A new, upcoming API from Microsoft is set to unlock the potential of true cross-platform experiences. With it, users would be able to jump between apps from a Windows Phone to a MacBook Air, for instance. The aim of this new API is to increase the amount of app communication between various platforms and ultimately eliminate all protocol-related boundaries.
Project Rome’s origin can be traced back to the SmartGlass app Microsoft developed for the Xbox. How does this new API work? First, it’s install on all main devices used irrespective of the platforms they’re on. Once the API is installed, users can simply transfer the current state of the app to any other device and resume work.
For example, imagine editing a very important presentation on an iPhone but suddenly, its battery reaches a critically low level. With no charger around, it’s imperative to find a solution fast to meet the upcoming deadline and finish the presentation in 30 minutes. You quickly switch to your Android tablet and add the finishing touches to your presentation. To do that, you only need to open the same app on the tablet — Project Rome allows you to do just that.
Microsoft’s reason for developing Project Rome is due to user behavior with apps, usually jumping between apps, devices, and different OS platforms throughout their day. Actually, 42% of users start an activity on a device and finish it on another. The aim is for developers to be able to discover and identify all cloud-connected and other nearby devices users come across on a daily basis. Then with familiar API’s like LaunchURIAsync and AppServices, developers can build powerful experiences that enable smooth transitions between screens and even platforms.
The user is the key element to take into account in all this process, something that Microsoft states very clearly on its official Build 2016 Channel:
This makes retaining users a tough problem to solve Project Rome enables the app developer to pivot on the devices, apps, platforms (Windows, Android, iOS) and the cloud. App developers can design their apps around the user, thus empowering human centric experiences that evolve with an understanding of the individual’s needs.
If you’re interested, watch the whole 42-minute presentation about Project Rome here.