Microsoft yesterday announced the release of the first technical preview of the Windows 10 Software Developer Kit. This preview (not the final release) is aimed at helping developers better grasp Microsoft’s idea for Universal Windows Apps, as they continue to work on finishing Windows 10.
A Universal App is one which can run across different form factors – PC, tablet and smartphone. The code for the app is written only once and it is published to the Windows Store, downloadable across all the aforementioned form factors.
The key aspects Microsoft will like developers to explore of this preview release are:
- Adaptive UX: Windows 10 provides the ability to use a single UI that can adapt from small to large screens. For developers with an existing Windows 8.1 app, you can quickly try this one out by (a) removing one of your UI projects (and going from three Visual Studio projects to one!) and (b) add the improved ViewStateManager to control how your UI adapts at runtime.
- User controls: A number of our Windows 10 UI controls will determine, at runtime, how the customer is interacting with your app and render the appropriate user experience (e.g. on a laptop with a touch-screen, an app fly-out control will provide larger touch-targets if tapped with touch, as opposed to clicked with a mouse).
- API contracts: With Windows 10, you can directly verify if a Windows feature is available rather than inferring based on the operating system version. This empowers you to start checking, at runtime, if a Windows feature is available on the device before you call a related API. A good API contract for you to try out in your code to see this in action is HardwareButtons, which is present on phones (via the Mobile Extensions SDK), and thus available on the phone and mobile emulator but not available on the desktop. We believe that API contracts and the extension SDKs will allow you to adapt your code at runtime to deliver user experiences that feel right on the device it’s being run on.
If you are a developer, and you would like to experiment with this concept, here’s how you can get started:
- Sign up for the Windows Insider Programme (if you haven’t already)
- Install the latest Windows 10 Technical Preview
- Once installed, get started by creating a Windows app using the universal app templates. You can find them under the | Windows 10 node
- If you run into any issues, check if you’re running Visual Studio CTP5 or earlier. Uninstall your previous versions and replace with Visual Studio 2015 CTP6.
- Install other necessary tools for developing Windows Universal Apps. These include: Visual Studio Tools for Windows 10 Technical Preview and Windows SDK for Windows 10
- Continue to use the Windows and Windows Phone apps MSDN forum for development issues.
Microsoft has also released tools for hardware developers to build, test, and deploy drivers for their hardware.The company has made available a Windows Driver Kit and universal driver sample on GitHub.