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Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform is not dead, but it has evolved over the years

What you need to know

  • New claims that UWP is dead mischaracterized what is really happening.
  • Microsoft did shift UWP app strategy over two years ago to focus on desktop.
  • Developers now have more ways to bring apps to Windows 10.
  • UWP is still the primary dev platform for future Windows experiences.

Updated November 11, 2019: We're re-upping this post in response to Microsoft emphasizing its plans for the evolution of UWP apps at Ignite 2019. The original story, initially published on June 7, 2019, follows.

It was just over two years ago when I wrote that Microsoft was pivoting away from Universal Windows Apps (UWA) based on the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), and instead focusing more on desktop-style applications for the Microsoft Store. The reasoning at the time was obvious: Windows Phone was on its last gasps, and without it, developers had one less target for UWA.

Fast forward to 2019, and Thurrott and The Verge are both running headlines that seemingly spin things. Both articles have truth to them, but there's also a more considerable misconception out there – mostly from non-developers – about UWP, Microsoft's announcements at Build this year, and what the future may hold.

Today, I want to straighten the record slightly, but first, let's define what we mean by UWP.

Nuance is important

Microsoft UWP or UWA?

The Universal Windows Platform goes back to Windows 8, and it was meant to usher in a new age of Microsoft and computing. Back then, the mantra was "three screens and a cloud" referring to Xbox, PCs, and phone.

Of course, what people mean when talking about apps like Microsoft News, Weather, Mail, and apps from third-party developers is Universal Windows Apps – apps that run across all three devices with few changes.

Conversely, the "universal platform" part in UWP refers to the shared APIs and resources that developers have access to when writing an app, not the app's hardware destination. This distinction is crucial as we'll see below.

There's a difference between the Univeral Windows Platform and Universal Apps

Microsoft has conflated these terms frequently, using UWP for shorthand. This mixing of terminology was especially true during the Windows 8 days when even desktop PCs featured UWAs as the primary app experience.

Tom Warren, from The Verge, said, "This [UWP] dream really started to fall apart after Windows Phone failed, but it's well and truly over now." I'd argue differently. The original fiasco goes back to Windows 8 and its failed tablet strategy where UWAs were supposed to shine. Once Microsoft rolled back the new Start Menu experience in Windows 8.1 – and ditching it entirely in Windows 10 – UWAs lost momentum in PC.

The decline and eventual loss of Windows Phone only made matters worse.

Undoing the damage

Microsoft's developer mistake(s)

The failure of Microsoft's Windows tablet and phone experiences is undoubtedly a significant contributor to the de-emphasis of UWP.

But one other reason — which Microsoft has been trying to rectify these last few years — was the insistence that developers convert all their "classic" Windows apps to UWA using UWP. This approach was all-or-nothing and driven heavily at Microsoft's Build developer events between 2013 and 2016.

Microsoft will meet developers wherever they are regardless of dev platform.

To be fair had Windows 8, PC tablets, and Windows Phone taken off UWP and UWA would be heralded as ahead of its time. Instead, it failed and with it the broad ambition of UWA. (Apple and Google are ironically running with the idea now.)

Developers bristled at the move. Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet got as much from Kevin Gallo, Corporate Vice President of the Windows Developer Platform, who said "we shouldn't have gone that way" noting the eventual Win32 and UWP divide that it caused.

Case in point, UWP could not match the power of 20+ years of Win32 development — it was too green. With missing APIs and features even if developers wanted to port a mapping app over, if the mapping API was incomplete, or lacked features they needed, there was little motivation to do so.

It's true that Microsoft did not make it easy for developers to port to UWP and create UWAs. But that started to change, and it was especially prevalent at Microsoft Build this year, where the company took a more conciliatory approach: we'll meet developers wherever they are.

Open up to devs

Just call 'em Windows Apps

From Build (2019) "State of the Union: The Windows Presentation Platform"

From Build (2019) "State of the Union: The Windows Presentation Platform"

This point brings us to where Microsoft is going with all these changes today. For Microsoft, the future isn't only about UWA, but about WPF, Win32, and WinRT too. Toss in support for XAML Islands, React Native, Electron, or being able to use Chrome's JavaScript engine for Progressive Web Apps (PWA) for good measure.

Under Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, the company has been moving to an inclusive approach to the company's structure, services, and yes, app development. The company is not shying away from UWA or even UWP, but they are backing down from the "all or nothing" mantra. Instead, the company wants developers to use whatever tools they have to bring apps and games to Windows 10 and the Microsoft Store.

Sharing his opinion on the matter, Matt Velloso, Technical Advisor to the CEO at Microsoft, had this to say:

Why does it [UWP] need an identifier? The more the walls separating these different Windows development platforms crumble, the more developers needs can be met where they are, with their existing code, that can evolve, mix and use whatever works best. We want no cliffs. Pick whatever, evolve it whatever way... Life is too short. I don't get all the "this needs to beat that" and stuff.

The point by Velloso is crucial. Windows never really had a primary dev platform (Win32 was close) because of the open nature of the system. Developers have been porting apps, bringing new languages, emulating, sandboxing, scripting for years. It's what makes Windows great.

Nothing has changed regarding UWP, but how we talk about it changed years ago

With Microsoft bringing XAML Islands to Win32, or Fluent Design Language to iOS, Android, and the web, it's clear Microsoft wants to be the one-stop developer house for all developers. The days of app developers being platform-centric are fading away. The future is PWA, Electron, React, or JavaScript — things that UWP are already compatible with.

UWP targets: From "Building UWP apps for Multiple Devices" (Build, 2019)

UWP targets: From "Building UWP apps for Multiple Devices" (Build, 2019)

As announced at Build, these new tools let developers take existing code from legacy apps and by piecemeal, versus a complete rewrite, improve them using UWP. It gives developers the flexibility to adopt UWP at their own pace. As to why developers would want to do this, there are legitimate performance improvements in switching to partial-UWP as well as enhancements from XAML Islands (UI elements from UWP that can now work in Win32 applications).

Why UWP is not dead

Universal Windows Apps are still important

New "Legere" UWP app for Reddit released June, 2019

New "Legere" UWP app for Reddit released June, 2019

But are true Universal Windows Apps dead? No. In fact, they play a critical part in Microsoft's future computing experiences.

Moving away from desktop PCs to HoloLens 2, Surface Hub 2, Windows on ARM, IoT, and Windows Lite these systems are much more dependent on UWA. While Microsoft will let such devices run "classic" Win32 apps — emulated or virtualized — Win32 is by no means the primary dev platform for such systems (I'd argue Win32 is more is closer to maintenance mode than UWP).

That's where all this "UWP is dead" talk gets strange as Microsoft is betting huge on holographic computing and things like dual-screen PCs and lighter laptops as part of its future — that's UWP. The idea of people firing up Win32 Adobe PhotoShop in HoloLens or Surface Hub seems quite improbable. That's because Win32 apps are meant for desktop PCs with powerful x86 processors, not ARM, light computing, or holographic experiences.

The very basis of Windows Core OS and Windows Lite is built on UWP as the main app layer. Without UWP, Microsoft could only make legacy experiences, not new ones. There is no alternative to it.


Microsoft UWP and what it all means

HoloLens 2

HoloLens 2 (Image credit: Windows Central)

Since the failure of the Windows 8 tablet strategy followed by the demise of Windows Phone, Microsoft's vision of Universal Windows Apps (UWA) lost a lot of impetus. Combined with developer distaste to being forced to rewrite apps as UWA and non-matured developer tools Microsoft had begun shifting away from this approach starting back in early 2017.

As desktop and laptop PCs became the focus of attention again, Microsoft opened the Universal Windows Platform to cross-platform tools like Electron, PWA, JavaScript and older systems like Win32. With the announcements at Build 2019, Microsoft is now allowing developers to mix and match differing developer technologies with UWP to meet developers where they are now.

Pure cross-device Windows Apps still play an important role, especially for future, non-legacy experiences

So-called "pure" UWAs still have a vital role for Microsoft and developers. These apps serve as the primary app platform for Windows Core OS, Xbox, HoloLens 2, Surface Hub, and IoT. While these areas of computing still pale in scope to "classic" x86 PCs, Microsoft believes these newer systems will grow in importance, especially with the shift to cloud and ambient computing in the coming years.

PC manufacturers are also now using UWP to deliver customized app experiences, configuration tools, and drivers through the Microsoft Store, part of Microsoft's Universal Windows drivers program (opens in new tab).

Nothing has changed in the last year regarding UWP or UWA. Microsoft's failed strategy for tablet and phone is years old, but the company is adapting to the times. Looking forward towards next-gen computing experiences — versus legacy desktop PCs — UWP still plays a critical part serving as the primary (but not only) app platform for those systems.

UPW is not dead, it's merely one of many tools developers have to bring great apps and games to Windows devices.

