What UWP Deprecation? Community Celebrates Innovative Apps in Launch 2021 Contest

For all the talk of the deprecation of Microsoft's Universal Windows Platform (UWP), it still thrives in places, including the UWP Community, which just announced the winners of its Launch 2021 event that celebrates UWP apps and their development.

Specifically, Launch 2021 is "where users, developers, beta testers and translators work together to bring their ideas to life, and Launch their projects as a community."

The event showcases apps created by developers using the UWP Community Discord server, who have their own UWP Community web site that serves as "The homepage for the unofficial Discord server" and is used to showcase the Launch 2021 offerings.

As far as that UWP deprecation talk, that has been going on for years, with one pundit claiming "UWP is dead" in 2019.

The Discord group apparently didn't get the memo. It showed 3,978 members at the time of this writing, with 683 online mid-day on a Thursday. So life remains.

UWP Community Discord Channel
[Click on image for larger view.] UWP Community Discord Channel (source: Discord).

As a reminder, UWP is described by Microsoft as a way to create client applications for Windows, using WinRT APIs to provide UI and asynchronous features for internet-connected and other devices that run on Windows 10, including PCs, tablets, smartphones, Xbox One, Microsoft HoloLens and Internet of Things hardware.

In Launch 2021 -- the third annual event -- more than 20 new UWP projects were released yesterday (Sept. 1), judged by a panel of judges who awarded prizes to winners after gauging:

  • Flexibility: A Fluent Design principle. Responsive layouts, adaptive input methods and a natural UI fit on every device.
  • Empathy: A Fluent Design principle. The user experience is stable, intuitive and delightful to use.
  • Beauty: A Fluent Design principle. The app is engaging and immersive. Shadows, animations, depth, general design.
  • Potential: Apps are built on a great idea and have the potential to grow into something even bigger.
  • Originality: Apps that do something very original, unique or uncommon, or serves an unfilled niche.
  • Accessibility: Screen reader support, localization, high contrast themes and keyboard navigation make your app more accessible to users around the word.

Here's a screenshot of some of the projects, sorted by category score:

Launch 2021 Projects
[Click on image for larger view.] Launch 2021 Projects (source: UWP Community).

To provide more of an idea on what types of apps are popular in the contest, the descriptions of the top row of projects read:

  • Exd Pic: a system for making interactive pictures. It has the most advanced tracing capabilities of products of this types
  • Yƶti: multiplatform music recognizer fueled by the community in such a way that even starting artists can provide songs so that they can be recognized instantly.
  • a game where you try to guess what other players are drawing and whoever ends all the rounds with more points wins!
  • Clipboard Canvas: A productivity tool for pasting and previewing multiple file types with support of virtual Reference Files.

Other projects include a PDF editor, an ambient white noise app, a Fluent Screen Recorder and more. All apps are described as new or vNext and are free for anyone to use.

Some projects are hosted on GitHub, including Clipboard Canvas, so you can check out their source code files.

Launch showcases for 2019 and 2020 are available here.

WinUI 3
[Click on image for larger view.] WinUI 3 (source: Microsoft).

As for the future of UWP, it's still alive for now, being integrated into unification efforts like Project Reunion and WinUI 3.

Project Reunion in Animated Action
[Click on image for larger, animated GIF view.] Project Reunion in Animated Action (source: Microsoft).

However, many industry pundits and observers are still claiming Microsoft has stopped investing in UWP or at least lessened such investments with actions such as shutting down its Microsoft Ad Monetization platform for UWP apps last year ("Microsoft shovels more dirt on UWP apps, leaving Win32 apps as the future once again") and saying it has no plans to release WinUI 3 for UWP in a stable way ("Oh dear, Universal Windows Platform: Microsoft says 'no plans to release WinUI 3 for UWP in a stable way'") in July.

Microsoft has provided little guidance on the future of UWP lately, though, possibly leaving some of its devoted followers to wonder if they will be "Silverlighted."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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