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September 22, 2020

Announcing more ways, we’re making app development easier on Windows

Building great apps on Windows should be easier – no matter how your app is written.  We want to ensure you have a path forward to make your apps better on Windows and we’re doing that with Project Reunion.  We’re creating a unified app platform that allows you to focus on your app and take advantage of new or existing code.  We also know you need a great development environment and tools that help you stay productive. 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.

Simplifying app development

With Project Reunion, we are unifying access to existing Win32 and UWP APIs, and we’re doing the design in the open so we can continue to engage with you and build a better Windows platform.  We will provide a common platform for new apps and APIs so that they will work down-level across supported versions of Windows. They will be faster, leaner, and more engaging.

Project Reunion diagram

With Project Reunion, you can choose components that makes sense for your app, without having to completely rewrite your app.  We are decoupling the platform to enable you take advantage of new capabilities in the OS and hardware.  This is evident with our progress to WinUI, WebView2 and other app model features which are all components of Project Reunion.  These updates will be available in the coming months.

  • WinUI 3 Preview 3, dramatically improves your development experience with tools like XAML Intellisense, Hot Reload, and the Live Visual Tree editor in Visual Studio are all available for C++ and C# apps. You can also use multiple windows and custom window styles with XAML’s windowing APIs.  These updates allow you to work with your existing code and allow you to create apps for ARM64.
  • WebView2 can be enabled with Win32 C/C++, .NET (WPF/WinForms), and WinUI 3.  You can host web content in native apps using the new WebView2 Runtime. This allows you to bypass the dependency on a specific version of Microsoft Edge being installed on your user’s PC.
  • App Model features including app lifecycle management, MRTCore, and the ability to reference system wide MSIX Framework packages will enable apps using Project Reunion to have a lighter footprint on user’s systems. Your apps can take advantage of this while using existing deployment mechanisms so you can incrementally improve your existing apps at your own pace.

Please continue to engage with us and give us your feedback on Project Reunion, our goal is to open source as much of the Reunion platform as possible.  You can also learn more about the above announcements for WebView2, app lifecycle management, MRTCore, and MSIX Framework packages.

Delivering great developer experiences

To build engaging apps, you need great tools and an environment that allows you to stay focused and productive.  To help you achieve that, we’re releasing updates to Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL), Windows Terminal, and React Native for Windows that you can start using this month.

The latest capabilities to Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) will enhance performance, provide better support for apps, and makes it easier to use.  We have backported WSL 2 to Windows version 1903 or higher, giving all WSL 2 users the same performance parity as Windows 10 version 2004.  We also added support for Linux graphical user interface (GUI) apps to Insider builds to help improve your workflow.

The Linux GUI apps GIMP and gedit running side by side on the Windows Subsystem for Linux

In Windows Terminal Preview 1.4 you can streamline your experience within your terminal.  You can click on links inside your terminal and have them open in your default browser or make jump lists so users can open the terminal from the start menu or task bar.  With the new command palette for Windows Terminal you can navigate and interact with your user’s terminals allowing you to see and access all commands in one place.

Terminal profile from the task bar

With React Native for Windows v.0.63, you can create new apps for Windows 10 or upgrade existing apps without having to learn or use new code.  In this latest version, you get new features like navigation support, improved theming support, automatic linking of native modules, and services to allow inter-module communication.

React Native for Windows theming API

We look forward to sharing more with you in the open and we hope that you will continue to engage with us.  Together, we’ll create better apps for Windows and for all 1 billion Windows 10 devices.  If you didn’t get enough at Ignite, you can find additional Windows developer content about MSIX, CS WinRT, WinRTC and more on the Windows Virtual Hub.