Watch an iPhone game get converted to Windows 10 in just five minutes

A developer has documented the process to convert a simple iOS game over to Windows 10 with Microsoft's "Project Islandwood" bridge tools. And it works faster than you might think. It's quick. Five minutes quick.

Developer David Burela decided to take the iOS source code for the endless runner game Cannbalt, which was first released as an web-based game. The original developer of Cannbalt later released the source code for the iOS version, and Burela decided to use that code, plus the Project Islandwood tools, to turn it into a Windows 10 game.

While this project was handled using a rather simple game, it does show how iOS developers could use Project Islandwood to turn them into Windows 10 apps with only a little effort.

Source: David Burela; Via: WMPU

108 Comments
  • Thats a gud news. Hope many developers to use the islanwood..
  • Not really, at least if you believe it will get developers actually using the winmo platform. If they can so easily convert, then thats ALL they will do.
  • I still prefer a descent ported app over no app.... and with current market share not many appbuilders will invest in start win10m development.  So if this'll help to get the appgap smaller, and gain some win10m marketshare, i still think it'll be great for the platform in the long run.
  • Seems....like this takes no time at all!
  • If I count the time required (excluding the loading time), it would only take 10-15 seconds to just port that. D@mn too simple.
  • Well normal applications are just not ported that fast and lack a lot of api access etc 
  • Which brings up the question . Why aren't developers doing it?
  • Seems too easy.. Now what are you waiting for developers? Release ur apps..
  • That's easy because the game is from 2011 (iOS 4 or 5 I think). Old games and apps are "easy", but the iOS 7+, no.
  • Okay..
  • So, can this bridge tool develop iOS7+ apps, or none at all? (sorry for bad English hope you got my question)
  • Sure it can devolope but new apps n games will take lot of work.
  • Well..w10 mobile is slowly reaching 2011 in terms of features, so why not?
  • How so?
  • Then they can re-port old games like temple run so it will run better in windows 10 than the old silverlight app.
  • Temple Run is a Unity game not a Silverlight app
  • I agree with your sentiment, that old games are in no way a reflection of the difficulty of porting a modern game (especially when Islandwood has zero support for Swift). However, I'd disagree with your assessment that old apps are easy.  Part of what's difficult about Islandwood is that you generally have to recode your iOS user interface for the UWP.  Depending on the complexity of your app, that's a good chunk of work right there in itself.  Old games don't have this problem because games almost always use custom in-game menus.
  • Why? The only reason you might want to do this is to match a UI paradigm, but is that really necessary? If it's for mobile anyway, then out should be easier but it may be different when adding different controls, but that's it... Only if you're talking about mouse and keyboard or controller inputs =/
  • Yeah. Now there's no more excuses. Good news!
  • Yeh..it is a good sign.
  • So why in the eff are devs not doing this???  There has to be more to it than this....    Why, for instance, is MICROSOFT'S OWN BING APP 100x better on ios and android than windows phone???  
  • How do you know they aren't? Maybe big names aren't (I'm looking at you CoC) but there's some new games at the Store recently, we may never know if it's ported or not.
  • U guys just follow these blogposts and say no apps have come ... Just come out if this $hit box ... |-_-|
  • I've honestly been wondering the same thing. I can understand the motivations for putting more development efforts into the Android and iOS versions, since that's where the users are. But why are things like the Office apps so much better on those? If porting from iOS is as easy as Microsoft say it is, shouldn't it be trivial to develop for iOS first, then port things over to Windows 10 and Mobile? I'm all for development for Android and iOS, I just don't get why they can't use their own port tools to keep us on the same page.
  • Exactly. I'm all for it too,, except when those apps are far and away better than WP.  It infuriates me beyond belief and it's what made me drop WP after 4 years
  • LITERALLY dropped it as my main phone OS yesterday. They'll not be getting me back any time soon, especially when their apps work SO MUCH DAMN BETTER on non-MS platforms.
  • FYI the ios developers are not interested porting their apps to wp because MS too STINGY. And people do something to be appreciated, and their hardwork to keep apps running well is not free of charge. For instance Fotor doesn't interest anymore makes their apps available on W10M because they did not receive payment from MS. The developer itself told the truth. So that's the problem right now. What MS is thinking right now? To sustain their os without take out any single cent? Come on MS, its your wp future and your OS might will hit other OS down. Why you wasted ur money developing WP os without you not keep it all working well. This is really shameful for this kind of huge firm, MS. 
  • The tools are still a very early work in progress. Porting an older game is a lot easier than any newer app (like Bing) which uses native UI elements and platform APIs. Advanced features of many layout controls aren't fully functional yet and things like MapKit weren't even started last time I took a look at Islandwood with some of my employer's internal iOS apps. This is definitely a great start and more news/videos like this need to happen to get the word out, but it's going to take some time to be in total feature parity with iOS.
