Desktop-to-UWP app converting 'Project Centennial' demonstrated at Build

Project Centennial is Microsoft's bridge between classic Win32 desktop apps and Universal Windows apps, available primarily via the Windows 10 Store. At Build 2016, Microsoft demonstrated how industry-leading accounting app, Sage, will hit the Windows 10 Store as a result of Project Centennial.

"We're making it easy for developers to bring the more than 16 million desktop apps to the Windows Store."

Desktop applications (and games, typical of Steam), ported via Project Centennial will have full access to the Universal Windows API and features, such as Live Tiles, Cortana and the Action Center. Sage200 will be among the first of the 16 million desktop apps in existence to arrive on the Windows 10 Store as a result of Centennial.

For all the latest news emerging from Build, head on over to our comprehensive topic page!

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Holy .... Sent from DOS
  • Seriously.  This might be the biggest news out of Build...if this really works.
  • Keeping fingers crossed. Sent from DOS
  • Oh please, this isn't Astoria, which was redundant. There's a greater incentive to promote this than Islandwood, as there is a much larger user base for PCs than iPhones or androids
  • Astoria is redundant when you can get the same or better quality apps from iOS, and you don't know me. Besides that, my point remains, contrary to yours, that people will invest in this because I believe that there is a greater incentive to back Centennial than Islandwood, because there are literally millions of legacy apps on millions of PCs in use every day.
  • I have way more apps on my PC than any of my family members phones do. I can't do everything I need to do on my phone, there isn't enough power or applications in a phone to do what I need. I can't do any programming from my phone, nor can I do video editing, or music production. - Sent From Mars
  • Finnaly, someone understands this. Their iPhone, Android or Windows Phone will never be as powerful as a computer. Maybe in a hundred years, but by then, we'd have computers implanted into our MINDS, so the government can keep a CLOSER watch on what we do. Lol
  • I don't know about Centenial, but you got it wrong about Astoria's cancelation. Not enough Android users? Really? How does number of user directly related with this? Not enough Android apps? Now I ask you, how many quality and mass used apps on Android that does not exist in iOS? Facebook has iOS version, Twitter has iOS version, Uber has iOS version, CoC has iOS version, heck, the company I work for, MediMobile, has iOS version (and way better than our Android counterpart), etc. And most of the time, iOS version can either slightly or greatly better than it's Android counterpart. So why bother to allocate developers to make a bridge that will definitely overshadowed by the other bridge? This is what he calls redundant. And how does Centenial redundant with Islandwood? Does those iOS apps has desktop version too? Anyway, sure, legacy desktop app cannot run on phone per se. But, doesn't they build Centenial exactly to address that? If legacy desktop app can successfully converted to UWP, then those Continuum users can actually use those ported desktop apps when connected to larger screen.
  • You're the only one not listening to yourself, repeating things over, the 'redundant' part means same apps in iOS and Android! For example, it is redundant to port both Instagram apps from iOS and from Android to UWP. Obviously once the App (Instagram's example) is ported from iOS to UWP, then you already have it! Why work twice? Obvously there are millions of Android users, millions of Android apps, and a huge Android user base (I use both W10M and Android), but this has nothing to do with porting an app twice not being redudant!
  • Because you have to try some things out? Sometimes it works out sometimes it doesn't. That is the way of things. And it makes sense that porting from c++ to c# is easier then porting from java to c#. It woukd have been cooler if both would have been great but since most developers develope for at least ios and android at the same time or even earlier for ios there really is no big need for both in my opinion.
  • Astoria was neat, cant say I don't miss it, but it was generally a terrible idea for the platform.
  • I thought astoria was a bad thing from the get go. I was so glad they dropped it.
  • You forget to mention they never released the Android bridge, and they open sourced the iOS bridge. iOS apps are overall more high quality than Android apps (I speak from experience, I develop for iOS, Android and Windows). And Microsoft isn't targetting the millions of crappy apps on Android,  theyre focusing on the big players. All the big companies are on iOS and push out quality apps. That is what Microsoft is aiming for. There are also way to many versions of Android to keep track of, can you imagine what kind of hurdle it'd be to embed all those versions into the W10 OS if you want to run Android natively? Not even considering how huge the OS would become, and in turn it would become more bug-ridden and sloppy. The OS would double in disk space size. Major iOS updates are released less frequently and are way more stable and backwards compatible (code-wise) than Android. Going for iOS ported apps is the most logical solution since they will be quality apps, supported by all major devs.
    We have enough crap apps on our store already, we don't need the Android ones as well.
  • Astoria was an emulator and created all sorts of legal problems when people would start side loading apps. Microsoft didn't want to deal with that.
  • Please you act like they are as bad as Google. At least Microsoft is not a one trick wonder like Google and Apple.
  • Kevin be trolling. Just downvote and move on Posted from WC 920, 1520, 920, 635, 640 or 950XL
  • Agreed. WPKevin, right up there with Theefman on here as a stain on the community. The fact he can't see why the store is a key element to MS's strategy and bringing Win32 to the Store means in the future they can make a secure Windows (ie one where you can only get binaries from the store) is testament to how little he comprehends these matters.
  • Wouldn't doubt that seeing as 32bit isn't the problem 16bit software is to businesses
  • Please Kevin could you just stopp that bad attitude? Maybe it will be great maybe it won't but it is no use to be that negative all the time. Don't waste your time with this if you think it is that bad. Otherwise people will start to think you are just on a small vendeta instead of being a reasonable and a knowledgeable person.
