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Windows Bridge for iOS tools updated with CoreFoundation support and more

Microsoft has updated its Windows Bridge for iOS developer tools with support for Apple's CoreFoundation framework along with adding new layout APIs and more sample apps and code.

Windows Bridge for iOS, also known by its code name "Project Islandwood", has been available as an open-source project for some time. It allows iOS app developers to quickly port their apps so they can be converted to Windows 10 UWP apps. In a blog post, Microsoft explained why adding CoreFoundation support will be a big benefit for developers:

CoreFoundation classes form the underpinning of most iOS apps. If you're an iOS developer, you've almost certainly used classes like NSString and NSArray; these are both part of the wide array of object types and functionality provided by the Foundation framework, which is the Objective-C-bridged version of CoreFoundation. The iOS bridge team has merged the official, canonical implementation of CoreFoundation into the WinObjC code base. As a result, the complete CoreFoundation/Foundation framework is now available for use in the bridge.

The new versions of the bridge also adds support for NSLayoutAnchor and UILayoutGuide, which are two new classes added by Apple to iOS 9 to simplify adding layout constraints to views:

This greatly reduced the amount of code required to create simple, edge-anchored layouts that scale properly when the host screen or window is rotated or resized.

Finally, the new release adds more samples and code developers can use for assistance in moving iOS apps to Windows 10:

The samples repo currently offers two kinds of sample projects: bite-size samples and full apps. The bite-size sample projects demonstrate particular functionality and common scenarios with the iOS bridge, while the full apps showcase the end-to-end journey of a developer using the bridge.