Daniel Rubino
Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Funny. I read the article and I get that, *technically,* it's not dead. But nevertheless, because "Windows Core OS, Xbox, HoloLens 2, Surface Hub, and IoT" don't *really* exist yet, in the sense that I've never seen one, and may never become widely available, I can't help but think, "Yup. Dead."
  • Gears of War 5, Minecraft and other Xbox games were made in Windows UWP. Other software like the new Mail/Calendar were made in UWP too. Xamarin uses UWP to build apps that could be uploaded to the Windows Store. Saying the platform is dead is LOL Worthy.
  • Gears 5 is "confirmed" for Steam. If it can run on Steam, it's not a UWP app of the kind we've all come to know and love (or, rather, almost no one knew and even fewer loved). As you note, a few OS applications are UWP, but their most of their "real" versions (e.g., Outlook for Mail/Calendar) still can't be found in the store. Saying the platform isn't dead when MS won't eat their own dogfood is LOL Worthy.
  • Windows 10 is coded on this “universal thought”. Almost all of Microsoft’s inbox apps is builded on UWP, and most shells is builded in favour of UWP. Please explain to me, why UWP is dead, if UWP is in every corner of Windows.
  • Pls send me the store link of the teams uwp app
  • Because "P" stands for the platform. If there are no 3rd party apps it is not a platform.
  • There are 3rd party apps, so technically it is a platform lol.
  • That's not necessarily so. Unity is on both win32 and UWP. Some code bases can be compiled with minimal changes with different outputs. UWA can be technically side-loaded, they just generally aren't. Just because it's on steam, doesn't mean it doesn't exist as a UWA. If gears is a unity based game, it could be both. As a UWP, it would be instantly compatible with xbox, and PC at the same time. Porting it to steam would be just an extra platform, like having a playstation version.
  • Pretty sure Gears 5 is not on Unity, which is still not really ready for AAA console or PC games. Unreal is more likely as an engine. (yeah. just confirmed. Gears 5 uses Unreal 4)
  • Actually it is unless you think of AAA games of only fps games or such in contrary to big budget / marketing costs or blockbusters (e.g. Hearthstone is made with Unity).
    It is also technically ready just not preferred in most situations compared to in-house made engines or Unreal for games with top graphics budget. Unity games with impressive content or graphics: Pillars of Eternity I/II, Cities: Skylines, Kerbal Space Program, Homeworld: Deserts of Kharak etc.
  • You say you read the article but your comments seem to imply otherwise. You're not actually arguing against it, you're just saying "in my view" it's dead.
  • From the article itself: "But are true Universal Windows Apps dead? No. In fact, they play a critical part in Microsoft's future computing experiences." Key word: Future. It is *possible* that these scenarios will bring "true" UWP apps back, but for now, they're dangerously close to vaporware, and even the products that technically exist, such as HoloLens, are so niche as to be within rounding error of nonexistence. If every one of these "true" UWP devices disappeared tomorrow, it wouldn't show up as a blip on MS' balance sheets. And let's be clear here: I don't see *any* new device running Windows *ever* becoming part of mainstream computing again. So yeah, it's dead.
  • The problem with that is that Unity can compile to both UWP and win32 without changes to code. Unity will generate the appropriate calls depending on what compiler you're targeting. Also Unreal is touted to support UWP as well now, they have a new SDK in preview that you can download that targets UWP and win32 just like how it does on Unity.
  • Code in Unity is written in C# When you compile there is an option to select the target platform. UWP, Win32 etc...
  • Xbox games are not Windows UWP. Xamarin has mostly dropped the support for UWP as of now. You can still use UWP with Xamarin, but supporting UWP is completely removed from the user interface when creating the new project. The fact that Microsoft's Xamarin doesn't want to bother to have just a checkbox to target UWP is more than telling.
  • You haven't seen an Xbox? And HoloLens 2 and Surface Hub are too far along in development switch over to Win32. I think IoT is out now, but maybe not. Of course Xbox is the most main stream of these devices, but that will change a lot in the next 6 month as HoloLens and Surface Hub are released.
  • Meh, XBox is probably only 60 million or so users. Hololens and Surface Hub will take years to equal XBox (if ever). Combined the three are no more than a modest market relative to things like Win32.
  • Between xbox and PC, Microsoft platforms make up the majority of sit down gaming. UWP bridges the two, unlike win32. This is like saying iOS is irrelevant, when every web coder that exists, codes for safari and chrome. Not to mention that coding once for the two gaming platforms saves major developer dollars. There are some issues with that, like the need to get games in other PC gaming stores, but for example unity is crossplatform. It's easier than porting to say playstation. Less total effort for more total reach.
  • The death knell for any Microsoft project/service/platform is Daniel Rubino declaring it's not dead.
  • IOT, Xbox, Hub, Hololens don't exist yet?
    Is that why 95% of Fortune 500 are working with MS? Well... those new-gen AI cashiers or Kiosks in Japan are Win10.IOT.
    The automatic canteen system in Japanese enterprises are powered by Win1.IOT.
    Starbucks's coffee machine and kiosk are Win10.IOT.
    Walmart, Walgreen, Samsung, Singapore's smart city project are Win10.IOT.
    Then there's car, water / electricity meter, surveillance, drone, etc.
  • Xbox has been around for years, HoloLens 2 is shipping, Surface Hub is behind schedule I think but is still being worked on, and IoT id don't know the status. But yes, customers have them (some are just not available for sale yet).
  • Surface Hub 2 has already been released. I got a quote for two of them last week for my client. They told me they have a 3 week delivery lead time.
  • I said this on Reddit. Apple has made the smartphone a standard for improving hardware and software. Every year they have a keynote at WWDC and talk about all the things they have improved. They go through category after category: here’s the update to iMessage, here’s the update to Photos, here’s the updates to Siri, and here’s dark mode. I think the last time I remember Microsoft talking about improving the Photos app was two years ago. Apple has a coordinated plan. It really makes developers want to write code for the platform. Meanwhile, both Microsoft and Google seem to present whatever they have been randomly working on. And sometimes poorly, like migrating everything over to Settings and it still not being completed after four years or putting together dark mode and leaving several UI elements out of the theme. So what I'm saying Microsoft should do is have teams working on each app and present it altogether at the Surface Event in October or Build 2020. They need to make a phone. I remember when Windows 8 had just came out and Windows Phone was around. I thought to myself "Microsoft is getting to the same point as Apple, they are just sort of funneling in same direction." When UWP became an coordinated effort between desktops and phones with Windows 10 I felt like this is the right direction.
  • Well said!! Your points are exactly right. Whatever else you may think of Apple, they are FAR more disciplined in developing their various OS's than either MS or Google.
  • Good points, but I personally feel Microsoft is going the right route at this time. They need to focus on services that make developing for all devices, even Apple and Google. Azure is their future. And this platform is getting better and better at a rapid rate even if it is hard to see from a consumer view, but it is having a big impact across mobile, home and corporate. There is no room for another phone OS, but for services that enhance all devices there is no end to the growth possibilities.
  • Sadly, both iPhone and Android are horrible, and, worse, Microsoft's play on Android is anemic at best. As a consumer, I don't really care how you nuts-and-bolts an app. I just don't. I do care about whether it provides all the functionality I need without stupid amount of "well, you need to customize this or that" garbage. I want it to WORK. I can't get that anywhere now.
  • What apps can't you get working on Android or iOS? Your criticism is vague.
  • How is it anemic, if anything it's made me integrate tighter into Microsoft. The apps I use are: ToDo - great for shared family lists and personal reminders
    Office 365 - Word, Excel, PP, One Drive
    One Drive - I have all of my personal files, and phone photos backed onto it
    Authenticator - I use for google and microsoft
    Skype for Buisness - For Work
    Sift Key - I prefer the simple swift key logic From a singular point of view the most apps I have from one developer is Microsoft on my android phone Also one more thing (you microsoft hater), android has a far superior file system compared to windows phone. The ability to map network drives, one drive, google drive you can do in a singular app. Just like in windows explorer So stop hating so much and get over yourself
  • And that's not even getting into the app nuts-and-bolts, Project Rome SDK, that allows any Android developer build "Continue on Windows" and "Continue on Android" experiences.
  • I want them to make a better consumer product and I think it will be easier to make a phone OS in the future. The internet is becoming more and more designed around mobile. Azure is good for businesses, but they could focus on their consumer efforts too. Wouldn't be good for Micrsooft to come back to mobile just to encourage the PWA platform? Even though that is what is being adopted anyway?
  • At this point, no. They are moving their entire corporate customer base to Azure, one service at a time. That is far too lucrative to expend resources in the phone space. When OneCore is ready for prime time, I can see other OEMs making Windows 10 phones again, perhaps.
  • The reason I bring it up is they seem to be for open sourcing and having services platform agnostic. I think the best thing the OEMs could do is start making tablets and phones. If they could, maybe one of them should buy a phone company. It would nice if they came out with phones or tablets with Android and/or Windows Lite.
  • Samsung might give it a crack. They have a long history of trying to get out from under google, and a fair relationship with MS.
  • Azure is good for everything. It is hard to see from a consumer view but it is everywhere right now, helping make all kinds of projects better on the consumer and business side.
