Windows Application SDK (“Project Reunion”) tweaked before version 1.0 GA – Visual Studio Magazine


Windows Application SDK (“Project Reunion”) tweaked before the debut of version 1.0 GA

Microsoft delivered a second preview of the Windows Application SDK (formerly known as Project Reunion) ahead of the expected General Availability version v1.0 before the end of the year.

The company calls the Windows App SDK the evolution of Windows desktop application development. It is a unified set of libraries, frameworks, components, and tools that developers can use to consistently build any desktop application on operating system versions ranging from Windows 11 to Windows 10 version 1809. It was designed to alleviate the complexity of Windows application development that was caused by the emergence of two sets of disparate APIs: for the old Win32 platform and the new Windows platform universal (UWP).

The Win32 API (used for what is often referred to as “classic Windows desktop development”) was the original C / C ++ platform for native Windows applications, delivering near-metal performance with direct access to system hardware. UWP, a “modern” approach to Windows development, provides a common type system, app template, and APIs for all Windows 10 devices. UWP efficiently containerizes those apps with lower privilege levels and a provided package identity via an MSIX installer. The Windows Application SDK unifies these disparate sets of APIs by essentially separating them from the operating system and serving them through NuGet.

The second preview of v1.0 shipped last week with few significant new features as it heads towards general availability, which Microsoft says will arrive in Q4 2021. If it ships with .NET 6, it will probably be around November 2. , when the big Microsoft Ignite tech event kicks off.

Components available now include:

  • WinUI: This is the native user interface layer for Windows that embodies Fluent Design and delivers modern, high-performance, and refined user experiences to Win32 and UWP applications. This component is part of the Windows App SDK family of features, building on the transparent identity + packaging + deployment ideas that Windows App SDK also supports for applications.
  • C ++ / WinRT, Rust / WinRT, and C # / WinRT: They provide native Windows projections, Windows App SDK, and custom types defined in metadata. Developers can use the Windows Kit APIs, produce them for use by other supported projections, and create new language projections.
  • MSIX-Core: This allows developers to package an application for distribution to Windows Desktop machines through the store or individual delivery pipelines. MSIX-Core allows developers to reuse parts of MSIX packaging history on older versions of Windows.

Possible future features include an Edge / Chromium2 supported WebView, modern lifecycle wizards, startup tasks, and more.

The following graph of the project roadmap shows the features that shipped with v8.0 in June, those expected in v1.0, and those planned beyond.

Windows Application SDK Roadmap
[Click on image for larger view.] Windows Application SDK Roadmap (source: Microsoft).

As noted, v1.0 changes several features from “Experimental” and “Unsupported” to “Supported” in both Packaged and Unpackaged Desktop Application (MSIX) projects.

In the new Preview 2, the functionality around these features is progressing mostly in small steps. For the crucial component of WinUI 3, for example, the only new updates are:

  • The controls have been updated to reflect the latest Windows styles from WinUI 2.6.
  • Single-project MSIX is supported.
  • The WinUI package can now target build 17763 and above.
  • The in-app toolbar is supported. However, the in-app toolbar and existing Hot Reload / Live Visual Tree support require the next release of Visual Studio 17.0 Preview 5, available later in October.

The Preview release channel for Windows App SDK also lists new features and bug fixes related to Windowing, Input, MRT Core, Unpackaged App Deployment, Software Lifecycle. application, etc.

Microsoft warns that Preview Channel merchandise should not be used for production.

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David Ramel is editor and writer for Converge360.

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