Microsoft's Android and iOS compilers have some interesting code names

Microsoft's newly announced Windows 10 compilers for Android and iOS apps have some very interesting code names, as do the tools for turning Windows desktop apps and web apps into ones that can work under the company's universal app plans for Windows 10.

Microsoft's umbrella name for these tools is the Universal Windows Platform Bridges. The Android version has the code name "Project Astoria". Here's how Microsoft describes it:

For existing Android developers, "Project Astoria" will enable you to build apps using Android code to target Windows 10 phones without having to leave your Android IDE. In addition to extending the IDE, "Project Astoria" will include a Windows phone emulator and interop capabilities that help your app (including UI and services) to run and look great on the Windows platform."

The iOS tools are being made under the name "Project Islandwood":

"For existing iOS developers, "Project Islandwood" will enable you to build a universal Windows app from within Visual Studio 2015 using your existing Objective-C code.You will be able to import your Xcode project into Visual Studio, tailor the app experience to run on each Windows device family, and extend your iOS code to take advantage of Universal Windows Platform capabilities"

Classic Windows desktop apps have their own compliers, under the code name ""Project Centennial". Finally, web app tools have the code name "Project Westminster"

The company says that more information about all of these compilers will be revealed later this summer. However, it is extending an invite to Android and iOS app developers to sign up for a private beta of their tools so they can get some early feedback.