  • The platform agnostic pitch is really getting stream as well, people just don't see it since it's mostly behind the scenes. Case in point .Net core is the most loved and wanted framework on stackoverflow 2019, React Native (React Native desktop) get's native access to Windows APIs via UWP without having to use Electron (this is a good thing, those apps in electron are resource hogs). Azure is used everywhere and is language and platform agnostic, you can use any language and any OS (Linux, Windows, etc...). Their dev tools are the most popular today VSCode, Typescript. Consumers may not see this, but slowly they're getting attention for developers that they didn't have in the past.
  • I think they will come back to a phone when Windows Core is done because they want to use a true cross platform OS so they can add features and updates in sync.
    Having said that they shouldn't make a phone unless they could somehow have a container like or converter for Android apps because cause Xamarin, while an option, is not the answer for building a good app ecosystem.
  • Why buy a first generation Microsoft phone to run Android apps? Android is mature, fully featured, and has a decade of work behind it. Whatever Microsoft launches in a couple years will be at the ground floor. It is hopeless. The only thing they can do now is catch the next wave.
  • Actually, the biggest problem Microsoft had with phones and getting developers to make apps for them was not having an adequate OS and APIs designed for phones. Well, they are finally getting there with both the OS and API's. They we next work on getting an apps library for HoloLens 2, Surface Hub, Xbox 2, and other devices. The next step will be smaller mobile devices, and then finally phones.
  • Developers not making apps is a symptom of poor sales. You are putting the cart before the horse. Platforms never launch with app ecosystems. Android didn't have apps either when it launched or even when Windows Phone launched. People actually liked and bought Android phones. Windows, not so much.
  • Android phones are boring slabs, so are iPhones and Windows phones resurrects wouldn't be any different.
    They are all boring slabs.
    If Microsoft wants to go in on mobile computing, phones are not the answer.
    Whatever comes next might be and having a solid platform framework for that in place ahead of time is probably a big advantage. Will it pay off? Who knows.
    One thing we do know, however, and that is that smartphones will only comtinute to be boring slabs.
  • Microsoft already missed "whatever comes next", and so did Apple for that matter. It's ambient computing, and Amazon owns that space, with Google coming in second.
  • No, their biggest problem was whenever developers were starting to get comfortable with the mobile OS Microsoft up and scrapped it and released a new one which then developers needed to modify their programs to be compatible with.
  • Maybe you're here because you're using a first generation Android phone?
  • Nope. I have a One Plus 6T. Runs all Android apps without issue. What advantage could a Windows phone that ran a limited subset of Android apps bring me?
  • Liar. You're a 5 year old low end Android device user, and you can't hang with the real Android fans over there on AC because you're embarrassed. What's worse is you come here to Troll to make yourself feel better about your life, but it never could work. Do you even vist Android Central?
    Nope. SMDH get a life
  • Still can't make a valid point, just say "Live Tiles are the best". Only thing you have is personal attacks.
  • "The only thing they can do now is catch the next wave." Phones are not waves. They should make a phone.
  • Microsoft will never catch-up with phones. Way too late and there is no discernible way for them to innovate sufficiently enough to sway the market.
  • There's not much to catch up on. They simply start where everyone else is because other companies are figuring this out too. With Windows Lite, they are still going to have to build outward. The same way they would have to with Windows 10. The same way Google and Apple do. It's not that they're that much behind as much as "thinking" about how far it is. Microsoft in some ways has made gains. They experimented with Windows 8 and they have a platform with UWP. They just need to give it more attention.
  • "The only thing they can do now is catch the next wave" That I agree with. Smartphones are post-peak. As an investment area, it's over. Dual screens, AI, AR, VR, IoT, whatever else, if there is a new 'wave', it's somewhere in there.
  • I really think AR is the future here, but we're years off (I'd give it 5 years at most) before it becomes a commodity. But MS has already a big lead on AR and they're continuing to build on that lead like how they did on Windows in the pre 2000 years. In 5 years they Hololens might be either evolved into a compact AR device that you can bring along or is a stepping stone for MS' future AR endeavors.
  • Well, iphone has been their primary source of profit. Which isn't true of either google, or windows for their platforms. Expect this to change for apple, as iphone profits dip, they need to shift gears to services and the cloud.
  • That's reminds me. A messaging service, a map service, and a music service all can be found on an iPhone. Microsoft has Skype which is more of it's own brand than a messaging service, the Maps app is provided by Here Maps, and they gave up on music in favor Spotify. All of these are becoming an integral part of an operating system platform and none of it on Windows is centralized or what I'd call stable.
  • No, MS have done alot of importand updates of much higher importance than the photos app. Difference is, if MS startet talking about their photos app, people would laugh. However, when Apple talks about their photos app, every website in the world goes apeshit.
  • There are dll libraries in Control Panel that no-one knows how they were coded or internally work. Like any appliance they know how to use it but have no idea what's really going on inside the thing.
  • I think the obvious option here is to resurrect a mobile device. Not necessarily Windows Phone; more likely would be Andromeda. Pocket-able devices lead the world when it comes to installing light-weight "apps" where Microsoft can make UWP's shine. But, they'll need compelling mobile features, and a way to differentiate themselves form other mobile platforms. WP already a good job in that area.
  • Seriously, what would be the point? I laugh when someone uses the term "pocket-able". You people call these 6in and bigger devices "pocket-able". And it's even more laughable to call any of these Andromeda jokes that. No, Microsoft's only option for mobile have dwindled to Android and iOS, and then making a play for more "wearable" devices (I include VR/AR in that because I'm convinced that tech will enable smaller, more compact and portable devices sooner rather than later). But as long as Microsoft only does a half-axxed job on Android and iOS, they will always be the also-ran.
  • VR/AR is a fade just like 3D was from a consumer perspective.. Ask yourself when was the last time you saw a commercial for 3D TV or a movie showing in 3D? You haven't. Today it's mostly about OLED and 4K. VR/AR is going to be mostly in the business arena which makes more sense. Most consumers are not going to want to wear something on there face for hours just to play games just like they didn't want to were 3D glasses to watch movies. Sales are down a lot on VR/AR technology.
  • I might have agreed based on my WMR experience, but just got the Oculus Quest and it is clearly a big step into mainstream and will change gaming. The standalone nature and the quality of the experience really changed my mind
  • VR is bigger than IoT, AI or any of the other next waves. AR I'm fairly convinced will replace mobile entirely once it gets mature enough. I don't see people carrying glass slabs when they can wear wall sized screens on their face, assuming they get the the size of a pair of sunglasses.
  • AR isn't gonna be a fad most likely. It's gonna be something big once it's small enough and stylish to wear everyday. It can do a lot more tasks naturally and provides virtually unlimited screen real estate provided they improve FOV to at least 130 degrees. It's akin to having a monitor and laptop always with you and is more private since no one can see what you're doing by checking over your shoulder.
  • Just because you don't get it does not mean it laughable. Do you realize alot of men carry man bags ? So in that sense it makes sense
  • I keep my Note9 in my pocket all the time.. What, are you a Cabbage patch kid?
  • Rodney I'm not being overly critical especially to you I know you are a Windows passionate but in a correct way. What I'm saying is the word mobile and pocketable are different mainly because people like me only carry 4 inch device in a pocket. Anything bigger is usually carried in a man pag or murse. I'm not a windows fan but a Microsoft fan the more they integrate with android the more I use there product and services. Please look at my comments I hate bleached and despise the negative views on Microsoft
  • I would love to see Microsoft innovate, but I am not going to sugar coat the garbage they have been releasing the last decade like Rodney does. Sorry.
  • Yeah, instead you're a pathetic troll on a site about products you shouldn't even be concerned about because you hate all of them.
    Makes more sense to be a fan on a site about products you hope for, than some idiotic troll crying all his life about products he hates, on a site dedicated to those products.. Lol. Dude, you've lost ALL your tiny little termite infested marbles a long time ago. Go sit your @ss down in the corner, and face the wall. Sucker, Please 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂
  • Hope for? Android covers covers phones and Windows has the desktop thing down. There isn't much room for anything new until technology improved massively. I bet the next thing is implanted and that is a ways away.
  • AR will come in between implants and portable. Glasses/contact lenses with private, built in screens are coming sooner than you think.
  • I never ended up using UWP for a project. I just could never find a project where it made much sense to use it. The projects where I needed to reach multiple devices in the end always ended up being Web Apps that worked across platforms. And the corporate projects I always ended up using WPF since it is much easier to access local and domain resources. The idea was solid, just there wasn't really a market for it unless you were targeting a very small subset of devices. But as you say, that small subset of devices does still exist.
  • That's a good point. I will say, though, as a consumer, I have yet to run across a single Web App I thought was worth dung. I might as well just suffer through the web sites themselves. Perfect example: Twitter. Thankfully, I can still use an excellent 3rd party app, Tweetium....for now.
  • I think we are talking about two different things. When I say web app, I mean a web site used as an application. But as far as the Progressive Web Apps on the Microsoft Store, I agree, I don't see the point in any cases so far.
