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Current State of UWP App Development

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Microsoft has introduced new controls for use with its Universal Windows Platform (UWP).  UWP is central to all of the Windows 10-based that range from PC-based systems to Xbox One to HoloLens.  One of the ways Microsoft attempts to assist developers in producing quality applications for this platform is through the release of its UWP Community Toolkit.

The toolkit provides helper functions, custom controls, and app services for developers to use in their own UWP apps, and is developed publicly on GitHub.  It offers developers a way to jump-start their app development by including features that aren't part of the Windows SDK and see the code behind the functionality. 

The latest release of the toolkit, (version 1.3), adds nine new controls, two new services, and three new animations.  To see both the new and existing controls in action, the UWP Community Toolkit Sample App is available on the Windows Store.

As Microsoft works to drive the adoption of the UWP apps, it is worth considering how well the platform can support advanced application development.  To see what Microsoft is currently developing for UWP, check out their roadmap.  Microsoft MVP Thomas Claudius Huber has provided a great overview of the current state of UWP for creating a traditional line of business application.  In his example, he set out to recreate the Visual Studio Shell using only currently available UWP controls. 

Huber identifies several useful controls that are not currently available on UWP.  Some of the more notable missing elements include:

  • Classic menu – only a hamburger style menu is currently available.  Huber himself has submitted a UserVoice request to have this added
  • Classic toolbar or ribbon – both of these control types are missing
  • HierarchicalDataTemplate to augment the current treeView under development
  • SqlClient – Building an application similar Server Explorer or related tool to directly access a database is not possible without using a Web API

As Huber demonstrates, the development of UWP is something that is occurring in real time, and developers considering a migration to the platform should get involved with the direction it is taking to ensure that the tools they need for their apps are ready when they need them.

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