The Windows 10 developer’s dilemma: Go Universal or stick with the desktop?

Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform offers code-once-run-anywhere upside, but development drawbacks abound

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Other notable changes include the ability to do on-demand loading of parts of the user interface, list virtualization to improve scrolling performance, new media transport controls, an updated Map control, new app-to-app communication support that lets you launch another app in order to get results from that app, improved speech recognition, new Ink input support, and a new Web view control based on the Edge browser. The open source AllJoyn system is supported for device communication in IoT apps.

DirectX 12, the latest version of Microsoft’s framework for coding hardware accelerated graphics, is made available to XAML via a new SoftwareBitmapSource and a Transform32 API.

Despite “One Windows,” devices vary in their capabilities, and Microsoft has a concept of device families to enable developers to code multidevice apps. Desktop, Mobile, and Xbox are all device families, for example, inheriting the core UWP API and adding device-specific APIs of their own. At runtime, you can check for the existence of the API on the current device by calling methods such as IsTypePresent, IsEventPresent, IsMethodPresent, and IsPropertyPresent. Along with the Adaptive UI, this forms the basis of creating apps that run successfully on several device types.

The Windows 10 dilemma

If Windows 10 takes off in the way Microsoft hopes, with large numbers upgrading from Windows 7 and 8 along with a revival of interest in Windows PCs and tablets, it presents developers with an opportunity to benefit from the many new users exploring the Windows Store. All going well, Windows will become more secure and manageable as a result.

At the same time, developers will be wary of Microsoft’s latest direction, following past disappointments (remember Silverlight?), and coding traditional desktop applications remains the right choice in many scenarios.

The Universal Windows Platform itself is a substantial improvement over Metro in Windows 8, and the Windows Store is more visible thanks to desktop integration, but Microsoft’s challenge is to migrate the Windows user base quickly to its new platform -- and that will not be easy.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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