  • The future is the Cloud. The days of Device Apps are gone and will be replaced with Cloud Apps. This is why Microsoft isn't pushing really hard with UWA/UWP because the Cloud will universal for your apps no matter if you are on PC, Mac, Phone, Xbox, etc. It's why Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Amazon are investing so heavily in the cloud.
  • Err: Flipboard
    FInacial times
    Google maps (but yes you hate google) Also with edge chromium: Android messages
    Prime Video It does not take a genius to see the benefits of pwa's just open your eyes
  • The twitter PWA is good. Clean UI, fast. You should use it. All the google PWAs are good too. Uber is a PWA as well. I disagree PWAs are great. They just have a limited use case; light apps that do online stuff. You can't use them for heavy processing, or anything that needs more access to the OS or hardware. That said, most apps people use on mobile devices could be PWAs. It's desktop apps that will never be replaced with PWAs.
  • This. There was never a business or techincal case for UWP. It only ran on a minority of windows devices. It was less powerful and more complex than the tech it aimed to replace. Its app model was total nonsense lacking even basic multi-instance, windowing, and horrible restrictions around background processing. By the time microsoft had achieved decent win10 share and had addressed some of the poor platform design choices, most software had embraced web apps as the truly "universal" app. What is sad is that microsoft failed web developers so hard. Facebook was busy cooking up react and google iterating on angular. Microsoft, the alleged "all developer" company was pushing some poorly conceived native UI platform for a minority OS with no footprint on mobile. Microsoft could have been the #1 client side javascript UI framework for universal apps if it had not wasted all that time on UWP. Electron could simply have been a microsoft product as could have been react native. Crazy to think they missed this boat. I'd love for somebody to one day do an expose article on the disaster that was UWP. What was that company thinking...
  • I don't think they totally failed the Web Developer community. Typescript in my opinion changed the game as far as developing ""applications"" in the web. Managing large applications in Javascript was one of the biggest barriers, a barrier that Typescript largely solves. I couldn't live without it at this point.
  • I agree. The Web Community is embracing the new Microsoft. Typescript has exploded in the Web Community. The new open source Microsoft is being received well. Many are loving and choosing Visual Studio Code. .NET Core, and talking about UI framework, blazor is on its way and might change the game, by making use of WebAssembly to run .NET code on the client. I love this 'UNIVERSAL' concept in development too. One .NET for all your development scenarios.
  • I think right now it makes the most sense for xbox. Xbox is big enough, and UWA works on both xbox and PC. Otherwise, unless you are specifically interested in hub or hololens, it doesn't make much sense until windows lite comes out, or other windows platforms get bigger. Although I guess it depends on the app. Not everything makes sense on smartphones.
  • We use it for a lot enterprise Kiosks that just calls into an API backend. It's quite good for that case, especially when your clients want's the kiosk apps to look pretty (UWP's Windows template studio give this by default without making alot or resource files). As for Webapps I agree that's always the lowest common denominator when clients want something, luckily we have the upcomming Blazor so you can do C# full stack even on the web. Ironically the web assembly .Net runtime might resurrect something like Silverlight or XAML on the web somehow if someone takes the effort to do so.
  • I think it's ironic that all this talk of UWP by Dan and Zac lately haven't mentioned the WC UWP or is plans. (unless I missed it)
  • That had more to do with bureaucracy in our own company, who owns the project, and the desire from the higher ups to make it happen, not so much about the viability of UWP.
  • Thank you for responding Dan. I understand bureaucracy for sure.
  • Yeah, it really ticks me off. Combined with me doing about 9,000 things it's something I'm going to have to manage. Like a lot of things, it's on my To Do list. I think I may reach out to that dev group who launched all those new UWPs today to see if they can help. Community FTW.
  • "I think I may reach out to that dev group who launched all those new UWPs today to see if they can help. Community FTW." Yasss, DO IT plz! =)
  • I am sure they had no problem making an iOS or Android app.
  • There's no problem with making a UWP app, in fact, we had UWP apps before any of our other sites had native apps on their platform. We don't have an iOS app because Apple doesn't allow Windows-centric apps on their store. Great you're paying attention /s Our Android app is merely a generic RSS feed app recycled for our other properties and it always paled to our UWP app. Bleached, I'll say it again: stay in your lane. You don't know anyone in our company, our devs, the decision-making process, or anything about app development. You're an observer with limited knowledge of the topic you speak of, own it.
  • Daniel, I personally like your previous advice to Bleached better.
  • This... so much this...
  • So there was no business case that showed the benefits
  • While I can easily concede that W10 tablets never made it into the mainstream zeitgeist, I do wonder how much Windows 2-in-1 devices contributed to crashing the pure Winows tablet market. There was a brief period where mainstream outlets poured a hefty amount of attention on 2-in-1s. That combined with the rather poor state of Atom processors, going with a 2-in-1 seemed like the more logical choice. Though I guess it can be said that the Android tablet market (while more alive than Windows) is pretty dead as well. There aren't too many manufacturers making high quality Android tablets. Samsung, yes. And... Lenovo? Which is probably why so many Android tablet apps are just scaled up phone apps. Perhaps it's more accurate to say that the iPad decimated both Windows and Android tablets.
  • Laptops are the fastest growing form of PC, and 2 in 1s the fastest growing catergory of laptops and tablets. Android tablets are certain dead, they've been shrinking faster the iOS tablets (who have also been shrinking slowly), although iOS certainly had the most success so far. I think google has pretty much declared defeat by moving to focus on ChromeOS on tablets. It'll be interesting to see how windows core effects all that, from a windows perspective. But I wouldn't say w10 was defeated. It's more like a late entry, running up the rear.
  • Well written article, Daniel. It is balanced and informative. I've written some UWA apps. I've been wondering about where to go with it. This helps me see the future, better. Thank you.
  • At this point, the only reason I use Windows is for engineering CAD software for work. For all other consumer things, Apple and Google just do it better. Microsoft is just so way behind the consumer market. The only way for them to catch up or lead is to create a whole new product category. And I think this savior "pocketable" device is not the answer because it's really not pocketable.
  • You do realize that a lot of the world is not the consumer market, yeah? Or, more to your point, Google and Apple are doing basically nothing for the professional and corporate environment, so why should Microsoft not do something there considering it is their strength? I get some of you want "CONSUMER" stuff, but lamenting Microsoft's focus these days because it doesn't appeal to you is equivalent to me going onto a board talking about Oracle and saying how it's not like Google photos, therefore who cares.
  • I agree with Daniel. If you haven't been paying attention over the years then you missed the fact that there is a percentage of businesses out there that conform to the business market and another percentage that deals with the consumer market. Walmart, Target, Amazon, etc are consumer based companies, where Oracle, Trucking companies, Consulting, etc. are business oriented. Microsoft started out in the business arena before they started doing consumer products which I believe started around the time the original Xbox came out give a take a few years. The business market is Microsoft bread and butter and not the consumer market except when it comes to Xbox.
  • Games are a consumer product. Dunno why I have to keep repeating that, but I do. About 1/3 of MS profits are it's xbox studios, who make games for PC and xbox. Just because you don't play games, does not mean games are a business product, lol. There is a lot of money in games, on raw sales, games are competitive with hollywood blockbusters. Ignoring them seems absurd to me.
  • It is dead Jim. It is dead. What microsoft did during build was admit that UWP failed and made it easier than ever for developers to ignore it. Given it was easy to ignore when MS kept pushing it, it will be even easier to ignore now that MS is pushing older more established and robust technologies to first class and finally giving up on the dreadful store. So microsoft is doing the right thing: salvage the only part of UWP that wasn't a total letdown: the D2D UI. Still sad they didn't just evolve WPF as that would have proven better, but this is MS we're talking about. They are not exactly the best and brightest anymore so we should be glad they at least realized and admitted to the mistake many of us voiced the day they tried to ram UWP down our throats. So maybe there is hope some new leadership was put in charge and the old guard who kept pushing a failed platform built on failed strategies is out, or at least suppressed. But the reality is that microsoft has not been able to create a successful client platform since win32/.net. It may simply not be able to anymore. They don't have the conduit, the devices, or the market to do any of that. Hololens remains a niche device and xbox apps are a total non starter with games being written mostly against DirectX anyway completely bypassing any need for winUI. As most say, UWP is about "fun" and "Feel good" targets but they make very little business sense. The world is moving towards PWAs and straight web apps, so maybe that's the final nail in UWP's coffin and say nothing of UWAs which have proven nothing more than a handful of youtube ripoffs and a ton of college-level apps that were outright abandoned or are just junkware. Google and Apple have thriving mobile ecosystems while microsoft has nothing but a collection of dying or dead mobile initiatives behind them. So for apple, given the iphone/ipad juggernaut and close ecosystem allows them to push for their universal apps and they will always be successful at it because marketshare speaks and because mobile native apps still do better than web apps UX wise. Likewise, google's android utter dominance in mobile can also use some unified app model for chrome OS. So apple and google have bright native app platform futures, while microsoft simply doesn't. They got nothing but a bunch of old desktop apps which have no reason to re-invent their UI, and if they do, it will be to a PWA. The future for any kind of microsoft UI native platform has never been as bad, and it will only get worse. Personally, as a 15 year veteran of microsoft UI platforms both server and client, and having migrated no less than 5 large LOB apps from native to web, I can tell you that the ONLY thing microsoft can do to regain relevance in the client UI platform game would be to come up with something like electron or react native but that is better than both. Asp.NET MVC is old school compared to React and Angular and every time we port an old win32 desktop app to either, I'm amazed microsoft didn't invent both (react and angular) considering typescript is fantastic and would provide an easy path for the old C# dev to finally ditch windows native development for good.
