Microsoft has officially launched the Desktop Bridge, a tool which allows developers to quickly transform Win32 applications into Universal Windows Platform (UWP) packages for installation on any Windows 10-based device and inclusion on the Windows Store.

Microsoft's promise of full cross-device compatibility for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) packages, bar the abandoned Windows RT, has not seen developers taking up the new program format in droves. Its Windows Store remains largely empty, and its Bridge programme is part of an attempt to rectify this.

Launched late last night, Microsoft's Desktop Bridge allows developers to quickly convert existing applications written under the classic Win32 framework to UWP format. Once converted, the application can run on any Windows 10 device - including, with additional work at least, the Xbox One and Windows 10 Mobile smartphones - and can, Microsoft is keen to point out, be extended with further UWP-specific functionality in the future.

Potentially more importantly, Win32 applications converted to UWP format are eligible for insertion into the Windows Store digital distribution system, provided by default with all Windows 10 installations. Several companies have already taken advantage of the freshly-released tool, with applications ranging from Evernote and the Arduino IDE to SQL Pro and korAccount confirmed for Windows Store inclusion over the coming days. While the Desktop Bridge had been made available to selected partners earlier, it is now available to all from the Windows Store.

The launch of the Desktop Bridge follows Microsoft's decision to open-source the iOS Bridge, a tool for adapting software written for Apple's iOS platform to Windows 10 Mobile, and its cancellation of an Android Bridge equivalent back in February.
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