Microsoft has announced today the release of the developer tools for Windows 10. This software development kit (SDK) will help programmers get the most out of Windows 10 and build their apps for the new features like Cortana and Action center.
The SDK, which you can find at the source links below, is the first release for developers and expect the tools to be updated as the OS progresses towards RTM this summer. If you want to download and use the bits, Microsoft says to follow these steps:
- Sign up for the Windows Insider Program, if you haven't already.
- Install, or upgrade to, the latest flight of Windows 10 Technical Preview to best support Windows Universal App Platform development.
- Run Windows Update to check for the latest updates.
- If you're running CTP5 or earlier, uninstall your previous version of Visual Studio 2015.
- Install the tools; both Visual Studio 2015 CTP6 and the Tools for Windows 10 Technical Preview, which includes the SDK, are required when developing for the Windows Universal App Platform. (To install the .iso file, download the files, right-click the local copy, and then select Mount.)
So what's new in this release? Well, Microsoft wants you to explore these areas of the new SDK:
- Adaptive UX: Windows 10 provides the ability to use a single UI that can adapt from small to large screens. For developers with an existing Windows 8.1 app, you can quickly try this one out by (a) removing one of your UI projects (and going from three Visual Studio projects to one!) and (b) add the improved ViewStateManager to control how your UI adapts at runtime.
- User controls: A number of our Windows 10 UI controls will determine, at runtime, how the customer is interacting with your app and render the appropriate user experience (e.g. on a laptop with a touch-screen, an app fly-out control will provide larger touch-targets if tapped with touch, as opposed to clicked with a mouse).
- API contracts: With Windows 10, you can directly verify if a Windows feature is available rather than inferring based on the operating system version. This empowers you to start checking, at runtime, if a Windows feature is available on the device before you call a related API. A good API contract for you to try out in your code to see this in action is HardwareButtons, which is present on phones (via the Mobile Extensions SDK), and thus available on the phone and mobile emulator but not available on the desktop. Microsoft believes that API contracts and the extension SDKs will allow you to adapt your code at runtime to deliver user experiences that feel right on the device it’s being run on.
This is an important release for Microsoft as they need developers to take advantage of all that Windows 10 has to offer to bolster the app store. The company is hoping that developers will build universal apps with Windows 10 that will then help fill out the application lists for their mobile version of the OS too.