Microsoft shows how to optimize Windows 10 Mobile apps for Continuum support

One of the biggest selling points of Microsoft's universal Windows platform is that apps made for Windows 10 Mobile can be used as if they are PC apps via its Continuum feature. Now the company has offered some tips to developers to help them get the most out of Windows 10 Mobile and Continuum.

Weather app

Microsoft says that all apps made for Windows 10 Mobile support Continuum by default (apps made just for Windows 10 for the PC or the Xbox One do not automatically support Continuum). It added:

"This weather app is a good example. The developer of this app did not know Continuum existed before they built the app. They were delighted to find that because they targeted the universal device family, their app worked just like it does on a desktop PC by default."

The highly technical blog post goes over some resouces developers can use to optimize their Windows 10 Mobile apps so it works well when it switches to its PC version via Continuum. One think to keep in mind are changes in display resolution when switching such an app from working on a smartphone to a big screen display:

The mobile device will generally have a scale between 200 and 400. The connected display will most likely have a scale of 100 (most monitors) or 150 (most TVs). When the user downloads your app from the Store, only scale assets for the mobile device screen will be deployed to the mobile device by default. After this, an app update will be triggered each time the user connects to an external display with a new scale factor. This update will pull down the best assets for the new display. If the best assets are already on the mobile device, then no update is necessary.

Source: Microsoft

49 Comments
  • "one think to keep in mind" ...
  • "When the user downloads your app from the Store, only scale assets for the mobile device screen will be deployed to the mobile device by default.​" Oh, this is very interesting. I always assumed you'd download the full packages from the Store no matter what device you're running.
  • I though so too. How the **** is this universal if the download is different. Seems like a big waste of time developing windows 10. It's better they had spend that time developing windows 8.1, I'm sure it would have been much more stable and professional than win 10
  • Seriously now, are you trolling?
  • How is it a waste? A bigger waste would be all the people that download an app with all scale assets and then never use them because they don't use continuum. It's universal because it still runs the same code, it's just different assets being used.
  • I think WengWeng_21 doesn't have the word "asset" in his/her vocabulary. Then the person would know the download is identical, just not the data that's used within it, to which assets belong if they're dynamic depending on device.
  • Lol what a troll comment. You obviously know that what you're saying is to cause a ruckus and not for much else.
  • You did not understand a ****.
  • I did as well. Sounds similar to Apple's system of stripping out irrelevant sections of iOS apps (eg. portions unique to an iPad when its run on an iPhone), except it's automatic and proactive, not optional, after the fact, and reactive.
  • It's actually fairly smart, though it could become inconvenient if you open an app on Continuum without an Internet connection.
  • When you package the app for the store there are multiple outputs for x86, x64 and ARM. It doesn't make much difference to the user.
  • With ARM64 still missing, despite the Lumia 950 beeing a 64bit device...
  • It will come. But do realise that arm64 is commonplace on android because of the cumbersome os and the need to have massive amounts of ram because of unoptimised os, apps and games
  • Sounds complicated
  • Not if ur a developer. This probably wasn't meant for u. As a consumer, it just works for u. That's all u need to know.
  • They should also teach how have a decent experience on L 950 XL. It lags behind other flagships.
  • Only because you guys wanted it out so fast. Everyone knew it wasn't ready.
  • Not satisfied with the phone? Switch to Android...
  • Troll
  • I'm loving mine. Sorry you're depressed and sad.
  • Not depressed and sad, I mean it's the best windows phone ever, but it's also losing against lagdroid, so that makes me wonder if there's something done wrong with the OS.
  • Lol calling Android with a silly name (lagdroid) when to you, those 'lagdroids' are better than the XL Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Maybe at the first ever boot. Than every android begins to decade, inexorability. LagDroid is a correct definition.
  • Seems like tricking developers to go win10m first, because it supports continuum by default and thus desktop app is ready out of the box.
  • Well you have to build and target ARM if you want it to run on the phone, and only the phone supports continuum in this way. It makes sense that if you only target x86/x64 when you create the app it's not going to run on phones or support continuum on phones.
  • A developer hasn't anything special to do to target x86 or ARM. You just choose some check boxes in the project settings. The code is the same. Gone are the days that you had to code in Assembly specific to the processor that the application would run on.
     
