Build 2018: Microsoft will let developers add Fluent Design to their legacy Windows apps

Kareem Anderson

Seems as though Microsoft’s recent work on coming up with a unifying design language is now being extended to legacy Windows applications and programs as well.

That’s right, those old clunky, mouse-only targets, and dated app UI’s from yesteryear can now have some modern life breathed into them thanks to some XAML trickery called XAML Islands. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore provided the following details in a blog post yesterday:

You can create immersive, deeply engaging experiences with Microsoft’s updated design language. Now every organization can make beautiful solutions that empower your customers to do more. With UWP XAML Islands, you can access the more capable, flexible, powerful XAML controls regardless which UI stack you use—whether it’s Windows Forms, WPF, or native Win32.”

While Microsoft waits for one of its many developing gambles to take off, the company appears to be hedging its bets with its already robust app catalog of Win32 apps by enabling developers to bring modern visual aspects to the experience without having to completely rewrite possible 30 years of old code for what might seem like a minimal return on investment by large companies.

Perhaps, Microsoft realized that perception is everything and if Win32 apps can sit side by side with more modern looking UWP or PWAs, their stable of over million “legacy” apps now become just “apps” and the gap in app titles amongst the various ecosystems becomes much slimmer. We’re hoping to learn more about Fluent Design during the second Build 2018 keynote this morning.