  • I doubt how are OS specific apis be handled by this.. Say if an iOS app is using Google analytics api or gcm how is this conversion maintain that Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I tell you why. A lot of them got their head so far in CrApple's ass(like Snap Crap Chat,..........), they refuse to support MS/Windows. That's the main problem. Also CrApple and Google, know if the App gap is resolved in Windows Mobile, which is keeping people from switching, is going to hurt their market share, and it would be a threat to them, so they are doing anything and everything, by paying off Developers, making windows apps. I hope this answered your question.
    What MS needs to do, just port all the apps from Android to windows on it's own. Not sure legally it can be done, since Android is an open source. I know so many people want Windows phones, and are sick and tired if Android and iOS, but it's missing their favorite apps they use a lot. However, I've all the apps I need in my 950XL, and I couldn't be any happier. Love my phn.
  • Come on devs... U gotta use this & start doing ur apps for Windows phone too, plssss!
  • A good news after a lot of foolish articles
  • Canabalt. Not Cannbalt
  • So I'm not alone...
  • I was about to tell the same, but... ^this!
  • Now Microsoft just needs to port all their superior IOS apps to W10M....
  • Porting is effective only for games .... Apps needs to be re-designed for Windows UI ...
  • I'll never consider W10M after MS dropped the ball with their OWN apps... it's embarassing 
  • Each system has specific ways of working...I honestly don't feel the superiority of the other platforms. So fake =[
  • Can the port be optimized? It was rather buggy.
  • Part of the issue may lie with the fact that the WinObjC compiler is still very new. Given time and resources, the compiler will definitely mature and produce more stable and efficient code. The developer can definitely optimize, even mix code from C++ and WinRT for better compatibility and access to native functionality like Cortana and live tiles.
  • Bigger issue, devs such as myself are moving to Swift.
  • Same with me.
  • This needs to be shared all over the web to ge the word out.  I just wish there was a sample of a more complex app as this will be the true test and deal breaker.  Thank you for this post!
  • Now don't dream SNAPCHAT and supercell's games would come !!! |-_-|
  • They will never come but I'm hoping for Miniclips 8-ball pool
  • Hoping the dev will approve this! Was thinking of contacting them to see if they would bring Canabalt to WP/Win10 :D
  • Isn't the game made by Daniel himself ?
  • The game was made by Adam Saltsman. The developer who ported this is to Windows 10 is David Burela.
  • Thanks for the info :)
  • Good work, Microsoft.
  • Ok, somebody port Firefox for iOS: https://github.com/mozilla/firefox-ios  
  • Old xda thread ... No one did reply on the thread |-_-| .
  • Voilà.
  • Great news! Hope word will spread and devs will start working for platform. Cheers guys!
  • Words have been spread already and still the devs are being quiet ...
  • Yeah, but I think this is first time developer puts a video and shows that it's matter of minutes to port app to W10. Till now there were just words, now we have real thing on video! I am really excited about this one!
  • Word hasn't really been spread. Word of mouth requires lots of users, not just an announcement from Microsoft.
  • Cannabalt was a web-based flash game before it was an iOS game, so why is a port being ported back? 
  • It's not being "ported back"
  • Yeah good to see it in motion...hope more developers use islandwood and microsoft promotes it well...
    Well hope we have Tsunami of apps ;) Posted via the Windows Central App on Limited edition Lumia 950 or Lg g4
  • Well i guess it won't be that easy for all the other IOS apps, especially the most complex ones, though it's a good start, let's hope that it will at least get the gap closer...personally right now the only app i miss from Windows store is the Team Speak one
  • Why is you picture what its is lol. I found out hard to read your comment Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • I wont Xbox game cobalt on phone. Let it be a paid game I would buy that.
  • Nice its about time !!
  • That was surprisingly fast though it is an old game the tool holds great potential.
  • What's the hype about with islandwood? Isn't it only for ObjC?
  • Yes. I'm primarily a .NET developer, but my understanding is that Objective-C and Swift are interoperable. If that's truly the case, I would expect Swift support to happen further down the road without too much difficulty.
  • Swift is open source now, so it will happen. It will be implemented eventually.
  • *nods*
  • It is. Swift interacts seamlessly with ObjC. And I would hope so, I'm the kind of person that keeps the colors of the rainbow separate lol. C# for Windows, Swift for iOS.
  • CoC then!
  • Yea , in ur dreams !
  • See you there .
  • A very old game that was ported from Flash to iOS and has very few platform specific APIs was easily converted to Windows 10. Eh, I guess this is a nice proof of concept, but any developer worth their salt can see this isn't that exciting and likely won't move the needle for most.
  • Really don't see the point here. How many Xcode devs have a Windows machine? How many are converting to Swift? Islandwood needs to be a Xcode extension, backed by a cloud service (upload, derive, build). And it must integrate into a deployment chain. As it stands, you need a virtual machine and a Windows license.
