Universal Apps Are Coming
According to Microsoft, Windows 10 is going to be “the last version of Windows”, this means that all Windows apps developed from now on are going to be Windows 10 apps. Microsoft is also going to be rolling out Windows 10 to any device it can; this includes the Xbox One, desktop PCs, notebooks, tablets, Windows phones, Smart TVs, and even the Raspberry Pi. Since Windows 10 will be a unified operating system spanning across any device we can think of, Microsoft has taken steps to make the apps we use every day to be available on any device we want to use it on.
Universal apps are applications that can be run on any Windows 10 device, regardless of it being a phone, PC, or Xbox. How the app functions on each device is completely up to the developer, and they can also choose which devices it will run on. Universal apps are created with the new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) which means that the platform will work across all Windows 10 devices (universally).
Basically the way UWP will work across devices from a user standpoint is that there will just be some tweaking in the graphical interface. For example, some buttons may be rearranged or different items on the screen will be in locations better suited to how the device is controlled and its respective screen size.
Another huge aspect will be that Android and iOS developers will be able to quickly and painlessly modify apps to run on the UWP, which means that your favorite iOS or Android exclusive apps may soon be available on Windows if developers take advantage of this opportunity.
The new format Windows 10 UWP apps will use is called AppX. The AppX format will drastically change how apps are obtained and installed in the system. They are now containerized, meaning app containers will allow software to scale and mobilize without losing functionality. Some interesting changes to AppX apps are that they will no longer write changes to the registry upon installation, instead the registry changes will be written to a unique hive that can be completely uninstalled alongside the app so there are no more bloated and wasted registry keys building up in systems. Another neat feature is that by default, all AppX programs support being installed to removable storage devices so you can take the app wherever you go, but this can be disabled by choice of the developer.
As I said above, Microsoft is pushing for iOS and Android developers to seamlessly move over their applications to the UWP without rewriting code. In addition to moving over apps from mobile operating systems, Microsoft has also made it available for makers of standard desktop-exclusive Windows applications to convert them to the universal AppX format to run on all Windows 10 devices.
What Does It Mean?
What does this all mean? It means that Windows 10 apps are expected to take off quickly from Windows 8 and 8.1, as long as developers hit the ground running with AppX and the UWP. This also means you may be seeing some of your favorite iOS and Android applications come to all Windows devices. Hopefully because of Microsoft’s effort to get things switched over to AppX, we won’t go very long without our favorite apps while we first experience Windows 10.
Besides my love for computers, I am a motorcycle fanatic. I have a background in Office 365 support and windows server.