  • You really don't understand why Astoria was cancelled... so please do some research  before trolling and thinking you are the smart here. ​Astoria was cancelled because it was alot of work to keep the Android emulator working, what if a new version of android is released and then it breaks compability withe apps? Microsoft would have to be updating and taking care of it. it was never a native solution so also many problems with peformace and compatibility would have had ocurred.
  • Arent we kind of missing the point here. Is this really about ios vs android apps and isnt it realy about MS wanting to get developers investing time in UWP and exapnding the Windows Store with quality apps. Sure phones cannot run processor or graphic intensive programs... today... but what about 3-5 years from now when that is possible or at least closer to acheiving, what, is MS supposed to then come out and say "Hey BTW we have this tool". Let's also not forget about Tablets, many tablets can run heavy win32 apps today. The redundant argument is understandable, how many quality apps/games are ONLY on Android and not iOS, I honestly dont know but I imagine it isn't a huge amount, MS can hit enough developers with iOS, at least they think they will. Anyway, I like to keep it positive so I will root for technology in this instance. 
  • Cool
  • Meanwhile, android, iOS and osx combined has less than 5 million apps
  • Imagine a world where at least 20% of those desktop apps ported to a UWA system... Across all devices.
  • Only one half of one percent of those would bring the stores to equal footing.
  • Still good! 80,000 quality apps is something! 
  • Steam, Ccleaner, iTunes, Picasa, Chrome, Firefox and so on... Okay these programs already has Android apps but for Windows it would be nice :( Posted on Lumia 930 with
    Windows 10 Mobile
  • As closed OS CCleaner (maybe PCs and tablets only) not needed. Sent from DOS
  • CCleaner hasn't been needed in 6 or 7 years, if that.
  • Wow! That's really the best news till now.
  • This could really change the landscape if it's as simple as it sounds. Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Nice, that looks awesome!
  • Please forgive my ignorance guys, cuz I'm trying to get my head around certain concepts - can a win32 app which has been converted to a UWA, run on ARM processor?
  • Since MS now supports ARM processors on mobile, it should work as all the normal UWP works on it.
  • I'd say if all win32 APIs have been replaced by UWP APIs then yes, it should run.
  • Thanks. So in theory at least, a full blown win32 app can be converted to run on ARM (windows mobile)? Would this be a work around, in terms of waiting for Intel on a surface phone? Eg Full desktop Photoshop on a phone but "greyed out" until the phone is docked?
  • If any library + .NET runs on ARM, yes. If it's a C or C++ app, a major rewrite is needed. Crappy native apps, Msft wasted too much time in that front.
  • Of course Microsoft wants those 16 million programms as Store apps... Because that way they can get a share of the money developers make with the sales of the software. So it's smart that Microsoft is trying that. But if I was a desktop developer, I wouldn't fall in the trap. Why would I share revenue from my hard work with Microsoft if I can just sell the software to the consumer directly? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I get your point, but in theory it could be a way to get your application to get more interest as a UWP. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Not only that but UWP will less likely be pirated. So its a win for developers. Unlike iOS and Android where you can just download from everywhere.
  • For one thing, I've never heard UWP apps was pirated. And how many desktop app was pirated? To many to count. Though, I don't know which one is better between losing the money because our product was pirated, or losing money to make sure no piracy ever happen, since I don't have the raw data to simulate that.
  • A few people like you have made this comment before. So I will repeat my reply: A few years ago I wrote a developer tool. When I was done I started exploring how to make sure that people didn't copy it without a license. I could buy an off the shelf solution for tens of thousands of dollars, or I could write my own. So I wrote my own. Then I needed to set up a server to authenticate the product key the user entered. Then I needed a web site for the user to buy my product and the shopping cart code to go along with it. Then I needed to setup a credit card processor. Then I needed to calculate tax and in most states you charge tax based upon the location of the buyer not the seller. And since taxes can change from one neighborhood to another (not just the zip code or city) I would need to find and pay for a data supplier that would be able to tell me what tax to charge from one address to another. Then I would need to file quarterly reports to the state indicating where the taxes were owed. Then I needed to setup a download of the software. Then I would need to setup a way for upgrades, servicing for bug fixes. I then need to set up a way for people to find my software through advertising, I needed to add the software to search engines so if someone typed in the right keywords (given that they knew they wanted my software) they could find my site.  Or I could just put it up on the Windows store. And since you are an Android user, do you refuse to buy apps from the Play store because those developers fell into the Google trap? Or do you just have a problem with Microsoft?
  • That is a great explanation!
  • Do you even know what you are talking about? ​"my hard work" yeah right, touching yourself to porn and talk idiot stuff you don't even know it's not a job... or maybe it is, and you get money for not using your brain. only because an app is in the store it doesn't mean Microsoft takes money from it, Microsoft only take money if you use Microsoft service to charge money, that's why there are many ads supported apps from different ad sources and many ways you can bypass the paying to Microsoft. why do you think you can't sell it directly to consumers even if it's on store? oh yeah because you are clueless. Also store apps would be hard to pirate unlike Apple store, which a day after BMD DaVinci was released on Apple store, it was pirated. But I know you don't have a brain, so, why do I even try to say something? Pirated apps are probably taking more money from developers than the developers who give money to Microsoft. so your complaint is just ridiculous and full of nonsense no-brain points.
  • Too many of your repliers are taking piracy and android/iOS as arguments against you, not the best one though. You can sell UWP on any store... you can install it from anywhere, so no, to everything you stated.
  • For those of you wondering what this means with respect to Windows Phone: understand that Centennial does not convert your application for use on Windows 10 Mobile on ARM.