  • Microsoft is definitely trying to keep the barriers to entry low on this one. They already have evaluation VMs with all of the tools installed so that you can try them out. Coming in the next few weeks is the web-based evaluation tool to see which iOS APIs in your app are/aren't currently supported. Definitely suggest these other ideas to MS as they seem very intent on seeing this project succeed.
  • They want it to succeed to sell licenses, not to get apps. If they wanted apps, then they should have concentrated on Astoria and Westminster.
  • If licensing was really the underlying reason, then why give away free versions of Visual Studio, open-source MSBuild, and open-source the Islandwood project? Licenses for developing Windows apps is also significantly less than developing for iOS. Xcode only runs on OS X, which is only available on Mac hardware (or as a special exception, VMware's ESX server), and requires a $99/year developer license. Windows can run natively or virtually on existing Mac hardware, Visual Studio Community is free, and the platform does not require any fee for a developer license. Westminster is still in (long-overdue) development and the latest desktop build of Windows 10 seems to indicate Project Astoria may be making a comeback. The various tools are coming, it just takes time to accomplish such lofty goals.
  • You're an idiot. Xcode doesn't require a dev license. It's par with VS as far as that goes. And VS itself doesn't require a fee, but submitting and hardware (non x86) testing does. Get your facts straight. I've paid for both.
  • Hardware testing requires a fee on VS? I dont understand this part. Are you saying that a developr need to pay to test on their phones? 
  • Yet, it still isn't happening...
  • A web app ? Lol
  • Love the game. Can't wait for it.
  • Still up to devs but wish we also had Astoria or something for android
  • ​I hope the official 9gag app or the Web-Wrapper, gets updated with a port from the iOS version!
  • Thats the way to go!!
  • I just think Google has something to do with trying to keep devs from bringing apps to Windows Phone. Back handers. Not just money but things like, don't port to Windows n we will promote your app in google store etc etc..
  • They afraid of Microsoft. A company that holds 90% of the computer operating system market and along with Xbox another 50% at least on console market Google is really afraid of Microsoft. If Android had its real name(Linux) nobody will use it. So if Google lose the apps them boom. They are out:P
  • Android has more users and more sales than Windows. Xbox is at like 30%. Google doesn't need to worry about Microsoft because they're irrelevant.
  • It's really just the tiny user base and nothing else. Google doesn't need to stop other developers and wouldn't make these kind of promises deals because it will cause legal issues but by not supporting the platform themselves they show it isn't relevant. Being stuck on 3% market share is the real reason and it's why making it easy to port won't help
  • ^ This is the sad truth, but at least the new Microsoft has realized this. The porting tools are just one component of the larger strategy to meet developers where they are and to target the largest possible audience with the new platform. Even if that strategy fails, their services and tools are available in the cloud and on competing platforms so they will still make a profit for many years to come.
  • When we are going to see the first app/game on Windows store from this project?
  • We already have, Candy Crush Saga is an iOS port
  • iBasket is also an iOS port
  • Unity already makes it super easy to port games to Windows. Amazon also supports Android APKs, Blackberry also did. The difficulty of porting is not the problem.
  • Cannbalt or Canabalt? You are spelling it differently than what is on the screenshot.
  • You can have the latest hardware, but just now obtaining 4 year old games won't cut it.
  •   You should add to this article in big bold letters "Most iOS apps will take a lot longer to port" A simple game like that is easy. It doesn't use any of the built in iOS controls or things like AutoLayout.  It probably doesn't use many APIs either. You can tell by the comments how misleading this video/post is
  • Alternatively, I can upload the source code of game developed for iOS 5. Then you can convert it to Windows Mobile 10 and create a post out of it and prove to the whole world that it takes a lot of time. Will you be able to do that?
  • Cool. Are more complex games this easy to port?
  • Well they say the market is saturated, so maybe to spur growth some developers might consider moving to another OS. But if it is so easy to port.  that begs to question if it is so easy to do why are the MS apps better on other platforms.
  • Impresive !! what are you waiting snapchat ??
  • No No. We need some useful apps, not snapchat.
  • Great news. Hope developers start porting soon.
  • It's so easy and so fast but no one cares.
  • Nice ! Now, show us how to convert from Win32 to Arm, because playing canablat as PC application is not really a dream come true. Still, we're going somewhere.
  • I am no programmer, but my programming freinds tell me that it takes a lot of effort to port apps from Android to windows (I have not checked with them about porting from iOS). Even with the tool their estimate is that for any decent app the effort runs in weeks if not months. So I am still a bit skeptical if this is really how simple it would be. Can anyone tell me how much of an effort it will be to port a shopping site or a banking site would be? I am sure it cannot just be "a simple matter of cpying your code on a tool and voila you are done!" kind of approach. But purely from a functionality perspective, what kind of effort will it take? Say for e.g. if one were to port a graphic intensive, multiplayer game onto to Windows 10 UWP, will it still take just a few minutes? or may be just a few hours?