Mobilize.NET has released a preview for its Universal Windows Platform bridge, a Visual Studio extension that helps Windows Phone developers convert their Silverlight-based apps to Universal apps. Mobilize.NET, a small software company that produces developer tools catering to Microsoft platform developers, showed off this tool at the recent Build 2015 conference. It works by taking a Silverlight for Windows Phone-based project’s source code and libraries, mapping them to their Universal Windows API equivalents, and spitting out a Universal Windows App project. As indicated by the Microsoft blog post:
The bridge currently maps the 700 most used APIs and handles transitioning your manifests, APIs, XAML, NuGet package references and async/await changes. More APIs and mappings will follow with future updates.
Expect all 1200 APIs to be successfully mapped by November later this year.
Porting Silverlight-based apps into Universal apps keeps in tune with the central theme of the Build 2015 conference, which was “building bridges.” At this conference, Microsoft announced countless tools that would aid cross-platform developers in bringing their apps to the Universal platform, including iOS and Android apps. It seems Mobilize.NET realized that developers within Microsoft’s platforms need help to transition as well.
Any sharp developers (pun intended) could read the writing on the wall, however, and realize that Silverlight’s days as a first-class development platform were numbered. The eventual demise of Silverlight became apparent when Microsoft announced the WinRT API back when Windows 8 was still in development. The Universal Windows platform represents what is perhaps the culmination of these efforts. Expect to see many Silverlight for Windows Phone developers begin their transition to the future if they haven’t begun already.