Microsoft further encourages iOS devs to port their apps to Windows 10

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Microsoft is not a platform well-known for its app variety. To address this, Microsoft is trying to convince developers to port their apps to the Windows platform so that Windows 10 no longer remains the platform to receive popular apps years after release.

Project Islandwood is a bridge Microsoft built for iOS developers to better approach the Windows platform. The program allows developers to port their iOS apps over to PC in order for them to work on both the desktop and mobile versions of Windows 10.

To make Project Islandwood even more appealing to iOS developers, Microsoft has decided to improve it even further, adding a series of useful features such as full support for UIKit.

Actually, iOS developers have long been requesting Microsoft to bring more complete API coverage from the UIKit implementation, and their request has been heard. However, bridging iOS user interfaces to Windows is a tricky proposition.

First, Microsoft wants to maximize code reuse for users and minimize the amount of legwork necessary once developers bring their Objective-C code base to Windows. Secondly, UIKit has hundreds of classes, and re-implementing this vast framework on Windows is too difficult a task.

Microsoft has instead decided to rely on a series of workarounds for the aforementioned challenges, and will share them with iOS developers on GitHub, waiting for their feedback.

The iOS bridge offered by Microsoft brings:

  • Faster bring up of iOS controls, so more of UIKit is available to you
  • An improved touch-input model for more performant event handling
  • Much improved support for accessibility and localization
  • Better test automation, resulting in more stable and high-quality controls
  • Much improved integration with and leveraging of Windows’ UI framework, XAML

Along with these changes, Microsoft will also introduce a new tool called Xib2Xaml. This tool will convert the XIB and Storyboard files iOS developers build using Xcode’s Interface Builder into Windows-native XAML files, allowing developers to edit them directly in Visual Studio.

We feel these changes will make the Windows Bridge for iOS more robust and easier to use than ever before.

For more information about the Windows bridge for iOS, check out Microsoft’s blog post.

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