Visual Studio 2015 now offers new tools for developing Universal Windows Apps today

Kareem Anderson

Image Credit: WinBeta

The refinements made to Windows 10’s desktop and touch UI are receiving the bulk of acknowledgment from users, journalists, and reporters today. As Windows 10 lands onto more desktops, more users are getting acquainted with Cortana, the retooled Start Menu, the Notification Center, Continuum for 2-in-1 devices as well as the refined Snap assist feature. However, for many converts of the mobile mentality, there is still a hole Microsoft has seemingly left unattended, and that is the Windows Store. Windows 10 users need only look to one place to get downloads for music, videos, and software. The new Store has a new look and is a centralized place for Microsoft’s services and apps but stands largely unchanged from a front-facing user experience. The dreaded app gap still exist, and Microsoft’s Store makeover will only mask that inadequacy for so long.

Fortunately, Microsoft has a plan. During all the Windows 10 upgrade commotion, Microsoft announced, “that along with the RTM of Windows 10, you can now build apps for the Universal Windows Platform with Visual Studio 2015.” The Windows Dev Center is now accepting submission for the famed Universal Windows Apps platform.

In March, the Dev team offered preview tools to help developers test out apps. According to Microsoft, since March, there have been significant updates to those tools, making it even easier for developers to build out well-crafted Universal Windows Apps. Updates include improvements to .NET Framework libraries, XAML Designer and Editor, and app packaging for the Store. To further entice developers, Microsoft has also put time and effort into enabling developers to code in the language of their choosing. From C#, VB, C++ to JavaScript, the new project templates in Visual Studio 2015 should make it possible to have single universal app project deploy across all Windows 10 devices.

Lastly, developers and programmers of Win32 apps can now target the Windows 10 SDK and leverage the new APIs found in Windows 10. Now enterprise developers can add native Windows 10 features to their Win32 apps to offer their users a more modern experience.

Image Credit: Visual Studio

Hopefully, Microsoft has done enough of the heavy lifting to get more developers to its Windows Store.

For a developer who do not already have a copy of Visual Studio 2015 RTM, a free Community Edition can be installed from here. Enterprise or Professional developers can download a copy from Remember to choose ‘Custom’ during the setup process to install the new tools for developing Universal Windows Apps. Developers who already have Visual Studio 2015 RTm can get the tools by running the installer. Going into Programs and Features from the Control Panel and selecting Visual Studio, clicking on Change followed by Modify and finally selecting Tools for Universal Windows Apps, nets the same result.