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  • The furor over UWP’s death knell

    Posted on May 10th, 2019 at 07:53 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    For once, I’m with Paul Thurrott and Mary Jo Foley on this: UWP is on its way out and there’s nothing the fanbois can do to stop the shift. We saw the same thing happen with ActiveX and Silverlight – Microsoft getting devs all fired up about using a new technology, only to have the rug pulled out from under them.

    You can define “UWP” in a million different ways – the API, the interface, the “Store app” location. There are parts of UWP that’ll be absorbed into other Microsoft products. That absorption is under way now. You can think of the absorption as a manifestation of UWP’s longevity. But the push on devs to build UWP apps or be left in the dust? The “Win10 über alles” mindset? That’s headed out the door.

    If that makes me a hater, so be it.

    If you have a strong stomach, take a look at the Reddit Windows 10 forum.

    Zac Bowden has a contrary opinion on Windows Central, but I don’t buy it.

    You can draw your own conclusions, but everything I’ve seen points to an extended, painful demise of UWP as we know it. And I, for one, won’t miss it.

    Long live Google’s (and, now, Microsoft’s) Progressive Web Apps. Part of this is semantics — the difference between UWP and PWA is declining rapidly. But the part about a truly “universal” experience, beyond the confines of Win10, is the way of the future.

  • Foley: Is UWP dead?

    Posted on May 8th, 2019 at 10:50 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Mary Jo interviewed Kevin Gallo, Corporate VP of the Windows Developer Platform, and reported on the conversation in ZDNet:

    Microsoft’s new goal is to try to make all features available to all of the Windows frameworks. Saying that Microsoft is dropping or deprecating any of the Windows frameworks seems to have been declared from on-high as a big no-no. Instead, Win32, UWP, Windows Presentation Foundation are all “elevated to full status,” as Gallo told me.

    (For those not up on the acronyms, UWP apps are the programs that only run on Windows 10. They were once called WinRT apps, then Metro apps, although there are differences among the definitions. And UWP apps were once synonymous with Microsoft Store apps. I’ve been predicting UWP’s demise for more than a year.)

    Gallo’s pronouncements sound, to me, like the same sort of drivel we heard when ActiveX was being tossed under the bus. Silverlight was the same way. And a gazillion other developer technologies that Microsoft tried and discarded.

    Mary Jo concludes:

    My main take-away from chatting with Gallo: The days of trying to push Windows developers to build and/or repackage their apps to be UWP/Store apps seemingly are over. It’s now Windows apps or bust.

    Good article.

  • Universal Windows Programs (“Metro apps”) aren’t dead yet, but there’s a better alternative on the horizon

    Posted on February 6th, 2018 at 11:56 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Microsoft just announced that it’s going to start building Progressive Web App support into Edge and Win10.

    Progressive Web Apps aren’t so much Google’s much-better alternative to Win10-only Universal Windows Programs (formerly known as “Metro apps” or “Universal apps” or “Windows Store Apps” or any of a half-dozen other monikers) as they are a genuine attempt to make browser-based applications look and feel more like regular ol’ apps.

    Chances are very good you’ve never seen a PWA in action. But they’re definitely coming. At some point.

    The theoretical benefits of PWAs over UWPs are enormous. Just for starters, UWPs can only run in the stripped-down Win10 environment. PWAs, on the other hand, should be able to run on just about anything that supports a browser — particularly Chrome, or ChromeOS. Yeah, that includes Chromebooks, at least at some point.

    The browser requirement has vanished in the past couple of years, banking on a concept called service worker. Horrible name, but web folks are good at horrible names. Paul Thurrott described service workers months ago:

    Google’s initial take on PWAs wasn’t that compelling: The full resources of Chrome needed to load each time a PWA ran, and there was no minimal user interface or runtime. But when Google introduced the notion of service worker, the technological core of what we now know as PWAs, it was a big differentiator. With service workers, PWAs could work like native apps, offering features like offline support, background processing, and more.

    It now looks to me as if there’s going to be a headlong dash into developing PWAs — and that UWP’s days are numbered. Time will tell.

    UPDATE: Mary Jo Foley has a calendar for future developments in Microsoft’s side of the PWA wars, in her ZDNet blog.

  • Windows Mobile obituary

    Posted on April 4th, 2017 at 16:49 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Excellent article from Jez Corden at Windows Central:

    Windows 10 Mobile should’ve been Microsoft’s bridge to the future — not an afterthought… Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is pointless without a mobile component… For the Windows Store to be anything more than an extra hoop to access services available on the desktop web, UWP needs a mobile endpoint. Otherwise, UWP might as well be thrown onto the scrapheap along with Windows 10 Mobile.

    Microsoft’s vague non-committal comments, the odd leaks we get, and Windows 10 Mobile Fast ring updates simply aren’t enough to convince developers, consumers, or the wider tech media, that those scalable UWP apps have more value than Win32 or web solutions. And without confidence in UWP, the entire proposition falls apart. Windows as a Service will flop along with it.

    Well worth reading.