Source: Microsoft

John Callaham
  • Project Astoria and Project Islandwood, nice names!
    Project Centennial reminds me of Math;
    Westminster.......London reference?
  • IMO Centennial is the least cool of all, maybe because Win32. I feel the old age now. I must stop.
  • I can only assume it's a London reference is Westminster. Far as I know, that's where our Government resides.
  • Centennial means celebration after 100 years which could be a reference to old age.
  • They are, unsurprisingly, the names of bridges. Chosen as they begin with the same letters as the OS being targeted.
  • Kinda obvious and unimportant but, the project names and OS/source names start with the same letter. Android - Astoria iOS - Islandwood Classic - Centennial Web - Westminster
  • MS needs to use these names for their projects. Android- Project Kick your SPY ass iOS- project wake up iSHEEP
  • Hahah superb
  • So, what evil Google do with that info?
  • Why there's no Blackberry OS ?
  • LOL.
  • I don't even know what do people use to make native BB10 apps.
  • BB10 has native apps?       ;-P
  • Soon that'll be Windows phone too. Obviously I'm happy that we can finally close the app gap but at what cost?
  • Apparently there is only room for one type of fruit in the mobile OS world.  
  • @Alexander McCain:
    No bridge found with a name that starts with "B". ^.^
  • Centennial reminds me of hops. Some craft beer IPA's are brewed with Centennial Hops.
  • Nice names and great move
  • This is probably in the wrong location, but I have a question on how these compilers work (i'm not a dev). So, if I were spotify and I made a desktop client for windows, is there a compiler that immediately ports that to a universal app that I can use on my phone/hololens/surface hub as well?
  • No you or in this case Spotify would have to compile it.
  • From the source... "”Project Centennial” will make it possible to package and publish your current .NET and Win32-based Windows applications to the Windows Store, providing a new way of distributing and monetizing your application on Windows PCs. In addition to packaging your application for Store distribution, ”Project Centennial” will also enable you to take advantage of Universal Windows Platform capabilities and APIs. More information about ”Project Centennial” will be made available in Summer 2015." From the sound of it, I don't think this will convert a desktop app to a universal app automatically.  To be honest, that would be of little value for most apps anyway.  There are too many design descisions that need to be made when porting a desktop app to touch or vice versa.  The iOS/Android converters are easier because those apps are already built for touch.
  • It converts it with tweaking while embedding it in a secure container that prevents the app from screwing with the OS and slowing it down.  Myerson stated that Photoshop Elements and Premiere Elements are coming to the platform.  It's conceivable that even other web browsers could come over, but it appears they operate in containers that isolate them for security reasons and to prevent them from gradually slowing down the system. In theory if all Win32 apps used on a certain Windows 10 system came through the Windows Store and were run like this along with the other Modern Universal Apps, the Windows system should not see slowdown and bloat over its life as long as Win32 apps are not installed the traditional way.
  • I'm personally loving that decision to sandbox desktop software in a container and ensuring its removed when you remove it. It's was one of the main reasons I loved Windows RT.
  • Other web browsers won't come because Microsoft has closed the needed APIs for other rendering engines, you either use Trident (EdgeHtml on Win10) or use nothing. Mozilla has said that if Microsoft ever allow new engines to come to WP they will be willing to do so. In this point Microsoft is being as douche as Apple. Unfortunately. Souce: Anyway, Firefox gave up and is working on iOS:
  • Opera Mini is on WP, the point is that the rendering engine doesn't need to be on the device.
  • And at the expense that you have no JavaScript and modular CSS. If you have used Opera Mini you would know it.
  • You're quoting an article about how they put development for Windows Phone 7 on hold until Microsoft allowed the APIs. That is VERY old news, and has nothing to do with Windows 10 Universal Apps. Microsoft CANNOT prevent competing browsers from being made for Windows 10. There is already legal precedent for this that cost Microsoft dearly in the past. Phones aren't a big deal, but for desktops and laptops, Microsoft HAS to allow the apps to be made. If Firefox makes a universal app for the Windows Store, then it will work on ALL Windows 10 devices. This includes Desktop, tablet, phone, HoloLens, and whatever else. Its all a matter of if Firefox wants to convert the code. Now, they may just decide to do the Win32 port to the store and not the full Universal App direction, but it won't be because Microsoft is closing the API on this in Windows 10.
  • And it's still on hold because Microsoft has not allowed the APIs. Of course it's very old because this started with WP7 and WP8 has not brought this liberty so far. Point to us all here where are the new APIs for modern apps that allow other rendering engines because it'll help Mozilla a lot. "Microsoft CANNOT prevent competing browsers from being made for Windows 10."
    I have not said anything about Desktop classic software, I'm talking about what Microsoft calls Modern apps, where there's no way to bring other rendering engines. Project Centennial is merely a way to allow win32/64 software to be installable from the store and give some access to Modern apps APIs, it won't automagically transform in a Modern app, it will still be run as a standard win32 software and won't be available for phones.
