Preview for Silverlight-to-Windows 10 Universal platform bridge now available

Staff Writer

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.
Savvy users may recognize Silverlight as the name of Microsoft’s competitor to Adobe’s Flash. Silverlight eventually failed to achieve its objective, being rendered obsolete by the then emerging onslaught of open standards web innovations such as HTML5 and near-native speed Javascript engines. The company adapted the platform to be the backbone behind its Windows Phone app ecosystem. Indeed, to developers, standard Windows Phone apps for Windows Phone 7, 8, and 8.1 were referred to as Silverlight for Windows Phone apps. One of the intrinsic benefits of developing Silverlight applications was its use of the powerful, high level, and highly productive C# language. C# stood as an arguably superior counterpart to the Java used in Android and many legacy enterprise applications.
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.