  • Oh you still can. As example you can target NEON extensions for ARM.
  • This all makes sense, as any developer knows you need to publish ARM packages for it to run on phones. Phones support continuum but PC apps will still scale accordingly in terms of app layout etc. There is no "tricking" involved here at all
  • That's not a 950* in the photo, how did they manage that?
  • That's a sample picture for developers to market with
  • That looks like 1020 in the first pic.
  • Im pretty sure that photo is from Build 2015 when Joe Belfiore demoed Continuum for the first time. I was there and kind of recognize the background pictures. I think it was a modified Lumia 930 they had for the demo.
  • You're right! It's his hands.
  • Hamburger menu has to go!!! It's a cancer to big screen phones, or any phones bigger than 4 inch.
  • Hold the home button...
  • Preach!! Posted via.........deez nutz!!!!!!
  • We are developing Universal Apps for our corporation. So it is all in-house and invisible to the "public" store. Maybe the average personal user doesn't see the benefit, or even the value of Continuum. But believe me, it is a game changer in the enterprise. There are some hurdles to cross in being early adopters, but we feel strongly that the return is going to be well worth it. Just one example............. We can literally GIVE away Lumia 640's (or similar) to all of our customers. And they will be running the same app that our CSR's are running on full desktop screens. So let's use an analogy that we are a restaurant. The customer is handed a mobile device as they walk in and they select from the menu what they want. The menu itself supports a database driven itemization of each choice, complete with awesome pictures, videos of the chef preparing it, the literal ingrediants and what part of the world we acquired them from.........(all marketing, of course) The waitress knows everything about the customer's choices since it is displayed on a wall mounted display. She\He can even glean "personal information" as they serve the guest. This personal info can be added (customer preferences) into the corporate database. In the future, regardless of which location of the restaurant-chain the customer visits, they will be treated in a far more intimate and knowledgable way. All of this is so much easier to accomplish today, with the latest Microsoft Development environment and the amazing products and services that are now much less difficult to leverage. Our huge and heavy legacy software programs can now all be unbundled and turned into "apps". Many of them so "light" that they can be deployed on a $30 hand held device. It's crazy.        
  • Continuum on my L950XL blew my mind too. Works really well and all is almost instantly. Switching from app on the phone to a big screen requires no loading time at all. Still, this is not a 30 dollar handset and you still need good hardware nowadays but indeed that could change. Only thing the phone has to do is scale an app on a big screen, and if the app is "light" only the hardware has to support 1080 next to it's original resolution (still is a dual monitor set up in fact).
  • Thanks for the insight. As a developer myself seeing things like this makes me even more excited to get my hands dirty in the code. Continuum sounds really exciting to work with.
  • Need to advertise more... Great
  • Does 'pull down' mean download? If that's so, it will be quite a hassle to download new bigger assets on a limited data plan. Why don't they make an option for consumer to decide on what device the app will be used upon first-time downloading?
  • True,but I'll wager that most people using Continuum are are going to be connected to Wifi at the time.  It's obviously not something that will be used while walking along the street.
  • but do you think if it is too much technical to a normal user to decide what device the app will be used, not to mention user could use the app with more than one big screen at first time, especially when the user only want to try the app!
  • This is compelling. The more i use continuum the more applications I want to see take advantage of it. Microsoft health, citrix and remote desktop. Btw the audible app looks great on continuum
  • Does remote desktop not work with continuum? I was hoping to remote into a full PC the same way I did with Surface Rt
  • And Team Viewer....?
  • Nice, sheds light on the app development
  • When will be updated to windows 10 in Lumia 1320 India.
  • C.ll.lghtbb
    V m