Microsoft has taken an early build of Windows Bridge, the tech giant's development environment for Apple's iOS, and released it as open source, a few months after revealing plans to port apps for the iOS and Android to Windows.
The component of Windows Bridge, which also goes by the name of Project Islandwood, is expected to be released this coming fall, along with new capabilities that Microsoft will be adding to the Visual Studio development environment. In the meantime, Microsoft has pushed out an early build of the technology into Github and into the open-source community.
While the history and development of personal computers are largely connected with Microsoft, the Windows app environment, not including games for the desktop PC, has been struggling. Developers have largely focused on apps for the iOS and Android, which are operating systems that have found massive success with the push of technology to mobile.
The goal of the development efforts of Microsoft is to make it easier for iOS and Android developers to create ports for their apps to be used on Windows.
Windows Bridge currently has three versions under development. The first version is Project Astoria, which is the development environment for porting apps for the Android mobile operating system to Windows. It is currently at the technical preview stage, with only invited developers participating in the testing. The public beta for the technology is expected to be released this coming fall season. The second version is Project Centennial, which looks to port the current Win32 Windows apps for Windows 10 and the Windows Store. This technology will be undergoing public testing by 2016.
Project Islandwood, looking to port apps from iOS to Windows, will support apps for Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 that were developed using x64 amd x86 processor architectures. Microsoft will also soon add compiler optimization and ARM support to add mobile support, according to a post on the Windows Blog.
Releasing Project Islandwood into open source is a very important move for Microsoft to bump up the number of apps that it has on the Windows Store. According to figures by Statista, there were 1.6 million apps available on the Google Play Store for Android users and 1.5 million apps available on Apple's App Store for iOS users. While Microsoft has not revealed how many apps there are on the Windows Store, the number could be fewer than 300,000.
By releasing Project Islandwood to open source, there will hopefully be more developers that will take their iOS and Android creations and port them for Windows platforms.