Check out the latest Windows Bridge for iOS tools at GitHub

89 Comments
  • Long live windows phones
  • Long live Windows 10 and its mobile SKU, forget phone it's dead! Posted from my Lumia 950
  • Could anyone tell me any of the apps which are now in store whichis created by this bridge?
  • Possibly the candy crush games Posted from Windows Central for Windows 10
  • Your Mom-The App Windows Central for Windows 10-Nokia Lumia 830
  • Lots of lightings are getting wasted on this earth.
  • By the appearance of it, i think the Messenger app is an iOS port. ~DheeraJ~
    Lumia 640XL 10586.218
  • Messenger is an OSMeta port. Facebook purchased the rights to it's own app porting tools, so Facebook and instagram and messenger were all ported using OSMeta, not the iOS bridge from Microsoft. Posted via my $30 Lumia 640
  • Great news
  • Closing in. Developers would still be interested in this...
  • Developers don't have excuses no more. Snapchat CEO, u listening?
  • I think he is sitting at his desk somewhere with his fingers in his ears while wearing a blindfold. Either that or he's too busy playing golf to care. People like him don't need excuses so don't expect any argument in favor of Windows to carry any weight. Posted from my Lumia 950
  • Snapchat don't have an app for Windows platform because the CEO has a childish hate for MS and the users on it, so really the bridges being updated will change nothing for snapchat :p +640 on Windows10Mobile
  • "Developers don't have excuses no more. Snapchat CEO, u listening?"
    Developers have the voluntary right to develop for [insert operating system/platform here] or not. Developers don't have to do anything for [insert operating system/platform here]; their voluntary prerogatives are to develop for whatever platform they choose.  If the attitudes of commenters prevail upward towards the statist quo, developers will be required by totalitarians to develop whatever software for whatever platform the state demands.  Would you enslave your neighbor that way just to make yourselves comfortable?
  • Yes. It's the developers' choice to provide an app for W10M. No argument there BUT they'd be fools not to. MSFT is trying to align the stars for developers so they can provide apps with minimal expense and time. Again, it's their choice.
  • Microsoft can "align the stars" all day long, but the % of people using WM10 is just too low for some developers to bother with. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Yes the mobile % is low, but the pc be is huge. Cool thing about UWP is if you develop an application for one its too easy not to do it for mobile too. Sent from my Microsoft Lumia 735 running Windows 10
  • SnapChat is a mobile focused app. Windows PC could have 750 octodecillion installs and it'll mean jack ***. Plenty of apps are mobile focused, therefore PC, Xbox, HoloLens, IoT, and whatever else doesn't matter. Only mobile market share.
  • Hilarious that someone down-voted Daniel's comment.
  • DV can be a short-form of disagreeing, but not caring to (or having the time) to go into detail as-to-why, there's zero wrong with disagreeing with someone's point. If it's done purely in spite, & no rationale behind why, then I agree it's silly, but not everyone DV's for that reason.
  • Unfortunately, Store doesn't pay enough money for the work of taking and uploading screenshots. I mean something like 100 apps get that money, but that's not going to impress anyone.
  • @jdgtl, the developer's freedom to choose is indisputable (long live capitalism and the free market!). However, one would hope that customer feedback and ease of porting affect those choices. Even if the inertia is "we're not going to bother with Windows, let them us the web," a loud reminder that it's now much easier than in the past and that more and more Windows users prefer dedicated apps from the Store could cause some developers to reconsider, especially if their customers are the ones asking for it.
  • There aren't enough customers "asking for it" to matter to developers.
  • 0.% folks can't make any demands.
  • 300 million and growing Windows 10 users. Not all on mobile.
  • You can't make any demand if the top 500 app by revenue  gets less than 50$ a month. Really.
  • @labsii, the importance of revenue really depends on what the app does. Many apps are part of extending service and are not revenue generating, like bank apps, for example.
  • I agree, but usually the ecosystem starts to grow as there is some money, devs build some apps and then it grows further in many ways including banking apps. I don't think banks will come to the empty store.
  • @labsii, hard to argue with saying that money attracts developers, which makes for a vibrant Store. :-) Definitely wish the store would help make more money for more apps. In this case, I think there's reason to be optimistic that it seems Microsoft's tying the store to Windows 10 (PCs) is helping. It looks like there has been more net app growth of big name apps in the past few months than past couple of years before that, even while Windows Phone market share itself has decreased.
  • If a dev doesn't want to make their app available for a particular platform, then they won't. No excuses needed. Simple.
    Snapchat CEO gives the middle finger to Windows Phone, that's his choice. Full stop. He doesn't need a reason.
  • What does this mean?:  The CoreFoundation module has been replaced by the official Swift open-source CoreFoundation module. As a result, the complete, canonical CoreFoundation framework is now available beginning with this week’s release of the bridge. For more information and known issues, please see issue#529.
  • Instead of Microsoft slowly writing their own versions of basic components in Swift, they're using the same code as Apple uses. This saves MS some development time on their tool, and hopefully minimizes the possibility of different behavior (bugs) between iOS apps and Islandwood apps.   EDIT: after looking at the Swift docs, this isn't exactly what Apple uses but their goal is to implement them identically to Apple's version.
  • With Windows 10 Mobile holding a small segment of the market why would iOS developers be interested in this?
  • Because US carriers want to see customers don't complain anymore about not having an app when they purchase a Windows Mobile 10 device. If iOS developers can reuse their Objective-C code for building Windows Mobile 10 apps, this means they don't need to invest on having 2 teams, one for maintaining and adding new features to .NET and another team for adding new features and maintaining Objective-C (iOS) code. Simple arithmetic, less developer costs means more profits for developer companies.