  • Lol funny
  • When in Hawaii I had islandwood. I compiled for hours.
  • Sick
  • ...or as Cortana would say "At your service!!!"
  • I see what you did there...
  • What.?
  • Huhhh❓ You lost me at what.
  • You lost me at NIST.
  • Hm... according to Ars Technica, iOS code requires recompilation, but Android doesn't.
  • That seems to agree with the quotes in this article then.  It sounds like the tools for Android developers will run within the existing Android dev tools and simply output a seperate set of binaries for the Windows app at the same time that the Android apk is being created. For iOS, it sounds like the code will be imported into Visual Studio, tweaked if needed, and compiled to a universal app.
  • All will require recompilation. Ars is messing words, the difference is that from iOS you will have to import the code from xcode to Visual Studio and from here both codes will be separated, one in xcode and another in VS. From Android you'll be able to have a sharing code, only parts of the code would differ from Android and Windows. Pretty much like any "classic" software development already is. That's quite obvious since xcode is from Apple and they close the damn thing very thight, Android on the other hand uses Eclipse, a tool that already exists for years and is open-source so it's "easy" for Microsoft to create a SDK to create a sharing system. If it did not require recompilation Windows 10 then would execute apk files and they would not be burning money in Project Astoria. Cleavitt76 has pointed the most probable that is it will compile both at same time.  
  • In the Keynote they didnt say anything about needing to compile for Android (in contrary to iOS). Oh and Google doesnt use Eclipse for development. The Android Studio is based on NetBeans. You used Eclipse years ago (still can tho). I think you are misinterpreting (and many medias are too). But maybe they just misspelled at the keynote, which is probable.
  • Show me where in the MS article it contains the word compile or any derivative. It does not, because it's obvious it requires recompilation, what Microsoft is doing is what has been true for years in desktop development, that's cross-compiling. All software available for multiple OSes does this, they have one main code shared and just have different backends to deal with the different OS and generally compile in the same place. That's true for mobile too, but it's harder because you have to compile on different IDE. I'm not misinterpreting, that's how computers work. You either compile for one OS or you emulate. Nobody came with a magical tool that creates a universal executable, especially because it'd be useless and would make the software bigger and slower. Just read here and you'll see that it requires recompiling: And Eclipse or NetBeans the point is the same. Thanks for letting me know though.
  • I'm pleased with all of the news coming out of build. My contract expires next month and I'm looking to upgrade soon. The moves that MSFT is making should keep me invested in the Windows ecosystem.
  • Couldn't agree more! I was very impressed with the reveal. Especially iOS and Android apps running on Windows 10. I had Candy Crush installed and it ran great. App gap completely closed. Just hope developers jump on board.
  • What? Can we non developer can do that ? Did you mean that you ported the Android/iOS app to windows phone? Correct me if i am wrong.
  • Not natively, they need to recompile.
  • philharmonik was just running the Candy Crush that the game maker ported from iOS using the tools provided by Microsoft.
  • Later this Summer❓❓❓❓❓
    They need these damn tools NOW❗❗....
  • Don't you want an OS to go with it though? ;)
  • No, just apps.. Who needs a OS❓
  • What the heck are you smoking!! Shit like that messes with your brain.
  • Is this the first time seeing his posts?
    Also: Can't start a post with first? That's how you win
  • The question is what are you smoking to where you can't recognize sarcasm... SMDH.. Lol❗❗❗
  • Now MS Outlook AND MS office are two new OS(just app platform) platform they are giving you.
  • Lol... Whachu talkin bout, Willis❓❓❓
  • Add ins like uber and all that in those products
  • Yes we need those tools now, and i belive they shoud be called: iOS- project "Wake-Up iSHEEP" Android- Project "Kick your Spy Ass" They fit way better:-)
  • LMFAO.....
    But, in all honesty iPhone fans have good reason to be... They have an extremely good feature rich OS, that's nice to look at, and intuitive, very clean, has the apps, and Apple has very good hardware that is released yearly on a consistent basis.. Very high quality devices, and support.
    And, on the other hand, Android fans have a shit ton of choice, they got the apps, and support, and customization, awesome high end devices, and those 7 out of 10 smartphone users aren't really walking around worried about security at all....
    Now, finally, with W10 WP users have the same amount of advantages, and when the apps do finally come in WP will be arguably equal to the other two. Personally, with apps I think WP/W10 will be literally the better of the three on paper, which is huge, as now it's not...
    ............ See, I'm unbiased:-):-):-):-):-):-)
  • All those people who said windows 10 won't save us..probably feeling really stupid right now..but it's too soon to tell
  • It depends on what you mean by "saved." Developers who've ignored Windows Phone because of reasons like low app monetization or device market share, might continue to do so. Although it will be now easier to port their existing apps to the platform, that doesn't mean they will.   
  • Ya, that's why I said it might be too soon lol
