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Windows Dev Day: Fall Creators SDK, .NET Standard 2.0 for UWP

Windows Developer Day revealed the SDK for the upcoming Windows 10 Fall Creators Update is ready for download, and that the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) now supports .NET Standard 2.0 for unified API usage.

The .NET Standard 2.0, which was finalized in August, specifies a set of APIs that all conformant .NET implementations must provide for consistent API usage regardless of specific coding targets.

The UWP is Microsoft's way of unifying app development for multiple ecosystem targets, such as PC desktops, Xbox, Surface Hub, HoloLens, Internet of Things (IoT) devices and mobile -- though perhaps not so much for that latter item anymore.

The new UWP support for the API standard was mentioned with a preview of Visual Studio 2017 15.4 -- just released yesterday -- which must be used to leverage the new capabilities.

"The key advantage of .NET Standard 2.0 is that it makes .NET implementations of .NET Standard much more similar to .NET Framework. With .NET Standard 2.0, about 20,000 more APIs become available compared to .NET Standard 1.6," Microsoft execs said in a blog post yesterday. "The vast majority of them are existing .NET Framework APIs, which includes missing reflection APIs, non-generic collections, DataSet, binary serialization, XML Schema, and many more.

"This makes it much easier to port existing .NET Framework code to UWP. This includes both, copy & pasting existing code, but also extends to referencing existing .NET Framework binaries, via the compatibility mode."

As an example, Microsoft provided this screenshot of using a DataSet inside a UWP project:

Using a DataSet in UWP Project
[Click on image for larger view.] Using a DataSet in UWP Project, Thanks to .NET Standard 2.0 (source: Microsoft).

Meanwhile, as developers await the final release of the Fall Creators update next week, exec Kevin Gallo announced the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update SDK -- which comes built in to Visual Studio 2017 -- was available for download.

Gallo highlighted three areas of focus with the new SDK: mixed reality; modernizing applications; and building and monetizing games and applications. He defined mixed reality as augmented reality and virtual reality and everything in between.

"The next revolution of computing is Mixed Reality," Gallo said. Windows 10 was designed from ground up for spatial interactions and the next wave in this journey is Windows Mixed Reality, uniting the digital and real world to create a rich, immersive world. As humans, we interact with space constantly, and Windows Mixed Reality will feel the most natural for users."

The New Windows Application Packaging Project Template
[Click on image for larger view.] The New Windows Application Packaging Project Template for Windows Store or 'Modern Distribution' (source: Microsoft).

The second item, modernizing applications, centers on the Windows application packaging project that comes with VS 2017 15.4. "This new project allows developers to utilize the app packaging without having to convert your existing installer," Gallo said. "Just add the project and you’re done. Once your application is using the modernized installer, you now have access to all the APIs that have been added to the Windows Platform."

Lastly, in a nod to game developers, Gallo said: "Now, developers will automatically have access to 6 exclusive cores, 5 GB of ram and full access to the GPU with DX12! We designed Visual Studio 2017 with game developers in mind! We built a brand-new work-load based installer in Visual Studio 2017, which optimizes the install experience for game developers, so you get everything you need and nothing you don’t."

Interested developers can read more about Windows Developer Day 2017 here.

About the Author

David Ramel is the editor of Visual Studio Magazine.

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