Microsoft is revamping Project Islandwood to make porting apps easier and better

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Microsoft announced the Project Islandwood last year, and a steady development has followed the iOS to Windows bridge. Today, the bridge gets new APIs for the UIKit implementation.

iOS user interfaces have always been tricky to bridge over to Windows. Microsoft want’s to let developers reuse as much code as possible and make sure that bridging Objective-C based application is easy and simple. The bridge also includes UIKit that is a framework with hundreds of classes and as the official blog post puts it “re-implementing the entire thing is simply not feasible – not to mention the fact that Windows already offers much of the same functionality in the form of XAML”. XAML has been a part of Windows, and all of its bridges from the beginning, but up until now, there hasn’t been a simple way of bringing UIKit and XAML together.

Microsoft want’s to change that, and will share  a series of technical design documents on GitHub outlining the solution to this problem, starting today.

As a result of these changes, the iOS bridge will be able to offer:

  • 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

In short, UIKit will work on top of XAML from now on, and you can follow Project Islandwood’s development on the official GitHub page.