At Build 2017, Microsoft announced a lot of new features coming to Windows PC this year, by fall. For developers, Microsoft wants Windows to be their go to home dev box and is inviting all developers to come home and try out the new and advanced capabilities and at the same time shoot some feedback about their experiences to make it even better.
For one, the number of tools could be overwhelming and not easy to digest at first encounter and that’s why in this article we will break down all the things and try to explain things in simpler ways. Please note, with Windows and Visual Studio you are not only targeting Windows 10 apps but app experiences that span across all platforms and all devices on the planet.
Here’s everything Microsoft announced at Build 2017.
.NET Standard 2.0 for UWP and XAML Standard are both coming later this year
Since .NET is the most complete cross-platform development framework. it is now easier than ever before to write fully native and full-featured apps for all your target platforms in C#, including Windows, iOS, Android, Linux as well as the cloud. XAML Standard, will blend the XAML dialects across UWP XAML and Xamarin Forms.
Project Rome SDK is now available for iOS, in addition to UWP and Android
With this release, you will be able to drive engagement in your apps, across devices and platforms with UserActivity APIs.
A UserActivity is the unit of user engagement in Windows, and consists of three components: a deep-link, visuals, and metadata. When a UserActivity session is created by an application, it accrues engagement records as users interact with the application.
When combined with intelligent Microsoft Graph, you can blur the boundary between devices a user owns, enabling you to call apps and app services as the user switches devices.
You can download the ‘Project Rome’ SDK for Android and iOS over at GitHub.
Microsoft Fluent Design System to develop the next generation of apps and experiences
So, if you are wondering what is Project Neon? We now have an official name and Microsoft calls it ‘Fluent Design System’. The Fluent Design empowers you to create more immersive, fluid and beautiful user interfaces that work continuously across devices—from large screens, to small screens, even to no screen at all.
The Fluid design system is built on 5 pillars – light, depth, motion, materials and scale:
- Light – Light helps enable the ability to draw someone’s attention, or more clearly guide them through their navigations
- Depth – Depth helps us understand how things relate to each other when they’re within a more layered, physical environment
- Motion – Motion is a powerful way to establish context and imply relationships between content in natural, subtle and delightful ways
- Material – Material can help take full advantage of the available screen space to celebrate content. It can also bring a sense of lightweight, ephemeral user experience
- Scale – Scale allows us expand our toolbox for more dimensions, inviting innovation across new device form factors
You can learn and get more familiar with Fluent at https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/apps/design.
Visual Studio Mobile Center now supports full UWP capabilities
The Visual Studio Mobile Center will now allow you to test, deploy and manage your apps more quickly through a CI/CD pipeline for UWP (in addition to iOS and Android). Once the testing phase has passed and you are satisfied with the app, you can then directly publish to Store from within the IDE, which makes publication and distributing your apps a piece of cake. You can test your app across all Windows, iOS or Android devices to ensure and help find issues before publishing, which is undoubtedly the best thing, ever. Learn more
Build, test and debug iPhone apps with the Xamarin Live Player on Windows PC
Microsoft also announced a new tool for developers looking to develop iPhone applications using Windows and Visual Studio, called Xamarin Live Player. With Xamarin Live Player, devs would be able to develop, test and debug iPhone applications from a Windows PC.
So, the next time you plan to develop an iPhone app on Windows, all you need is Visual Studio and a physical iPhone test device to get started building native apps for iOS in minutes.
Download and Install Ubuntu (Linux distribution) right from Windows Store
Since past year, developers have been installing native Linux binaries or Windows Subsystem for Linux using the classical command prompt. For some developers, this has been a bit challenging and that is why Microsoft will now ley you install Ubuntu, a Linux distribution, right from the Windows Store, soon.
In addition, Microsoft also announced that SUSE Linux and Fedora Linux will be coming to Windows Store, to enable multiple Linux distributions to run simultaneously.
Moreover, there are loads of under the hood improvements, such as:
- USB device communications support (e.g. deploy your Raspberry Pi bits via USB from Bash)
- USB drive mounting (for FAT32/exFAT/NTFS formatted USB drives)
- network share mounting
- improved network configuration sync between Windows and Linux
- deeper syscalls to improve the breadth and depth of WSL’s compatibility with Linux apps.
And last but not the least,
This is what powers the Windows timeline feature and provide developers a visualization that spans across multiple applications and experiences. Using Project ROME APIs, each adaptive card is tied with an activity to be shown in the Timeline. This provides a rich visualization surface, based on JSON schema, and the experience that hosts the card has control over exactly how the card is represented so that the card feels like a natural extension of the UI of the host app.
You can find all the latest info on adaptive cards at http://adaptivecards.io
To get you started, Microsoft has already released the Windows 10 Insider SDK Preview Build 16190, download it here.
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