  • "Because US carriers want to see customers don't complain anymore about not having an app when they purchase a Windows Mobile 10 device​" - US carriers have an even easier solution to this problem, don't carry W10M devices and you won't have customers complaining.
  • If I can take a day or so to port my iOS app to uwp (if it is easy) to make some extra $$, why wouldn't I is the question.
  • Because you're a hipster ********* CEO of a popular app with a grudge against Microsoft? /s
  • Sounds like snapchat don't you think? ;) haha +640 on Windows10Mobile
  • You must take a month or two if you have an app (and not a game) and if you round your revenues in 4 figures (which is reasonable), you'll probably get 0. And you'll have a headache of supporting a new platform that has its own problems and where users won't care if you say "this doesn't work because Microsoft had a bug in the bridge".
  • Even at 1% market share it's still an extra few million users. And I think the key thing here is that with Windows as a whole you have access to 300+ million users, it's not really about mobile market share anymore, rather about platform/ecosystem share. And you have to remember, for some apps we are talking about only a few days effort to get the app running on Windows, and if it only takes a few days to do then it's not a big risk with a potential gain of millions of users. Other apps would take longer of course, but no matter how long it takes it will only be a fraction of the time that it would take to build the app from scratch, not to mention the fact that typically as a company you would need to hire new .NET developers to make the app or train up your iOS developers to learn .NET (If you didn't already have a .NET team), neither of those options are cheap and hence add a large risk factor on supporting the platform. With this bridge your existing iOS developers' skills can be used to get your app on Windows, that means lowering costs and speeding up the time to market and also perhaps give your app a competitive edge over similar apps. Posted from my Lumia 950
  • I agree with the 1%, but also I want to put an analogy on another tech disruption event of 2016, I'm talking about ChromeOS supporting Android apps, nobody ever knew ChromeOS could reborn from ashes like a Phoenix, so I think this is what is going to happen with Windows Mobile 10, after all these iOS bridge technologies are polished and let developers be efficient to support both iOS and Windows Mobile 10 applications using same source code base, this will finally put Windows Mobile on top quality choice and carriers and OEMs can launch flagships with WP10.  Just imagine that Samsung can finally launch a Galaxy S8 device in 2017 and offer both the Android and WM10 versions with similar percentage 50% and 50% since customers won't worry about which OS they choose since both Android and WM10 versions will support same ecosystem, same quality apps. This will be huge.
  • You make a good point. To further add to your point, I see this as a hail Mary, in terms of future development of Win 10 specific apps. Assuming that this bridge can encourage more iOS developers to bring over their apps, the increase usage of iOS apps on Windows 10 devices could potentially result in developers actually deciding to make official Windows 10 apps. I think the bridge, for many developers will help them not only make more money, but determine if investing time and resources to develop a Windows 10 UWP app. This would improve customer satisfaction and give the apps a look and feel that actually fits. For now, the average consumer just wants availability of apps and I can certainly relate to that. I've been hoping my bank would make an app...maybe, this new update to the bridge tool will help encourage them.
  • ...more platforms = more money and leverage.
  • WP10 may be a small market, but these tools will build UWP apps. Meaning that the 300+ million Windows 10 users can run these apps. You may not care about reaching 300+ million users, but app developers do.
  • If done right...the bridge allows UWP which has a larger install base than just phones. We are talking all Windows10 PCs, Xbox, IoT and phones!!! A Developer would be stupid to ignore that!!!
  • Because this tool is not for Windows 10 Mobile, but for the Universal Windows Platform--for *all* Windows 10 devices. Consider that there are more tablet-optimized apps for iOS and iPad that any other platform. Ported to UWP, these apps would be perfect for Surface and other Windows 10 2-1 devices (as well as simplified experiences for laptop and desktop computers). Even if an iOS developer has no interest in Windows phones, they may feel their iPad apps might appeal to Windows 10 users--it's a much bigger base of users. And once these apps come to Windows, who knows, maybe the developers will also support Windows phones. It's odd that more Windows fans don't seem to really understand the implications of the Universal Windows Platform--a point borne out by the other replies you have received so far.
  • This is big news actually. I'm pretty sure Snapchat CEO should now be contacted by Microsoft so this company can use this technology to bring this app to Windows 10 Mobile.  Great job Microsoft. 
  • Snapchat will never come to Windows Mobile, the CEO hates Microsoft and even if they offered to pay him to put his app in the Windows Store I'm pretty sure he would say NO !!
  • Then we'll just have to find a way to make Snapchat pay a price for their insolence! Bwahahaha Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Nice to hear that they are still working on this.
  • Microsoft tactic finally coming in right direction :)
  • Bring back project Astoria!
  • I agree
  • That was abandoned for good reason. If it comes back it needs to be completely rethought from the ground up. Windows Central for Windows 10-Nokia Lumia 830
  • +l929 as nice as driftwood is it lacks alot of APIs that Astoria could have helped make it feature complete
  • Why? It's redundant to have two bridges from the two leading mobile platforms. Posted with the Windows Central app for Windows 10 on HP 250 G1 notebook. It is a scary old monster, I think :D
  • Waiting for results. You can see Islandwood at Drum Pads 24, Crossy Roads but I can't see it no more.
  • It's refreshing to see the positive feedback in the comments section. Things are looking up.
  • I had few question.....don't you think using app without permission of any Microsoft or a person will breach patent or copyright act.?
