With the arrival of the Windows App SDK update, Microsoft welcomes the growth of the ecosystem – Visual Studio Magazine



With the arrival of the Windows App SDK update, Microsoft welcomes the growth of the ecosystem

With the upcoming Windows App SDK v1.1, Microsoft is showing some love to vendors who have contributed to a growing ecosystem of third-party components, controls, and other offerings for the Windows app development scheme.

The Windows App SDK reached v1.0 status last November, after being called “Project Reunion” because it unified two API approaches to Windows app development created with the launch of the Windows platform. Universal (UWP). This platform’s APIs differ from those of the older Win32 platform, which is used for what is often referred to as “classic Windows desktop development”. It was the original C/C++ platform for native Windows applications, providing near-metal performance with direct access to system hardware.

UWP, on the other hand, has been described as a “modern” approach to Windows development that comes with a common type system, app model, and APIs for all Windows 10 devices. UWP has effectively containerized these apps with lower privilege levels and package identity, by providing them with an MSIX installer.

The Windows App SDK unifies these disparate sets of APIs, decouples them from the OS, and delivers them through NuGet, as Microsoft ultimately decided that “Windows development is difficult” with the split API scheme.

Reunion Project
[Click on image for larger view.] Reunion Project (source: Microsoft).

“The Windows App SDK does not replace the Windows SDK or existing desktop Windows app types such as .NET (including Windows Forms and WPF) and desktop Win32 with C++,” Microsoft says. “Instead, the Windows App SDK complements these existing tools and app types with a common set of APIs that developers can build on across these platforms.”

In a recent blog post, Microsoft noted that a v1.1 update is in the works.

“In the near term, we plan to release Windows App SDK 1.1 Experimental in the coming weeks and Windows App SDK 1.1 GA at the end of Q2, with preview builds that will ship alongside these stable releases,” Microsoft said. “Over the next calendar year, more technologies will come to the WinAppSDK, such as multi-window support and push notifications.”

According to the product portal that serves as the roadmap for the project, other planned features include the environment variables API, restarting all desktop apps, local toast notifications, and standalone deployment support (XCopy ):

Work planned for v1.1
[Click on image for larger view.] Work planned for v1.1 (source: Microsoft).

The team also highlighted the aforementioned third-party vendors (and the Microsoft Windows Community Toolkit team) that support Windows App SDK v1.0: “These technologies provide unique features and controls to complement WinUI 3.” As can be seen by examining the list below, many offers are for the Windows App SDK UI component, called WinUI 3.

  • DevExpress: DevExpress has released 20 new WinUI controls with Windows App SDK 1.0 support, including Data Grid, Scheduler, Charts, Ribbon Toolbar, WinUI Reports, and more. All 20 UI components are available for free to get started!
  • GrapeCity: ComponentOne WinUI Edition includes a powerful data grid with high-performance cell customization and virtualization, essential calendar and accordion layout controls, fluid styles, and support for desktop applications (Win32) .
  • Infragistics: Ultimate User Interface for WinUI + Windows App SDK 1.0 bringing mission-critical, high-performance, and feature-rich business controls to your applications that target all platforms running Windows (including Windows on ARM64). Preview available now!
  • ArcGIS Runtime SDK for .NET (ESRI): Adds mapping, spatial analysis, and location intelligence capabilities to your apps on Android, iOS, and Windows. WinUI 3 support is now available with samples [github.com] to start your journey today!
  • Uno Platform: Use WinUI 3 — Windows App SDK 1.0, XAML, and C# to build pixel-perfect, single-code-based native apps that can run on web, desktop, and mobile devices. It’s free, open-source, and available today.
  • Syncfusion: A state-of-the-art WinUI toolkit with over 25 controls, including DataGrid, Chart, Scheduler, and File Formats (Excel, PDF, Word, and PowerPoint) libraries. Check out the WinUI Controls page for more details and demos.
  • Telerik UI for WinUI: The industry’s first and largest suite of UI components (over 40) for building Win32 apps with WinUI 3, comes with feature-rich controls like Scheduler, ribbon, data grid, charts, gauges, barcodes, etc. It also provides a set of document processing libraries to enable processing of the most used document file formats.
  • Windows Community Toolkit (Microsoft): The WCT currently supports Windows App SDK 1.0! It provides tons of new controls and features to use in your WinUI app. You can read more about its use with WinUI 3 here.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.


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