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Windows 10 and Cross Platform Development

[This article was first published on gooroo.io]

Windows 10 is looming and already details of new features and new components are emerging. In this series of articles I will cover the new features of Windows, both as an IT Professional as well as a developer. The amount of work and investment made by Microsoft into the Windows eco-system means that this is not a small update, but a key to the future success of the platform. One of the new features is a cross platform capability of apps that is unmatched anywhere. In the not too distant future you will be able to run your Windows 10 apps on phone, tablet, desktop, Xbox, Internet of Things (such as a Raspberry Pi), HoloLens and many many more devices.

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Simple to Get Started

In its simplest form this means that an app that you are using on your smartphone is automatically synced to a cloud service, which then means you can continue exactly where you left off on another device such as a tablet or Xbox. That is already possible to some extent with roaming storage, which uses OneDrive to sync a small section of custom user settings across devices.

[code language=”csharp”]
void InitHandlers()
Windows.Storage.ApplicationData.Current.DataChanged +=
new TypedEventHandler<ApplicationData, object>(DataChangeHandler);

void DataChangeHandler(Windows.Storage.ApplicationData appData, object o)
// TODO: Refresh your data


_Code: Registering event handler for receiving roaming data changes _

The Future is Promising

If you look beyond this rather rudimentary example (from MSDN), and think much bigger, the true power of universal apps becomes clear. Imagine you have a piece of software that takes care of a medical patientโ€™s chart and history. This software might run on a tablet device, and as the doctor enters data on the chart, it is immediately visible to the nursing staff that sits at the nursing station monitoring the patients on desktop PCs. They have real time view of what is going on with all patients. If the patient requires surgery, the same piece of software can then feed data directly to the surgeon who is using the HoloLens to get real time information about a patients vitals and a holographic overlay of recommendations on next step in the procedure. Granted, this is a while off, but it is a platform like Windows 10 that makes this more like reality and less like science fiction.

Get Started Right Now

If you want to develop universal apps right now, you can get started really easily. You donโ€™t even need to code anything at first if you donโ€™t want to. Simply set up an account for App Studio and in less than an hour you can have a full blown app running on both Windows and Windows Phone.

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The solution you get can be exported directly to Visual Studio and it actually produces really nice clean code, fully implemented using MVVM and ready to deploy. If you want to know more about App Studio, watch my TechEd talk where I go through development of a full end-to-end app.

What’s Next

Universal apps aren’t going anywhere and they are the absolute star of the Windows 10 platform going forward. If you are keen on Windows development, whether that is desktop, mobile, Store apps or something else, you will do yourself a favour by keeping up to speed with cross platform apps. Not only is it the major way to develop going forward, but your return on investment will also be so much greater as you can target a very large number of users with a single code base.

If you want to know more about building universal apps and cross platform development, start here.