How can we improve the Windows dev platform?

Make Universal Windows Platform Open Source and Cross-Platform

With the advent of //build 2015, the vision and direction of Microsoft seems to be open source and cross platform. This appears to be the case for every new product from Microsoft except for the Universal Windows Platform.

It would be great, ideal, and wonderfully awesome to see this platform reach consistency with the rest of the organization and embrace the ideals, values, and benefits from being open source and cross platform like other areas of Microsoft now are (or are on their way to being).

Please provide consistency throughout the entire Microsoft development ecosystem!

806 votes
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Mike-EEE shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →


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  • Chad Pesterwick commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    If you are worried about Windows @ this point you should probably get into a different profession. Or are part of the failed leadership of the Windows group. Their dysfunction has caused this mess, having Android and iOS surpass them with mobile marketshare. Windows 10 has not adopted as quickly as they might have hoped, so going cross platform is indeed the only viable strategy to maintain market value.

    That is not to say that Windows is lost. The UI and UX is actually pretty decent, especially for Windows Phone. Since the value is not in Windows but in its user experience, a cross platform UWP would help perpetuate it to the different platforms, thus preserving (and promoting) value.

    This isn't about making it easier to move from one platform or another, but for developers and companies to reduce the enormous costs associated with having to develop and maintain a codebase for each platform they would like to support. Products like React "get it" and are already beating MS to the punch (as always):

  • Gavin Williams commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Nice idea, but cross-platform unfortunately only helps moving away from Windows and doesn't really help Windows at all. You only have to look at products like Pokemon Go (written in unity) to see that Android oriented developers are not the least bit interested in targeting Windows, even if you make it easy for them.

    Please, I'd be happy to be convinced that Android developers are super eager to work on Windows versions of their products and are just waiting for Microsoft to make all their good stuff crossplatform. But unfortunately - many android developers either want to ignore Windows or even publicly despise Windows - Snapchat for example.

    I honestly think that if Microsoft go fully cross platform all they are doing is building one way doors to those other platforms. You'll end up with all this cross platform tech that makes it easy for people to move to Android, and there will be no backward flow. How does that help Windows ? And all those cross-platform products are boosting the competitions income.

  • my123 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    This request seems to englobe open-sourcing the Drawbridge libOS layer, with stripping it for WinRT/UWP support only.

  • Mike-EEE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    UWP is not inherently tied to Windows and is actually very-well architected for cross-platform capability. Have you not seen all the interfaces that are used extensively throughout its API? Currently, these are all bound to the magnificent (and rather opaque) Curtain of COM, but it does allow for the design to be ported to other implementations.

    But yes, I agree that this is not something that is trivial and will not happen overnight. I have resolved myself to waiting another 3-4 (at least) years before this can be considered a possibility. :) This vote is simply intended to start the awareness/conversation/direction. Thank you for your support and consideration!

  • Mihai Cosmin commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    The problem is, UWP is tied to the windows OS itself. Making it open source would be like making windows open source.

  • Mike-EEE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    Exactly, Peter. The goal with this is exactly what you described: a direct, identical port of UWP to other platforms such as iOS and Droid (and others!). Xamarin.Forms is a fantastic technology in its own right, but it is middleware and it essentially caters to the target platform, ultimately rendering the application via the target platform's UI and controls, and corresponding UX. By contrast, the expectation here is that what you see on a Windows 10 device would look and work *exactly the same* on an iOS/Droid (or other!) device. The result essentially being a direct and perfectly identical port of UWP to other platforms.

    By design, this implies that UWP is THE superior application paradigm when viewed against any competing options. Which it should be (and is???). This reasserts MSFT into its rightful place as an exceptional technology company, leading its developers into dominance and success, rather than following "standards" and leaving its developers in confusion and angst (ala Silverlight, and the inexcusable "just use HTML5" guidance/recommendation -- if you can call it that).

  • Peter Moore commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

    I would be fine even if the source code were available for browsing and debugging purposes just as the entire .NET framework is. It doesn't have to be licensed open source per se.

    Cross platform would be very nice though. Xamarin is great for putting C# on iOS but it is still usually not feasible to truly share code between Windows and iOS/Android projects because Xamarin's XAML "Xamarin Forms" framework is so different from Microsoft's and is very limited.

    It would be wonderful if the full Windows Runtime APIs and XAML framework were ported completely to Xamarin iOS and we could write native apps with -identical- source code (C# and XAML) for both platforms. An entirely OpenGL-based implementation of Windows Runtime for Xamarion iOS would put the ugly and sluggish Cocoa Touch framework to shame.

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