If you were thinking that Microsoft has given up on its cross-platform ambitions to make Win32 and .NET desktop programs reusable on the Universal Windows Platform(UWP), then you’re very wrong my friend. The Redmond giant has today announced that the first set of Win32 apps and games are now available for download via the Windows Store.
At the Build 2016 Conference in April, Microsoft had announced the launch of an exciting new Desktop Bridge App Converter tool. This tool was launched with the vision of giving developers a way to bring their existing Windows apps to the Windows Universal Platform (UWP). It helps convert a desktop Windows installer such as .msi or .exe to an AppX package that can be deployed to the Windows 10 Store directly.
After releasing the app converter tool in beta for developers, Microsoft recently started accepting submissions for app and games converted using the Desktop App Converter tool. And fast forward a couple months, we now have our very first UWP desktop app in the form of ‘Evernote’.
We’re excited to bring our full-featured Evernote app to the Windows Store. The Desktop Bridge vastly simplifies our installer and uninstaller. It also opens up UWP APIs that we’ve taken advantage of, including the live tiles and notifications. And having the full-featured Evernote app in the Windows Store means future improvements will reach users faster.
said Seth Hitchings, VP Engineering, Evernote.
Microsoft didn’t give an estimate about the total number of app submissions, or those apps coming to the Windows Store, but instead said that it will unveil a full collection of these apps ‘in the next few days’. Some titles that are expected to soon showup in the Store include Arduino IDE, doubleTwist, PhotoScape, MAGIX Movie Edit Pro, Virtual Robotics Kit, Relab, SQL Pro, Voya Media, Predicted Desire and korAccount.
These are the same apps that customers know and love, but are now available for download in the trusted Windows Store,
said Kevin Gallo, Corporate VP of Windows Developer in the blogpost.
Windows 10 users who wish to use these applications, need to be running the Anniversary Update released last month. These apps will be searchable and available under the ‘Desktop Bridge App’ collection in the Windows Store. These UWP apps will soon also be optimised and available on all Windows 10 platforms, including Holo Lens, Xbox, Windows 10 Mobile, etc.
Updates to Desktop Bridge Tool
In addition to releasing the first set of converted desktop apps, Microsoft is also making the Desktop App Converter available for download directly from the Windows Store. This will enable any developer to directly get access to the desktop app converter tool from their desktop. And just like any other app, it will also enable the latest features, improvements and bug fixes to automatically be available to developers.
Microsoft is also excited to announce the expansion of the Desktop Bridge beyond its own native application. Three of the most popular installer technologies — Flexera Software(InstallShield), FireGiant(WiX) and Caphyon(Advanced Installer) — ave now integrated support for converting Win32 programs into Windows Store apps. This will enable developers to stay within their existing workflow to produce app packages from desktop apps(installers).