D-14 : Universal Apps - Write Once, Run on Multiple Devices

These days being an app/web developer is the one of the hardest jobs. One will have to deal to with a lot of user experiences ranging from small phones to smartphones to tablets to desktops to smart tv and even IoT devices running on diverse operating systems. So the developer needs to make a version of the app for all these devices and needs to maintain it seperately. So the tools like Xamarin, Cordova, Kony which helps you to create a hybrid application which can run on multiple devices with a single code base, but it lacks the perfomance of the native apps.

Microsoft was hard at work to bring an universal platform where you write code once and can run on a variety of devices for some time. With Windows 10 it's becoming a reality and with the Universal apps developers will be finally able to write an app once and it will take on a different appearance depending on the device it's running on. This is because with Windows 10, they have converged all their OS platforms into a single, unified core and a single universal store for all the devices. This single core helps your app to run on every device running on Windows 10, be it a desktop, laptop, phone, Xbox or an IoT device.

The universal app platform has capablities like Adaptive UX, Natural Universal Input, Cloud Based Services will help you to quickly build these experiences that are consistent, flexible.


Adaptive UX

Helps you app's UI to adapt at runtime based on the capablities of the device. Also Windows 10 will render appropriate user experience based on how the user is interacting with you app. For example, on a laptop with touch screen, an app will have large touch area if you are using touch as input as compared to when interacting with a mouse.

Natural User Input

Windows 10 supports has got inbuilt support for Natural Speech, inking, gestures and user gaze which will relieve devs from worrying about how to parse the input. You only need to specify which all input methods your app is supporting and Windows 10 will determine if the input is present or not and if it's there it will parse the input for you.

Cloud Based Services

Along with these capablitites Microsoft provides a lot of cloud based services which you can take advantage of in your universal app. With the introduction of new services like Cortana AI, OneDrive, Application Insights, Azure Mobile Serives and Azure Notification Hub along with existing ones like Windows Notification Service and Windows Credential Locker will help you make your app for feature rich.

What you need ?

For developing universal apps you need Visual Studio 2015 which is going to be released worldwide on July 20, 2015 along with Windows App Developement tools which comes along with the bundle running on Windows 10. Untill now we were creating different projects for each device, but with Visual Studio 2015 you will need to create only one project for the all the devices. You can develop your core application first and then handle-device specific elements as layers to the core using the extention SDK for each device type.

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