    Will Microsoft will pay extra money to the app developer of IOS, for running their app in windows phone ?
    What if other company still not ready , to use their app in windows phone?
    Will we able to see this BRIDGE to normal users?or this will be also a wind like ANDROID BRIDGE? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • In order to use this bridge, you need the full source code of the original app. So, only the developer/s of that app can use the Islandwood tools to create a Windows version of the app.
  • With all due respect I'm pretty sure MSFT and their lawyers checked into this before spending valuable time and resources into it.
  • As Asmit De said, this is for developers to port their apps. It's not for users to run sideloaded or pirated apps, which could have legal repurcissions. Developers own their own source code and so can choose to port, or not, as they see fit. The easier (and therefore cheaper) it is to port, the more likely they are to do so. This makes it easier and cheaper for devs who alread have an iOS version.
  • Snapchat!!!!!!! Port Snapchat!!!!! PLEASE
  • I dont see the hype around Snapchat. I used it when it first came to Android and uninstalled it few hours later. Its useless.
  • Totally. U r right. Its just another time pass app with no actual use or fun whatsoever. I don't get what's the hype around it. :D ~DheeraJ~
    Lumia 640XL 10586.218
  • If I wanted to send a pic of my a-hole I would have just SMS it.
  • Snapchat is mostly used by teenagers. The average age is the teens.
  • Now why couldn't microsoft make astoria the same way, or maybe they are improving it for release later. One could only hope
  • Its still listed in the recent copy of field medic
  • No need.. IOS apps is more refine. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Astoria was implemented in a completely different way and the end result was not an actual universal app. It was basically running Android apps using a subsystem. The problem with it was that people were using it to pirate Android apps, the Android subsystem was tanking the performance of Windows Mobile and pushing back the release of 10 on phones, and iOS apps are almost universally better quality than Android apps. Astoria was a short term solution at best.
  • If you port an App from iOS, what's the point of porting it again from Android? You know, once ported, it's already ported!
  • Because there are alot of apps that are only on android or apps that are more full featured on android because of its massive availability of features
  • STRAVA, Are you reading this article? Think of all the cyclists or runners in the world that are Windows phone users?
  • I second this
  • Twelve or thirteen? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • You could email this article to them?
  • But wat the mean of it by this porting of apps v vil get iphone ui not w10m iu we are paying for w10 not for ios if dat so i wud use i ios for better usage because i cant find a change juz same same app with same ui
  • I honestly just need a way to port iOS frameworks and/or android SDKs to Windows. That's the only thing holding me back from some killer apps. I already have projects started but need something like the afore mentioned to complete!
  • Go grab it from github. And bring us your killer apps. We need more developers to make utilise of this facility. ~DheeraJ~
    Lumia 640XL 10586.218
  • it should be, buy on iOS, and work on all Windows 10 devices!
  • So what is better Facebook's tools or Project Islandwood? I was wondering if the Instagram port would be more stable if it were ported with Project Islandwood.
  • Keep seeing the same, narrow minded posts, when this type of news appears. Phone dead, no users, low percentage of users blah blah... Think outside of the mobile box. These ported apps are supposed to be UWP, which unless I am having another senior moment, means 'compatability' with all devices under the W10 banner. As a footnote, phone is dead. W10M is still under development, as is the entire W10 programme. Percentages can be manipulated and used to justify, or decry, whatever you want them to. 1% could mean anything depending on the original data. My business has a market share of 100% for windows use. We exclusively use them. If I had 100 staff and only one used a W10M device, that's 1%, but it wouldn't include those that don't use any form of phone. 3% of users in the USA where the population is relatively large, could account for millions of users, but those figures aren't used, as a quote of 3% lends itself to a negative view of any company product, and does have negative connotations on consumers when purchasing any form of goods.
  • Re: Mad Cabbie,
    Yes, statistics, especially percentages are almost always a simplification of the facts and not the whole story. Phones purchased over various time periods versus purchased last quarter versus phones currently in use in a specific country vs a region vs the world. Most people like simple clickbate news.
    The focus on the negative view and the false clickbate, does negatively influence uninformed consumers as a whole.
    .
    That all said, I like and enjoy using the "Windows 8.1 Mobile OS" on my mobile phone. I make a point of showing people information on my live tiles. I have all the apps I need and am discovering, trying, and "buying" new apps all the time. I'm looking forward to W10M being finished, the new phones and devices (Xbox) expected, more universal apps and hopefully more life on my live tiles.
    Best Wishes
  • I do not see this as the savior of w10m.  They sprialed too far down the rabbit hole.  They needed to have this ready to roll as soon as 10 was released as beta,  and working 100 percent when the 950 series released.  The time MS and satya wasted on other crap,  they lost the war, the battle,  etc.     
  • Windows 10 mobile isnt going anywhere. As long as Microsoft keeps doing things like this meaning continuing to cement partnerships wiith Apple and Android app developers. There will always be a loyal fanbase that will continue to buy Windows phones as along as the apps are ported and updated in a timely fashion. Microsoft wont win the phone war. They will just have a piece of the pie. Thats ok though because either way they are making money just not as much as they would like.
  • Love windows 10
  • I don't know some people telling saying trash n trash about windows mobile 10 aren't going no where de Christ sake windows mobile aren't dead cos windows team are working hard to bring the best for us all gosh humans can't be satisfied
  • Hi