  • "What microsoft did during build was admit that UWP failed and made it easier than ever for developers to ignore it. "
    That is not what happened at Build. The announcements around React Native and XAML Island specifically pertain to UWP. For instance, developers can now take their legacy Win32 apps and update them with UWP UI elements for improved performance and a modern look - that wasn't possible before.
    "The world is moving towards PWAs and straight web apps, so maybe that's the final nail in UWP's coffin "
    But for PWA to work it needs to be part of UWP for controls - I specifically point this out citing Twitter app with its back nav button, share targets, jump lists, etc.. Even there, Microsoft is letting devs bring their own JS engine to power it should they choose.
    "UWAs which have proven nothing more than a handful of youtube ripoffs and a ton of college-level apps that were outright abandoned or are just junkware."
    Like everyone else you just ignore HoloLens, Surface Hub, Windows Core, Windows IoT, Windows Lite. for app development. You just dismiss it, without answering the question: without UWP what do devs use as the primary app development platform for those systems? THERE'S NOTHING. So many of you are just focused on PC desktop, where UWA doesn't make a ton of sense, but just forget about everything else, which I find really weird. Win32 or PWA is not the solution for future computing.
  • Daniel, your article is an important one. The talk of "UWP is dead" is nonsense. And for those who say that everything will be web apps in the future, I also say nonsense. I've been doing graphics software since the 80s. My second software company originated Adobe Flash. My latest company just released a vector drawing program that is UWP. Web apps don't cut it for something like that. Try making a drawing with 1,000 objects in a web-based program. Performance will go down the drain (we wrote our program in C++). We won't be trying to port to the Mac OS, because we are designing for touch and using voice commands as shortcuts (voice recognition is built into Windows 10 - we are just taking advantage of something that is given to us - it's actually not hard to do). I'm also not interested in phone OSs. As a software publisher, I produce products for future computers, not the past stuff. The foldables and dual screens, and other new stuff, are going to be very significant, and they won't be mouse-based with hierarchical menus, and they won't be running the Mac OS. -Charlie Jackson
  • Thanks for sharing! Appreciate the insight.
  • "For instance, developers can now take their legacy Win32 apps and update them with UWP UI elements for improved performance and a modern look - that wasn't possible before." Yes, salvaging the only good parts of UWP: the 2D2UI. As I said. "But for PWA to work it needs to be part of UWP for controls" PWAs have no reason to depend on UWP and it makes very little sense for anybody to invest in that. The point of progressive web apps is to work on any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser and built using HTML, CSS and Javascript. The enterprise world has moved from its desire to be tied any any microsoft client tech. If you embrace a PWA you have already decided windows clients are not your only market so what UWP offers in this regard is just going to get ignored as it has. "Like everyone else you just ignore HoloLens, Surface Hub, Windows Core, Windows IoT, Windows Lite. for app development. You just dismiss it" I'm not dismissing it. Hololens is a niche market and not the only name in town and faces a lot of competition from google and others. So developing just for it using microsoft proprietary UWP tech remains a very risky and niche proposition. Some enterprises might take on that risk and probably get a kickback from Redmond from doing so, but the vast majority of win32 LOB sofware will never run on holographic UIs to begin with because it has no reason to. Surface Hub again, niche device which also faces steep competition in the very broad market of office conference hardware. It is unclear if there is any business benefit to invest on yet another niche MS platform here. windows IoT, also a niche platform probably will not go anywhere with Linux hands down continuing to dominate all things IoT given it is free, broadly supported, and fits in much smaller footprint than any windows can. Given Microsoft recent love for Linux, I'm surprised they even bother with IoT. Windows Lite is an OS without a purpose yet and unclear why anybody would develop anything for it unless Microsoft achieves chrome-book like dominance in a market..and even so PWAs for it seem better for you then get that plus chrombooks and ipads...yet again proving UWP is a waste of money to invest in for an ISV. "So many of you are just focused on PC desktop" YES! But do you understand why? Because we ARE Microsoft developers that propelled them to dominance on desktop. You know, the ones they failed to convince over, and over with their string of failed platforms (silverlight, winmo6.x, wp7, wp8, winmo10, winRT, MS band). We're also the Microsoft developers that had to make android and iOS apps and web apps when Microsoft mobile plans crashed and burned. So are you surprised we're skeptical of niche Microsoft gizmos given their track record? Consider surface. Only a hit once it embraced...US! Win32/.NET folk and our "old" software. If you don't understand why you get push back then consider you do not understand your audience. We're not teens using chromebooks and android. Those are at android central ;) Now I understand your agenda is windows news and to beat on the Microsoft drum. But your are over-blowing the significance and the success of Microsoft initiatives that are just promises and not really taking hold or are ensured any success at this point. Long are the days where Microsoft putting something out meant it got embraced by all. You're correct that Win32 isn't the future of computing...but you're assuming Microsoft HAS a future in this client side business with anything else but that. They may not. If you look at their bottom line, it certainly doesn't look that native client software frameworks need anything but win32. Office certainly doesn't and MS teams is even written in...Electron, not even UWP (which is hilarious). Is VS code a UWP? ha! Microsoft will NOT touch UWP with a 10 foot pole. Consider the most successful new platform microsoft has created in the past 10 years has been: .NET core. Which is cross platform and drives people away from windows exclusivity as a plus and they market it as such. But more importantly, it is a server-first platform with only now extending into clients with v3. As for PWA being the future? well I don't know, but I can tell you it is probably going to outlive UWP because it has something UWP doesn't: cred.
  • "UWP isn't dead because it is the only choice to develop for Hololens and Hub". That is the argument? Those devices are extremely rare. Development for them is basically only for internal enterprise software. They aren't going to drive growth of UWP in the slightest.
  • Idiotic troll fest on your part as expected
  • "Like everyone else you just ignore HoloLens, Surface Hub, Windows Core, Windows IoT, Windows Lite. for app development. You just dismiss it, without answering the question: without UWP what do devs use as the primary app development platform for those systems?" You mean like all the developers? "Windows Core, Windows IoT, Windows Lite." Are they a thing? if they will gain traction devs know will pick up, but as it stands devs dont care abt these platforms.
    Surface hub n hololens are niche. "without UWP what do devs use as the primary app development platform for those systems?"
    Are devs interested in developing for these platforms. Please dont show me the recently released apps by fans, u know what I mean.
    The neglect MS showed towards UWP for developing its own apps also didnt give much confidence to the developers.
  • BTW what happens to S mode now?
  • "developers can now take their legacy Win32 apps and update them with UWP UI elements for improved performance and a modern look - that wasn't possible before." Here's the problem: Sure, they CAN, but they WON'T. As to "HoloLens, Surface Hub, Windows Core, Windows IoT, Windows Lite," those products don't have any appreciable market-share and, because they use Windows, NEVER WILL. UWP is not only dead, it will kill everything it touches, because it is tied to Windows, and the future is Linux. Period.
  • Devs simply dont develop for those systems
  • Desktop apps becoming PWAs. lol. If anything will become PWAs it's all those 'robust mobile ecosystems' you talk about. You can't run photoshop as a webapp. Get real. The love for PWAs you have logically negates the love for the mobile ecosystems you have; almost everything they do will be replaced by PWAs. Heavy processing is something people tend to do on heavier machines, with better input and output. That's MSFTs wheelhouse. And sure you can say that's all win32, but be realistic; MSFT is slowly herding dev into UWP. Whether it's taking up elements of UWP APIs or running their apps containerized. The more effort they put in this area, the more steps devs will have taken in the direction of UWP and the store. Saying that you like the interface, but that it's dead, is like taking small steps north and claiming you are walking south. Everything in the future that isn't cloud based, and runs local, will need to be more flexible than only running on a traditional PC with keyboard and mouse. If you can't see that the diversification of computing is an ongoing march, IDK what to say. For android and ios; there's little they can do, that can't be web. For windows, that's not so. Sure, for now, do what is predictable and low risk. But long term, are any of us prophets? I don't think so. Things can and will change massively, and none of us can really know what that looks like. It's quite possible hololens will be huge, eventually. Or windows lite. Or chrome could replace android. We don't know.
  • > The world is moving towards PWAs
    Don't be ridiculous.
    1) js has no types, it's an ugly mess.
    2) it's slow.
    3) PWA still requires UWP. It's like saying because we have Unreal or Unity engine, we don't need DirectX or OpenGL anymore.
