UWP is dead, long live the app SDK


Of course, I’m not really talking about the “long life” part and it is very likely that I will not. It just underlines how lost Microsoft is in the developer world. Where next and what faces the sunset next door is what we all have to think about.

Microsoft is still struggling to overcome the enormous damage caused by the Windows 8 and Windows Phone fiasco. Skipping Windows 9 to put some distance between versions 8 and 10 should remind you how bad it was. Now with Windows 11 we have a fresh start – well no, not really. The problem is, there are still a lot of missteps to be corrected, and without too many ideas on where to go, progress seems slow and aimless.

What is Microsoft’s goal in its offerings to programmers?

I would like to know and if only Microsoft knew that things would be better. Clearly he wants us all to use Azure and GitHub and that VS Code and WSL are technologies designed to push us in that particular direction. For the rest, it’s up to everyone to guess.

The latest move is the official recognition that universal Windows apps are dead – or at least obsolete. Not that Microsoft has said so explicitly, but since there is officially no future for UWP, you can draw your own conclusions. :

“For developers using Universal Windows Platform (UWP) project types, if you are happy with your current functionality in UWP, there is no need to migrate your project type. WinUI 2.x and the Windows SDK will continue to work. Support UWP project types, including bug, reliability, and security fixes. “

Of course, if you want to use WinUI 3 and future technologies, you have no choice but to port the app to the Windows App SDK, which used to be called the Reunion project:

“Our goal is to make the Windows App SDK the superset of desktop and UWP capabilities, which would give developers one way forward. We use the types of office projects as the foundation of our convergence. “

You can develop WinUI 3 applications from C # or C ++ and it is Windows independent in the sense that it ships as an independent binary. It can be used to extend WPF, WinForms, MFC, etc., using specially configured controls. WinUI 3 is a C ++ library, but it can be used from .NET. Many “mobile” features like Toast notifications are supported, but many are not – no camera UI, no map control, etc.

At the moment, everything is at an early stage of development and is not really mature. Of course, once Microsoft ditched mobile, there was little reason to support UWP, but what isn’t clear is how best to modernize Windows UI given the detour. .

What is certain is that most Windows programmers don’t know what to use next, what to persevere with, and what to give up. Microsoft’s obvious uncertainty is communicated very clearly.


More information

Development for Windows with the Windows Application SDK

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