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Overview of the UWP App Model at Build 2016

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Andrew Clinick, Program Manager at Microsoft, presented an overview of what’s new in the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) App Model at Build 2016. One of the highlights this year is the conversion of desktop applications to UWP, codenamed Project Centennial.

Andrew started by clarifying what the UWP App Model is. The app model defines the lifecycle for all apps on Windows. It is the same on all devices: IoT, mobile, PC, XBox and Hololens. This means an application doesn’t need to be rewritten in order to support different types of device.

The lifecycle of an app includes:

  • Install
  • Runtime environnement
  • Resource management
  • Update
  • Data model
  • Uninstall

The remainder of the presentation covered several announcements and feature improvements related to installation and extensibility.

Project Centennial
Project Centennial is the conversion of existing desktop apps to run on the Universal Windows Platform. The main objectives of the project are:

  • Keep current Win32/.NET code running unchanged while migrating
  • Maintain a common code base to target both Win 10 and Win 7
  • Enable progressive migration to UWP
  • Leverage the current ecosystem of apps

The desktop to UWP converter is available as a preview.

Desktop Apps Installer
The UWP team wants to fix several issues with desktop application installation:

  • No DLL hell, no registry bloat
  • Clean uninstall
  • Automatic/Silent updates

Automatic and silent updates require some compromises, however. The application will have to run as a user to update automatically. Applications requiring a reboot, such as drivers, won’t be supported by UWP.

App Extensibility Framework
The App Extensibility Framework provides a model for adding plugins to an app. The application publishes a contract, which is implemented by extensions. Extensions can be installed using the store. The framework also provides a UI for managing plugins directly inside the app. The App Extensibility Framework is the same framework used by Microsoft’s Edge browser.

For more information, all presentations on UWP are available on Channel 9.

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