    Might need some reality check...
  • As a relatively new and reluctant Android user, one thing I find astonishing is the size of the apps! I remember when WP7 & 8 were still kicking that a decent app wasn't more than a few MB in size. I was horrified when Facebook took over their app and it hit something like 100MB. That was ridiculous! (for something with very little content) It seems like app size isn't even a consideration on Android.
    I really do miss the promise of 3-screens and the cloud. It was so nice to have a shared/familiar interface on my phone and my PC that worked the same way.
  • That's probably since due to assets (main cause of bloat honesly) and also since it's built using JS which is published as raw minified source codes instead of binary files which would have been more compact. Honestly though I feel apps are slowly getting bigger and bigger, my phone's gonna need more storage lol. Also even the web is slowly getting bigger and bigger (FB for instance takes around 20MB to load).
  • Agreed, the platform isn't dead, but the UWP framework is dead as a door nail. UWP lives on, but on different frameworks.
  • Why should anyone bother recoding for Microsoft when Microsoft itself cannot be bothered to do so? I use and wholly rely on Microsoft Money. There is not a finance program to touch it. Has Microsoft done anything with it for 15 years? No.
  • Fair points Dan, and I agree that UWP has A future, but I don't think that UWP is THE future. Nor is PWA THE future. I get the draw of light computing though. 80% of people, the average joe's and jane's at home, surf the web and watch Netflix 80% of the time. But Windows has always been about power. Windows is the big truck (Dodge Ram, Ford F150, Chevy Silverado) of computing, iOS the Tesla, Android the Nissan Leaf. And yes, most ppl don't go off-roading with their big trucks. Most ppl are "urban cowboys", driving their powerful toys to the grocery store and back... but... many people still enjoy having a little power when they need it... the occasional trip to Home Depot... the yearly camping trip... and just the pure pleasure of driving a truck, with its uninhibited views of the road. Microsoft should stop acting ashamed of its power user prowess. If anything they should be playing it up. And that is in fact actually what I think we're seeing happen. Nadella and co. are acknowledging they overreached with UWP (even with Centennial) by now allowing full Win32 games on the MS Store. And hopefully... that leads to other full Win32 apps, both commercial and open source. Viva la Win32!
  • PS. There's absolutely no excuse for not being able to download MS' own flagship product MS Office, directly from the MS Store, without being redirected to a website. There's no excuse for not being able to download the new Edgium from the MS Store. No excuse for not being able to download MS' own Visual Studio and VS Code. Microsoft's own Visio? Power BI desktop? No excuse! No excuse for not being able to purchase/download commercial and open source offerings like QuickBooks, TurboTax, Tax Cut, Photoshop, Open Office, Libre Office, Audacity, GIMP, Blender, Chrome, Firefox, Thunderbird, Opera, Vivaldi, Darktable, Eclipse, NetBeans, Roblox Studio, Unreal, Unity, LearnToMod (for MineCraft), Atom, Android Studio, GameSalad, Avast, AVG, Bitcoin Miner, MySQL, SQLite, XML Spy, 7-zip, Snagit, Greenshot, AutoCad, FreeCad, LibreCad, QCad, Discord, GnuCash, Notepad++, BugZilla, FileZilla, AutoHotKey, Krita, Dia, etc etc etc from the MS Store. Not only that, but they should be allowing enterprise IT shops to create and manage custom lists of all the above (and more) for their end users, with volume licensing, that allows users to install these on their Windows machines from a workplace customized MS Store-front without getting the helpdesk involved. I'm frankly stumped that it's taking MS so long to figure this out, when Nadella was so quick to reverse engines on Windows 8. Why so long to realize that devs are still actively enhancing and supporting a lot of quality Win32 power-ware?
  • When people say UWP is dead, they mean mainstream use and development are dead. They aren't arguing that you cannot develop for UWP, they are arguing there is no mainstream reason to develop for UWP. If UWP isn't "dead", why has Microsoft stopped building their apps with UWP?
  • We've been telling you your record player is dead for a long time now... See, people that call dead can be wrong🙄🙄🙄🙄
  • Am I wrong though? Do you really believe that UWP had a future?
  • Nobody is reading your comments. We've already heard your song skip for years. Get real, and get out. 😂😂😂
  • It's not though, I honestly find that astonishing you're probably referring to UWP mobile (yeah that's dead). But mainstream development for windows actually uses more UWP than ever, you just don't realize it's UWP. For instance the new React Native development framework uses UWP APIs and controls, the only difference is the language and runtime (JS), in the end it uses UWP to communicate with Windows. People say tend to tunnel vision on UWP for desktop and leave XBox which is pure UWP via Unity or Unreal compilation (remember UWP supports a ton of language C++, C, Rust (upcoming), C#, F#, VB.NET, JS etc...), XBox games uses mostly UWP C++. Also PWA uses UWP APIs to even work with Windows (notficiations, navigation, JS engine). As a developer we know UWP is not a framework, that's UWA. UWP is actually a modern COM runtime and API to make it easier to talk to windows (the old win32 COM interface was horrendously bad). You can even call them on win32 right now via querying the COM directly, and in the future you can call them transparently via WinUI 3.0 (which is open sourced by MS by the way). You may not realize it, but most modern apps that leverage the new Win10 APIs are using UWP. Even then the UWA as a framework is being merged into WinUI and will support win32 natively without XAML islands, which means the framework itself actually is evolving to accommodate more models. If you develop for windows this is the first thing you'd want to know when reading their developer documentation.
  • Good well written article.
    It also makes sense that developers can use UWP APIs in their existing applications that sometimes have decades of updates and development. Starting from scratch is just not cost effective. The only thing I have always hated about UWP en still do is the UI toolkit. Everytime I use a stock app in desktop mode or view screenshots in an article about UWP it is always striking how horrible they look. Usually it are huge blocks of solid flashy colors, with giant fonts, extreme vertical heights and padding in lists, giant fat textboxes. This has always put me off since the Windows 8 days and I am still baffled they haven’t fixed this yet for applications in desktop mode. Why can’t they just make the UI pleasing looking in desktop like Office365 programs, the webapps like OneNote, or even the new Edge UI. Those look awesome... But stuff like the mail/calendar app or the settings app is terrible when your DPI settings arent 75 or 100 percent.
  • I hope the future isn't Electron because it's incredibly slow. At this point in the history of computing, OSes and applications should be instant. It should take a tenth of a second to fully open an app, where the app is ready for input or further interaction. OSes should also be much more secure than Windows 10 or Unix flavors. I'm disappointed that there's been so little progress. Azure seems unlikely to be the future if you look at how much revenue it generates – it's a tiny fraction of Windows or Office revenue. Even AWS is not generating massive revenue. Unless there is still a lot of cloud adoption ahead, it seems like the cloud is overrated. My impression is that most businesses that want to be on the cloud are on the cloud already...
  • Protecting the Windows install is one thing I don't see mentioned that often. Coders & devs are human, and like people in every job or career, some just do much better at it than others. Microsoft has always had problems with software breaking parts or all of Windows, and it seemed to me that with their hoped for move to the store, with its isolating apps from Windows proper, they were hoping to put those issues to rest. I think that's part of the reason for adoption in some corp. IT, and might be a reason for it to expand in the future.
  • Thanks Dan. These kinds of articles is what keeps me coming back to WC. Future devices will blur the lines between phone, tablet, and desktop. WCOS is the OS to meet the demands of this future. UWP is the development platform to meet the demands of this future. I'm not sure why people think it is dead. It has many advantages over Win32 that future proof it, where Win32 is showing its age. I remember in the 90's when the web was exploding, people said Win32 is dead. Everything is going to the web. That was over twenty years ago. We're still sort of saying the same thing with PWA. Web apps and PWA will be the dominate way to delivery apps now and in the future, but the need for native apps on Windows is not going away. And UWP is the recommended way to make a native app on Windows. Because of the death of Windows Phone, some developers are losing sight of making their UWP apps form factor agnostic. That is short sighted. UWP apps should account for a wide array of screen sizes, aspect ratios, and resolutions. They should account for multiple input modes like mouse, keyboard, touch gestures, pen, accelerometer, gps, and voice. And it is a good thing that resource permissions have to be requested and granted at a fine granularity of control. UWP is not dead. It is really just getting started. This will become more evident in the coming years when a wide array of Windows devices will be hitting the market running WCOS.
  • Never had any faith in anything UWP. Microsoft's own UWP apps are terrible and featureless. That says a lot.
  • Windows Maps is pretty awesome. For offline maps with navigation, it blows away anything on iOS and Android. I now use Here WeGo on iOS for navigation with offline capabilities, but even though Windows Maps is based on Here, there are things that Windows Maps executes better than Here. I still use Maps on desktop and tablet daily. Also, Mail, Calendar, and People I use daily. Oh, also Calculator totally rocks. Oh, and Alarms and Clock rocks (completely blows away iOS's Clock since Alarms and Clock support unlimited number of timers that can still run through a device reboot). Oh, To-Do rocks. MSN Weather rocks. Edge rocks. Whiteboard rocks. Oh yeah, OneNote rocks. Voice recorder rocks. Photos sort of rocks (not a fan yet). You may not realize it if you never had W10M, but Camera totally rocks. Incredibly well designed with full manual control of all camera parameters. Groove sort of rocks (pissed they dropped cloud playback). That's a lot rocking man.
  • Yes exactly, as Brad Sams and the like have been saying, it's pretty much dead as it stands today except for those being technical about the term 'dead', and painting a Horse black and white, doesn't make it a Zebra. Now it's 'Oh this is what we actually meant by not dead'. Aha.
