Universal Windows Platform : Dead?
Recently, you might have read articles like “Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform dead!” or “Microsoft wants to close the UWP“. For years Microsoft fans, developers & community were wondering whether Universal Windows Platform (UWP) has a future. But, now they might be upset. Today we’ll analyze Windows Developer Platform Strategies & predict its future outcomes. Classic Win32/.Net is back (spoiler).
For understanding the Developer market situation we need to go to 2001. Windows XP was widely adopted by customers & cooperations worldwide. This was the time when the Windows ecosystem surge started. Win32 was a major opportunity for developers. It was like a goldmine.
Win32 is a Windows Application Program Interface (API) for developing 32-bit applications. Win32 has been used since Windows 95 Era. Which means if you have Windows 95 or later, you can run Win32 applications. Windows API (WinAPI) are APIs designed for Windows OS. Win32 focused mainly on C & C++ Programming Language. Ex, for writing a win32 program should include windows.h as a source file in the header. Which actually contains a prototype of useful APIs for developers.
Lets fast forward a bit. Windows 7 released on October 2009, was one of the biggest hits of Windows OS variants. Also was the “fastest selling operating system Microsoft has ever offered“. It had proper Management techniques. IT administrators can easily create powerful scripts with PowerShell 2.0. Moreover, Windows 7 provided a superior infrastructure.
In-build Troubleshooting which enables a user to conduct their own tests. And, better security than Windows XP. This paved the way for Windows 7 success. And, it was not Vista! Well, that’s not our topic today. But, here’s an interesting video on “Was Windows Vista THAT bad?” by Linus Sebastian (LinusTechTips).
Windows 8 Entry
“SO, Windows 7 was a Big HIT! But, Windows 8 that much big LOSS!”.
Windows 8 failure reasons by many critics:
- The Start button goes on vacation (Neowin)
- Metro, AKA Modern: An Ugly, Useless interface (ZDNet)
- Windows 8 is a ‘catastrophe’ for PCs (Gabe Newell)
- Legacy Windows 7 users aren’t moving. (Neowin)
- If you are going to buy a new computing device in 2013, chances are it’s going to be an Apple iPad, an inexpensive Android tablet, or a Chromebook. The PC desktop isn’t dead, but it’s not very profitable either — and Windows 8 isn’t helping PC sales. (ZDNet)
Read More: Five Reasons why Windows 8 has failed.
Microsoft launched UWP with Windows 8 & promised to provide apps with better performance and security. Moreover, these apps would be easy to distribute & update via Windows Store.
This strategic move was a paradigm shift from Software to Applications (Cloud). This enabled devs to use common APIs across the Windows ecosystem from Desktop OS, Windows Phone to Hololens (2016). Now developers were required to work on their previous projects to get their apps UWP/Windows Store friendly.
At that point, Win32 didn’t have features like Touch & ink which UWP apps had. This forced the devs to upgrade their apps to a newer platform. But, there was a big glitch. Windows Phone was 3rd most preferred platform much behind Android and iOS. Moreover, people didn’t like the New Windows 8 UI (No Start Menu). So many preferred not to upgrade.
So the situation crumpled, even more, when Windows Store had many poor third-party apps. Take the example, of Snapchat case. No consumers means no money. And, no money means no one interested to invest in it. This led to the downfall of UWP & Windows 8. But, times improved over a period of time.
Windows 10 (2016) was widely appreciated throughout the world as “The Best Windows Yet!“. With improved features, better UI & nostalgic look it became a hit instantly. Microsoft focused on UWP for Native Windows Application Development. But, this time Windows Phones were gone. And, Microsoft Store (Renamed, AKA Windows Store) was still incompetent when compared to the Android Play Store or App Store.
Windows Apps (Win32 + UWP)
Many critics (Paul Thurrott) were predicting that Microsft is effectively killing UWP by ensuring all its capabilities are available to other major app development platforms like Win32/.NET.
On 8 May 2019, Microsoft made this change. UWP was the only way to build native modern Windows applications. But, now after extending its capabilities to non-UWP platforms would allow developers to update their apps without the need to use another platform. And, this is a positive change.
But, this doesn’t declare Universal Windows Platform dead. Mr. Kevin Gallo (Microsoft VP) called this condition a “massive divide” between Win32 and UWP developers by adding “modern desktop” elements to Win32 apps. Moreover also stated, “By the time we are done, everything will just be called ‘Windows apps. We’re not quite there yet.” But the ultimate idea is to make “every platform feature available to every developer.”
“You’ve told us that you would like us to continue to decouple many parts of the Universal Windows Platform so that you can adopt them incrementally,” Kevin Gallo (Microsoft Corporate Vice President) writes in a blog post aimed at developers. “Allowing you to use our platform and tools to meet you where your customers are going – empowering you to deliver rich, intelligent experiences that put people at the center.”
Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is not dead! — R Bhave
Microsoft Store & UWP still can make it. Microsoft is doing every effort to provide what developers want. On the app store issue, Mr. Gallo said, “You can trust apps differently. They don’t need to be in the Store. People really just want to know if Microsoft considers an app good.“. If you want to read the whole interview, I have provided its link below. That’s it from The Insider Story S02E01.
- Future of Windows 2019-2020 (PinProgram)
- Mr. Kevin Gallo interview by Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet)
- Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform app dream is dead and buried (TheVerge)