Update To Windows 10 SDKs On The Way
Written by Mike James   
Thursday, 25 June 2015

Microsoft has been making some amazing progress on the Windows 10 front, although not enough to make a July launch seem sensible. On the other hand, the Windows 10 SDK has been previewed and then nothing. Now Microsoft seems to have woken up to how important this component of Windows 10 is. 

Back in April Microsoft made available an early build of the Windows 10 developer tools and SDK. A little later they were installed as standard as part of Visual Studio 2015 Release Candidate.  In principle this should have provided a look at how programmers can build the new universal apps. The old universal apps were just a way to share core code, but the new Windows 10 Universal provides a way to write a single program that can adapt to the platform it finds itself running on. This is important and might make the newer Windows APIs more popular simply because they are simpler to use. 

 

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The big problem is that the tools and the SDK were incomplete and poorly documented. For example, you couldn't use the designer with the new universal controls and new features such as ViewManager triggers and multiple views were not properly supported. You could make them work, but it was a matter of manual configuration. There was also the doubt that anything that was in the SDK was actually final. 

I think there was a general expectation that the SDK and tools would be updated almost as often as the Windows 10 preview, but no. After weeks of waiting for something more usable, at last Microsoft has promised something new:

...starting this month, we will release previews of the Windows 10 SDK more often to our Windows Insiders. Our goal is to release a Windows 10 SDK preview that corresponds to OS flights delivered through the Windows 10 Insider Preview Fast Ring. As part of these preview releases, we will also release a matching version of the Windows 10 Mobile emulator. While we’ll do our best to align with the OS release schedule, it is possible that not every OS release will bring an updated SDK.

You need to keep in mind that July 29th is the promised release date for Windows 10. It now seems that finished version of the tools will be released on the same date. 

"If you want to try out the newest features and have the latest bug fixes delivered in a Windows Insider Preview release, this is for you – each release is a snapshot of work in progress, so expect functionality or APIs to be impacted and that final functionality may vary. "

A "work in progress" with about a month left to go before release is not exactly reassuring. At the time of writing no update has appeared. 

The announcement also contains a promise that older style apps - Windows and Windows Phone store apps and even VB6. When you think about it there really is no reason for this not to be the case. The new Windows 10 Universal apps simply make use of the existing APIs and new APIs such as Cortana  - so old apps should indeed just work. Of course the same can't necessarily be said for Windows 10 Universal apps working on Windows 8/8,1 not to mention Windows 7.

 

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A promise is also made that more information would be forthcoming on the Windows "bridges": 

  • “Project Astoria”  - enables developers to bring their Android code to Windows

  • “Project Centennial” - for classic Windows platform code (e.g., .NET, Win32, etc.)

  • “Project Islandwood”  -allows developers to bring their iOS code to the Universal Windows Platform

  • “Project Westminster” - enables developers to bring their website to the Windows Store. 

Currently only Westminster is available to play with, but more information is promised on the other three over the summer - vague but hopeful. 

The whole Universal App idea and the bridge projects are exciting, but there is very definitely a sense of "why are we waiting". It all feels as if Microsoft hasn't quite been planning far enough ahead. There is still time for it all to work out happily, but only just. 

 

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 25 June 2015 )