  • hi Daniel. If UWP isn't dead, then what is your take on this recent Computerworld article about a suggestion for Microsoft to kill the Microsoft Store: something about UWP is also mentioned there.
  • Gralla's article on Computerworld is brutal honesty, and I really hope Nadella himself reads it. Because there is simply no excuse for not having thousands of high quality commercial and open source Win32 games and apps vetted, discoverable, and proudly for sale or download on the MS Store. His finest argument is... "the best example of how pointless much of the software is, consider how the Microsoft Store handles the most popular Windows application on the planet, Microsoft Office. If ever there were an application that Microsoft would want to shine on UWP, it would be Microsoft Office, because that would spur other developers to write great apps for UWP as well. But Microsoft doesn’t even have a version of Office that runs on UWP, seven years after UWP was introduced. When you want to buy Microsoft Office from the Windows 10 Microsoft Store, you’re routed to buying it instead on the web, where you buy the Win32 version." I really hope Microsoft chooses the option of fixing the store. Though with Nadella that's not predictable at all. Phil Spencer's announcement that full Win games will soon be available on the store provides us with hope. But as Gralla concludes "The company should open up the Microsoft Store to all kinds of Win32 software, not just games. That would turn the store into a thriving marketplace, where people would go whenever they were looking to download Windows software." Such a move would probably breathe new life into UWP itself in the end, as paying customers are what inspire developers to try new things.
  • The Windows Store is already home to all kinds of Win32 apps, not just games. Seems like that Computerworld article is missing a lot of basic facts. One problem is getting existing Win32 developers to get their applications on the Store and conforming to its various restrictions. But that's not the same as non-game Win32 apps not being allowed on the Store - that's just not true.
  • I think the problem with Microsoft's "Centennial" project aka "Desktop Bridge" is that it seems to be comprised solely around their Desktop Bridge website. A "build it and they will come" approach! That has NOT worked. They need to be throwing serious market dollars at it. Preaching it from the housetops. Incentivizing software makers. Providing free technical developer help to make it happen. How does one incentivize... 1) Try publishing your own damn Win32 software to the MS Store. There is no better way to lead than by example. MS Office... Visio... Visual Studio... VS Code... Power BI, Dynamics 365... Edgium... heck go retro... Flight Simulator... Pinball... MS Money Sunset Deluxe... MS Paint... 2) Convince makers of open source software that a great way to prolong their own life, and keep ppl actually using their app for another 10 to 20 years, is to make it more discoverable on a centralized storefront. Gone are the days of the "lone wolf" dev. Stores like Steam, Apple Store, and Play have made sure of that. Windows devs need to unite in some place other than Source Forge. Yes gone are the days too of "freeware" sites that infect your computer with tons of bugs should you dare press the big green download button. Regular users need a place they can go and trust that when they download something it won't blow up their machines and send their identity information overseas. Can they still run their own websites for more advanced distributions? By all means! Just give regular people a place they can trust to get it. 3) Offer commercial companies rock bottom pricing to host their commercial wares. Charge them just enough to run the servers and IT folks necessary to maintain them. 1% or 2% cut of the overall sale should be sufficient. 4) Create tools on the MS Store to allow enterprise IT shops to create "company approved" lists of software their end users can install from the MS Store without IT helpdesk coming over to their desk. It should even be Active Directory driven, to give certain apps to certain roles. IT shops should be able to upload their own "custom" Win32 software to the store too. At the end of the day, these efforts are critical to other MS efforts, such as Office 365 and Azure. That is unless they want Azure to become more than just a SQL Database hosting site, they need Windows developers who will bake Microsoft's AI, ML, web services, MS Graph, bot framework stuff into future applications, and NOT choose AWS and Google alternatives. It's also critical to UWP itself. The best way to incentivize developers to try UWP is to make the MS Store a place where customers actually visit regularly. I for one think Gralla's spot on. If MS isn't FULLY committed to making big changes to the Store they might as well just put it out of its misery.
  • Well... it appears I got my wish with at least Flight Simulator today at E3. :0)
  • well if WC agrees that UWP is dead what else they will write abt, for years they kept arguing that mobile was alive and kicking even when it was painfully obvious to everyone else, for the same reason. They suggested bots were taking over apps and apps were dead, then PWAs were taking over now its back to apps and UWP being dead is a nuance.
  • The failure rests squarely with the lack of vision and efforts of the MS third world execs. They are parting out the company to google - soon only a hollow shell and logo will remain.
  • You must mean the non-white execs.
  • Now after having been forced to switch to an Android device and realizing that I still liked windows phone better, I do at least have some hopes. Yea yea Android has a ton of apps but many of which are poorly written and full of bugs, I am guessing that comes with the territory. But I have noticed that the customizable nature of Android I am seeing an opportunity of having my cake and eating it to.
    Custom Launchers are very interesting to me, and some even have a windows phone feel, sorta... The better the developer the better the launcher. If Microsoft wanted to, they could build us a launcher that would give us all the apps and functionality that we are missing now that we no longer have windows phones. In a sense we could have a windows phone through an android device, sorta...
    Imagine a Launcher that has all the functionality we are missing, Cortana with the hands free text and call functions that nobody in Android development can seem get right, Microsot Maps, Music/Media Player ect ect... All the UWP stuff that we so miss, all tied together in an app that says, sorry for ruining windows mobile and we still appreciate your business... I am just saying, Microsoft could do that if they wanted to...
  • Just kill groove music already, it’s like a media player without media to play on my Xbox.
  • Sadly, I agree. It has very little reason to exist any more, especially on XBox.
  • What was this? A Jason Ward editorial? Dead!!! Someone is delusional.
  • Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform is not dead; BECAUSE it evolved over the years. Evolved in the sense that it followed the more open and inclusive strategy. Win32 is a very mature platform and the enterprise runs on it. The UWP could only afford lightweight tasks. Moreover, building a UWP would at least gain traction if focused on consumers, and there are a few amazing UWP apps out there in the Store. As Dan said, UWP will be one of the primary app platform once the new gen devices arrive, but all those devices so far are focused on enterprise and developers would need to be convinced to set out their apps in the Windows Universe. Or else those devices will be limited among enterprises, heavy pocket Microsoft Enthusiasts and no one else.
  • Sorry, but finding ways to justify that Microsoft is still relevant in the consumer world is just a waste. They are the next IBM. Just business, let's face it.
  • While UWP (Universal “Windows” Platform) is not being killed, it is being sent out to pasture, as is “Windows 10.” The future for Microsoft is the modern OS based on open-source web standards. Long live UEP (Universal Edge Platform).
  • until Microsoft shows us the device and OS we are hearing from writers they are working on, all of this does not make sense. Mobile computing in general is STILL via our current smartphones. Developers are in the smartphone market. Without a mobile device and support from developers, Microsoft's grand plan for a universal windows platform will not work. Microsoft needs to show us the device and OS. i was really sad they killed windows phone. If they were looking at this plan, they should have let windows phone stay (and stayed 100% committed to it). Improve it as they go along with this new plan. They might have at least a better developer following by now. #justmy2cents
  • Could care less at this point.
  • So you are saying you care? Or did you mean that you could NOT care less?
  • UWP is not "dead" as many point out, but neither is COBOL "dead". As a developer I would have a hard time choosing it as a platform though. I can't say I'd NEVER choose UWP as a platform, it's just that it would be far down on the list for most projects. Here's what I'd choose and why... If I were building a new consumer facing app:
    #1 - Swift for iOS - Why? Because Apple's store has active, engaged, paying customers browsing it every day. And I can't always afford to write software for charitable reasons.
    #2 - Android SDK - Why? Because Google's store has the 2nd most active, engaged, paying customer base browsing it every day.
    #3 - PWA - Why? Because it's new and while I've built websites, I've yet to build a full blown off-line capable "Progressive" web app with Service Workers. Would love to try. And the allure of the truly cross-platform, write-once-run-everywhere siren beckons. Though in reality I am skeptical about anything that promises "write once".
    #4 - Win 32 - Why? Only if it was primarily a desktop targeted full featured "application" (as opposed to an "app"). And because I have full control to integrate with the OS and with other Win 32 apps. I would then package it in a Centennial wrapper if I needed to sell it on the MS Store. Even better, Microsoft should stop FORCING us to wrap stuff in UWP wrappers and just let us deploy our apps in a standard Win32 installer. Properly vetted Win32 installation is just as safe as appX.
    #5 - Xamarin/Electron - Why? They're cross platform. Or so I hear. Skeptical, but would give it a try.
    #6 - UWP - Why? Because I've been a Windows developer for years, and would only consider it out of loyalty even though it's quite immature as a platform, and only runs on Windows 10 devices. If we were building a new enterprise facing app, it would be:
    #1 - PWA - Why? Same as #3 above. But also because we do have a few Mac in the office, and web works on those too. Would also consider this for any new outward facing mobile apps.
    #2 - Win 32 - Why? No Sandbox is critical for some enterprise needs.
