two Bridge technologies to bring code from mobile operating systems to Windows was unnecessary, and the choice between them could be confusing. We have carefully considered this feedback and 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. For those developers who spent time investigating the Android Bridge, we strongly encourage you to take a look at the iOS Bridge and Xamarin as great solutions.
The philosophy behind the Bridges has always been to make it as easy as possible for you to bring existing code to Windows, and our investments in the iOS Bridge will make this straightforward. We initially focused on API coverage for game developers, but we are expanding our API coverage for all app types by adding support for additional frameworks, etc. We’re aiming for significant development cost savings for the majority of ‘typical’ apps – keep an eye on the project on GitHub, and of course we welcome direct contributions, helping us all out!
At Build this year, we’ll go into more detail on the Bridges, Xamarin, our Universal Windows Platform and much more. Hope to see you there!