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UWP developers unite to prove the platform isn't dead

Image credit: Yoshi Askharoun

Last week, Microsoft announced that Win32 games can now be published in the Microsoft Store, which prompted a series of comments regarding the death of the once-beloved Universal Windows Platform. We even discussed that topic on last week's Neowin Podcast.

Now, though, a group of UWP developers has joined together to keep the dream alive with a new event called Launch. Through a Medium blog post, Arlo Godfrey officially kicked off the annual event, which brings a few new apps and one major update to fans of UWP.

Starting with the major update, we have myTube 4.0, developed by Christopher Blackman, also known as Ryken Studios. We've talked about myTube in the past, and it's a pretty good way to use YouTube on your computer. With version 4.0, which is now available to beta testers, myTube is getting the first major facelift in a few years.

There's a new sidebar menu with collapsible items, a redesigned page for the subscription page, a slightly updated player with a bigger play button, and more. Animations have been improved all around, as well, and they feel smoother now. There's also a brand new icon, and the UI should feel a bit more cohesive across PC, phones, and Xbox. You can download the new beta app from the Microsoft Store.

Next up, in the realm of all-new apps, there's Legere, which is a new UWP client for Reddit developed by Sergio Pedri and Avishai Dernis, and it promises to do everything you need from the platform. It supports multiple accounts, background notifications, multireddits, and media such as Imgur galleries and YouTube videos can all be played directly within the app. What's more, there's a full-fledged markdown editor with live previews and an album creation tool. You can download Legere from the Microsoft Store.

If music is more your thing, Spotimo might be worth a look. It's essentially a Spotify client with an interface based on that of Groove Music. The app is available in beta starting today, and you might find a few bugs still, but if you've been waiting for a modern-looking Spotify client, Spotimo might just be it. It relies on some myTube code for playing audio from YouTube, which is used as a replacement for Spotify's own audio files if you're not a Premium user.

The app offers all the features you'd expect, including your own custom playlists, the ability to handle Spotify URIs, and, of course, an interface that fits better into the Windows 10 design language. You can try the beta version by downloading it from the Microsoft Store.

The last new UWP app is Kanban Ink, which aims to bring whiteboard inking together into to-do lists. It lets you create separate boards for different kinds of tasks, with separate tabs for pending, ongoing, and completed tasks, and the ability to set colors and add notes to each task. What makes the app stand out the most is that each task has its own dedicated whiteboard, where you can use Windows Ink to add all kinds of notes, additional images, and so on.

Kanban Ink is available for free, but you'll be limited to five boards with 40 tasks each. You can purchase a copy of the app to get unlimited boards and tasks, or pay for a monthly subscription, which gets you the same benefits plus cloud sync across devices. You can get started by downloading it here.

While not completely new, the group of developers also announced that Quarrel, a UWP client for Discord, is going open-source, in an attempt to get community input to clean up the app's codebase and speed up development. You can download the app here, or contribute to the project on GitHub.

There's still a bit more news, though. If you use the above apps, you may find yourself wanting them to be used whenever you open a Reddit or YouTube link. myTube has previously launched a myTube Companion extension, which let the app handle YouTube links from your browser, but this group of developers has now brought that capability to more apps with the UWP Companion extension for Chrome.

Once you add the extension to your browser, you can set it so that Reddit links open in the Legere app, or Discord links open in Quarrel. A Firefox version of the extension is planned for later, but for now, you should be able to use it with Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers such as the new Edge. The extension is currently awaiting approval into the Chrome Web Store, but it should be available here once it goes live.

If you're a believer in the UWP platform, this wave of new apps should be pretty good news for you. Launch is meant to be an annual event, so, hopefully, we can look forward to more apps like this being released in the future.

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