    #3 - Xamarin/Electron - Why? Same as #5 above. And only if this was an outward facing mobile app.
    #4 - Swift for iOS - Why? Because we have a ton of standard issued iPads and iPhones at our company and we have a big need for internal facing mobile apps. Would use PWA or Xamarin for outward facing mobile, and Swift for employee facing mobile.
    #5 - UWP - Why? Because I know what I'm doing with XAML because of WPF & C#. And if I were building a stand alone featureless, internal facing only utility, like a penalty/fees/interest calculator, maybe... I "might"... consider it.
    #6 - Android SDK - Why? Probably wouldn't even consider it, unless it was for an Android version of an outward facing mobile app we had already built for iOS. Even though would probably re-write in PWA or Xamarin. But hey if Chromebooks keep getting better I'll leave it on the list just in case they start popping up in the enterprise. Should Microsoft ever get more paying customers in the store I'd likely move UWP up to #2 or #3 on the consumer facing list, if only because coming to market with an OS driven app is about 3 to 4 times as fast as writing a web based app. But as it stands today, the incentive to target the MS Store is just not there, unless one writes software as a hobby, and not a profession. Also... if... my IT purchasing folks started replacing our iPads with Surfaces, and... Microsoft released a Surface branded Andromeda device with LTE and telephony, there might be a case to move UWP up in the enterprise to #3 or #4 if only for inward facing mobile apps. But I'm not in the habit of choosing platforms on IFs!
  • "......full featured "application" (as opposed to an "app")". They are the same thing. An app is a software application. App is just short for application. They are called "app stores" because it rolls off the tongue easier than "application software marketplace". The term "app" has been in use for decades. It does not mean "a tiny, trivial piece of software". It's just shorthand. Excel is an app. Photoshop is an app. Notepad is an app. Pokemon Go is an app. All are application software. Apps for short.
  • I'm not alone in this distinction...
  • I'm not new to this way of thinking, but still, I was having a hard time realising where UWP was going.
    This was what really made me understand it:
    "The company is not shying away from UWA or even UWP, but they are backing down from the "all or nothing" mantra. Instead, the company wants developers to use whatever tools they have to bring apps and games to Windows 10 and the Microsoft Store."
  • Thanks a lot for the effort
    great article
  • When I want to good dose of humour, I read The Verge and Thurrott.
  • and come to WC for fan fiction?
  • The reason MS is "backing down from the "all or nothing" mantra", is because no one was listening to them. Microsoft is admitting reality, because the reality is obvious. UWP has not replaced Win32, which was the goal. It hasn't even made a dent in Win32. Just a year ago, people here were saying that Win32 could not go away soon enough. UWP HAD to succeed for Windows to have any future. But developers have been burned too many times in the last few years by Microsoft. Everyone here knows that story all too well. In that sense, UWP has failed. Because MS has failed developers. Over and over again. No one was up for getting burned again. Developers chose the "wait and see" approach. They chose wisely. "Instead, the company wants developers to use whatever tools they have to bring apps and games to Windows 10 and the Microsoft Store." This is the real point. Apps and games have always - and will always - be available for Windows. The Store, however, is a another story. MS is desperate to have the Store grow. At this point, I'm sure they would be happy just to keep the Store alive. Relevant. But by only allowing UWP apps - and no one writing UWP apps - the Store might as well close. Now, by allowing all apps into the Store, it has a chance to survive. MAYBE even grow. Developers no longer have multiple reasons to ignore The Store. Now it is down to a single reason: Money. UWP may not be dead, but it certainly is beginning to smell funny.
  • IMO, there was never a point to it; esp. if you aren't targeting mobile. It's dead to me, at least, because I don't think the usability is there if you use a KB and mouse. Awful toolbars. No menus. Really bad context menus. Space Wasting UI design (clearly mobile-biased). Unintuitive Sandboxing and App Management (compare to Store apps on macOS). No real benefit in terms of service integration, as Microsoft is very poor in developing and pushing this sort of stuff (compared to what Apple does on macOS with iCloud, for example). Also, it doesn't accommodate the types of apps I'd use Windows to run over a smartphone or iOS/Android tablet, anyways... And where the iPad does offer alternatives (Affinity Photo/Designer for iPad, Steinberg Cubasis for iPad, Apple iMovie and GarageBand, iWorks, Photos, etc.) those other platforms are simply better in terms of app design and usability - as well as cost (cause Office is subscription-ware, while Google Docs and iWorks aren't). UWP made complete sense in the context of Microsoft pushing thier own mobile platform, so that things could be as seamless as possible between teh two. If Windows Mobile wasn't such an abject failure, I'd have totally gone all in on the ecosystem... But there were service gaps everywhere, and developers simply didn't get on board. Microsoft even took too long to get all of thier own apps/services onto the UWP... which didn't really give me enough confidence to buy into their strategy. UWP may not be dead, per se... but only because they're doing what little they need to do to salvage the pieces left over. As far as the intent of UWP is concerned... it's pretty much dead as far as most consumers are concerned. Apple is now showing Microsoft how it's supposed to be done. Got the same types of posts when they killed off RT. It's all spin, IMO.
  • You are confusing UWA with UWP. UWP can also look like desktop programs if made so (it is up to the developer), just overall better looking and more consistent (with this I don't mean the UI layout but smaller things like all interface elements individually working consistent with mouse, touchscreen/pens, keyboard, controllers and touchpads etc. There are also the benefits of ,better battery life, sandboxing and permissions which x86 apps lack.
  • Great article and you really nailed what the renewed focus is for Microsoft, to build tools for others to build things. For anyone interested; Hit Refresh, the autobiography of Nadella, gives you a great understanding where MS is aiming.
  • Well Bill Gates admitted it himself.It was a huge mistake to dish Windows phone and W10M. The mistake seems to be too huge to fix.
  • Yet another recycled article. The comments are from 5 months ago. Is UWP more/less dead now than it was 5 months ago?
  • HTML/java code is an ugly mess... UWP was a step towards making a mess more elegant with programming xaml objects in c#... but unfortunately it’s still not as powerful as html/javascript for window layout... in my opinion... they need to port more html features to UWP xaml to get it to be less junky.... you can have a sexy windows pAge using html and java... or you can make your application look retarded by using native uwp components... the dirty secret of windows uwp programming is that you can embedded a web browser in your application and use c# to write JavaScript/html to present your data....who is really winning here?
  • You can play with semantics however you like. We know the truth.
  • Great article. All this means that any developer who has no legacy Win32 code to support and who wants to target Windows 10 should really focus on UWP exclusively. There is no point of wasting time with win32 or any other legacy technology.
  • I guess Windows Central is now going from publishing weekly articles about how Windows Phone isn't dead to how UWP isn't dead.
  • > That's where all this "UWP is dead" talk gets strange as Microsoft is betting
    > huge on holographic computing and things like dual-screen PCs and lighter laptops
    > as part of its future — that's UWP.
    > The idea of people firing up Win32 Adobe PhotoShop in HoloLens or Surface Hub seems
    > quite improbable. That's because Win32 apps are meant for desktop PCs with powerful
    > x86 processors, not ARM, light computing, or holographic experiences.
    I too find "UWP is dead" funny.
    WinClassic stays, so your business is not going away but you won't be able to move forward either (someone else might). Axing ARM and UWP? What will happen to Hololens, Hub, Xbox, Foldable, smart city, water meter, power grid, surveillance, drone, smart cashier, fridge, kiosk, car, robotic, things Fortune 500 are building, govt and military projects?
    ARM and UWP is crucial to Windows (esp to WCOS), it's inevitable. It's all up to you where or not you want to adapt these new tech, to expand your business.
    If you don't... sure, you app is improbable on Hub or car (how about foldable or 6/7 inch tablet?), but adapting ARM == no harm.
    Today we have ARM, tomorrow we might have something else. And WCOS, the modular OS will adapt that. The longer you withhold, the more trouble you will have. > The very basis of Windows Core OS and Windows Lite is built on UWP as the main app
    > layer. Without UWP, Microsoft could only make legacy experiences, not new ones.
    > There is no alternative to it.
    There is no alternative to it.
    And WCOS family only needs something that's lightweight, with clean uninstatllation and no system tampering.
    win32 on WCOS on ARM is not going to happen tbh. It drains battery and it breaches security. And we don't want leftover rubbishes.
    * Which is why MS is allowing sandboxed win32 on the store to help ease the transition, but that's just a quick hack. Transition take times, when you have a program that's 20, 30 years old...
    1) There's no magic button and 2) refactoring, fixing, changing old code is extreme dangerous (building it new might be easier tbh). If you are new to SW business or someone trying to build a new app? Go with UWP.
    If you wan to build IOT with AI/ML and need a console (maybe a Surface or Hub?) to show all the informations those machines have gathered? Have no choice but to choose UWP.
    Edge Computing? UWP.
    Game development is a difference story (esp for indies). They use 3rd party game engines and PC game stores don't support MSIX or APPX (yet) but if you are coding for Xbox?
    If you do cross-platform consumer facing app, Xamarin, Electron? * consumer facing app... how profitable is this I've no idea. Smart-phone happened 10 years ago, what else can you make? Another SNS or photo decorator? Coupon app maybe. Mobile game... it's hell for indies tho. Money belongs to big players.
  • btw, currently Store accepts (sandboxed) win32 packed only with MSIX right?
    Accepting *.exe (only WinClassic can see'em so it won't hurt WCOS) might not be a bad idea. People can start submitting their exes with abs 0 effort. And people who want advantages over others, will have to adapt UWP and ARM.