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Window 10 Creators Update Gets Its Day with Developers

Microsoft offers a laundry list of developer-oriented features to get devs up to speed with the newest, feature-complete Windows 10 Creators Update slated for early 2017 release.

Microsoft's developer messaging, if recent tooling news from Redmond is any indication, has been one of inclusion, of making sure that developer can build apps for every popular OS and form factor. With today's Windows Developer Days online event, Microsoft is back full circle, highlighting an array of developer-oriented features specifically aimed at apps and games on the Windows 10 ecosystem.

The event focused specifically on Windows 10 Creators Update, the next version of Microsoft's OS that's slated for release sometime in the first part of 2017. As of today, the Windows 10 Creators Update software developer kit "is feature complete," according to Kevin Gallo, corporate vice president of the Windows Development Platform group, during the live stream (he also covers the highlights in a blog post here). He emphasized that this event is "covering what is shipping with the Windows 10 Creator's Update today," noting that announcements at Microsoft's BUILD 2017 event in Redmond will cover versions following this one.

Gallo also noted that his group is giving more insight on future development and direction to the community. To do this, his group is centralizing the storage of documents for this and other Microsoft software at https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/ and providing the community with a link to a backlog site that shows progress on Windows 10 features and bugs that the team is working on at any given time.

The four-hour online event covered lots of ground, of which these are just the highlights:

  • Desktop Bridge: Expanded to allow Win32-based desktop apps and games to be converted and repackaged as UWP apps or games.
  • Cortana Skills Kit: The kit debuted at an event in December, and the group tried to provide a demo at this one, which failed to perform. In any event, the team announced that a preview would be made available on February 27. At its core, it allows developers to build interaction between apps using the Microsoft Bot Framework and delivered (or published) through Cortana.
  • Windows Holographic Platform: Gallo cited mixed reality headsets that will be available in late 2017, which developers will be able to take advantage of using the same technology that is behind Microsoft's HoloLens.
  • Project Rome: The cross-collaboration/platform that was introduced in Windows 10 Anniversary Update now supports Android devices.
  • XAML Updates: SVG support means only having to design icons and images once in XAML; also includes keytips, strikethrough text, and menu icons; XAML can be edited live via Edit & Continue; Ink and Surface enhancements -- much of this supports is available via the Animation & Effects API.
  • Developer Tools Updates: VS 2017 performance and startup; ability to run SDKs side by side within Creators Update; ICU/CLDR updated and shipping with Windows, with ICU APIs part of UWP; Windows Device Portal now includes Xbox capabilities, and middleware tracing; PIX game debugger ported to Windows desktop; Bash supports Node, Python, Ruby, Go, Rust, among others, and MySQL, PostgreSQL, and Apache (among others) for local testing; Windows Console now supports up to 16 million colors and improves on mouse and interface capabilities; allow Remote GBD Debugger from VS IDE.
  • Facebook App Install Ads: API gives Windows developers ability to natively target Windows Store apps for sale via Facebook ad platform, and can provide marketing analytics.
  • Windows SDK for Google Analytics: Allows UWP apps to connect to Google's Universal Analytics service. Also supports Xamarin, Windows Forms and WPF.

The live stream will be made available on Microsoft's Channel 9 site for on-demand viewing later today, and we'll cover some of these features in the coming weeks as they roll out here on http://visualstudiomagazine.com/news/.

About the Author

Michael Domingo is a long-time software publishing veteran, having started up and managed several developer publications for the Clipper compiler, Microsoft Access, and Visual Basic. He's also managed IT pubs for 1105 Media, including Microsoft Certified Professional Magazine and Virtualization Review before landing his current gig as Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief. Besides his publishing life, he's a professional photographer, whose work can be found by Googling domingophoto.

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