  • They really need to advertise this hard and not be ashamed of it. They can say like "The convergence of the 3 platforms is here." Or something like that. Common users will think its an added functionality in Windows 10 and not MS trying to fill the app gap. That will attract users according to me because an Android or iOS device won't let them run apps from all systems. If they market heavily, I see success coming to Redmond.
  • Exactly... Marketing is where is at... That's how we really know MS is serious...
    The average consumer doesn't know what Build is, less known that watch it.
  • Those wont's need to be changed to maybes..
  • Exactly.
  • Astoria sounds cool
  • Lol I'm not even a developer and I'm enticed as hell to bring my apps to windows XD
  • Microsoft, im very proud. This will (might) fix the app gap
  • For sure.  But it will take a little time.  Light at the end of tunnel.
  • How many islandwood apps could an islandwood compiler compile if an islandwood compiler could compile islandwood?
  • Here, have all my internets.
  • Depends on the grade of islandwood
  • Microsoft rule the world!!! great job MS
  • Very strong move my beloved Microsoft. May be windows 10 will be the change changer. ​ ​
  • This is a welcome development for windows. We now can catch up with quality apps
  • More than just catching up iOS and Android in the area of entertainment and games.  I see that exsisting legacy apps will start to move over to Universal apps also.  There are over 4 millions of those and most of them are serious business and engineering apps.  So those converted legacy apps will make Windows Store apps much more useful, professional and very productivity focused.  It will indeed make W10 a work and play ecosystem.
  • I'm curious about how'll android ported apps would behave while multitasking. On android apps keeps on running , on Windows it freeze where we left it.
  • The Android apps are not 'ported'... they are recompiled as Windows apps.  Therefore, it'll work just like any other Windows app (most likely even smoother than on an Android or iOS device itself!) :)
  • The only hint of Android that end users will see is the interface and with a little work that can be changed to fit Windows as well.
  • Hopefully we can get a Official Snapchat
  • Ahhh snapchat again...just try cyber dust
  • No one use cyber dust
  • Use Microsoft XIM. They expire too.
  • That snapwhatever app is pure idiocy
  • Dont think so, it s up to the developer/company to recompile for Win10. As Snapchat ceo is a clear *****, this will likely not happen.
    Anyway, as all android apk are super easy to decompile, someone could eventually decompile and recompile for win10, who knows....Maybe he will be blocked, but the appx could be donated to the net, and sideloaded by everyone ...Nice new scenarios could open up.
  • Windows is going to be great OS in this universe
  • Way better names than Microsoft "Edge".
  • Bottom line, the Adobes' and AutoDesk's of the world don't have to completely reinvent the wheel to get their software more mobile friendly. I just hope the old way of installing x86 software via .exe file is still supported
  • That is still supported. The store for desktop software is an additional option and a better option since it ensures no bloat remains after you uninstall the software.
  • Logically, this should work, but when companies like Snapchat refuse to publish an app even when one is made for them for free....
  • Well if you got the software and know how to compile since you can developer unlock you phone with a switch in setting on windows 10 and be able to side load apps now in therory if you knew what you were doing you could just take the ios/android version recompile It into a windows10 version and side load it. Official or not snapchat would know its looks and acts officiall
  • Aren't you missing the source itself to do that?
  • Apk are easily decompiled, there exist many tools for that (and happens regularly, ie to reverse engineer private API).
    Quite any software is decompilable, but android is between the easiest ones.
  • Queens represent! Nice to see my neighborhood getting props.
  • Those are nice names
  • Did I miss the part about why those names are interesting?
  • I just hope a lot of developers start noticing Windows platform now
  • Universal Windows platform... I like it
  • I just can't get visions of Yonac's Tonestack, or Clash of Clans running on a Surface out of my head! This is exciting!
  • Who are you
  • What do you mean who am I?
  • The people coming up with the project names much better than PR team
  • I love the fact that candy crush was a sneaky little port that none of us one about, makes me feel tricked, yet happy that it ran great and smooth, now just imagine every single app from the app store running on your 930.... Bliss
  • Faith in Nadella restored. He cares about his own OS after all. This is going to bring market share and apps.
  • Just give us the SnapChat
  • Oh come on mister...Snapchat is for narcissistic ducklings.
  • To help please click on ads at bottoms in this way you can help developers to jump to windows
  • I'm optimistic after yesterday. Certainly much more than two days prior.
    I'll be ready and waiting for the first generation of phones released after Windows 10 comes out.
  • If this has been done a year before... Nokia would be a ruler..! Miss you Nokia...
  • google is clearly Project ASS.toria because theyre assholes.
  • Hahahahahahaha nice one :)
  • See... All Microsoft haters are right... Microsoft showing love for Android and iOS developers over Windows App developers :-P they should have released a tech preview for the compilers to the Windows app developers, followed by a consumer preview to selected Android/iOS app developers and then released for RTM ;-) and all these should be done and over with more than a million feedbacks and fixes within 2 days :-P
  • Does it mean the latest version of instagram will finally come to Windows??
  • Will these tools work in the opposite direction also?