Will Windows 10 Change Application Development ?
In about 4 weeks Windows 10 has now been installed in over 75 Million PCs. Despite predicting a slow and sure adoption the estimates now are that roughly 358 Million PCs will move to Windows 10 in 12 months. Microsoft itself has set aim at 1 Billion devices running Windows 10 within 3 years. There is no mistaking Microsoft’s focus on Windows 10 – its preferred revenue platform for the future. Microsoft has publicly stated that they intend to use services and apps to generate revenue from their customers over their entire computing life cycle. The adoption rate in enterprises, as expected, is slower but even that is expected to pick up as support for the current favorite OS, Windows 7, starts drying up. Microsoft is also ramping up the Enterprise focus with IT Department friendly Windows 10 features like easier management and automatic configuration of devices and security improvements. With Windows 10 clearly here to stay what impact will be felt in the Application Development world?
The major change seems to be driven the unified platform strategy. In many ways Windows 10 is the final step in Microsoft’s strategy to bring all its device platforms together into one, united Windows core. The objective is that every device, PC, Tablet, phone, game console and everything to come in the IoT world, should be able to run the same app- thus creating a universal app platform. In the official MSDN Blog introducing this “Universal App Platform” Microsoft’s Kevin Gallo laid out the goals for the platform as:
- Driving scale through reach across device type.
- Delivering unique experiences
- Maximizing developer investments.
Let’s talk about Mobile OS’ -this platform independence will mean that apps developed by developers working on other operating systems like Android and iOS to Windows can be moved to universal apps seamlessly. This will help increase the number of Apps available to Windows mobile users and presumably drive up usage.
Then there are screen sizes – with so many form factors out there one of the big App Development challenges has traditionally been designing for different screen sizes. Windows 10 provides the ability to use a single UI that can adapt to large and small screen sizes making this task just that little bit easier.
Microsoft has highlighted unique experiences as a platform goal. One way Windows 10 hopes to create such experiences is through the many UI controls that have been provided. Users interface with the apps in several different ways. These controls have the capability to figure out just how and deliver an appropriate user experience. As an example a user using a laptop with a touch screen would get larger icons to select from than a more precise interface like say a mouse or a touchpad.
What about all those PCs out there, many of them in slower moving enterprises that are still on Windows 7 or 8 flavors? The good news for those developers developing desktop apps for these versions is they can now harmonize their existing .NET and Win32 content with Windows universal apps.
How have the concerns about developer investments in time and effort been addressed? A significant step in the Windows 10 universal app is the inherent ability of websites to run within the Windows 10 Universal app and thus make the most of the system services. Website developers are saved the hassle of having to learn new languages and find it easier to get their apps on the Windows store.