About five months after Microsoft showed off what it called "Project N" at the Visual Studio 2013 launch, the company has now released a developer preview of the compiler designed to make Windows 8 apps have faster performance; the code now has the official name of .NET Native.
In a blog post this week, Microsoft said this first preview version is designed to make apps that will work with Windows RT and the 64-bit version of Windows 8.1, with support for the 32-bit version coming in the near future.
The .NET Native compiler uses the world-class Microsoft VC++ optimizer back-end to make your app run faster. .NET Native libraries are refactored and optimized for Store apps. And .NET Native has the capability to link in library code your app uses into the app, allowing the optimizer to work globally across your app’s code and library code.
The end result is that apps made with .NET Native are supposed to launch up to 60 percent faster once they are started by the user, while at the same time use 10 to 20 percent less memory. Microsoft has already made a number of Windows 8 apps with .NET Native, including the game Wordament and the Fresh Paint digital drawing tool. There's no word when Microsoft will launch the final version of the compiler.