Windows Bridge for iOS - also referred to as Project Islandwood - is an open-source project from Microsoft which allows developers to build Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps using iOS APIs and Objective-C code. This week, the tool is getting updated with numerous features including improved support for several iOS layout APIs and integration with the CoreFoundation framework. Moreover, the company is also launching a new GitHub repository with sample codes and open-source apps.
For those unaware of the CoreFoundation framework, it is widely used as an understructure in developing most iOS apps, and in Foundation-based classes such as NSString and NSArray. The Windows Bridge for iOS team has officially merged CoreFoundation into the WinObjC code base, which consequently allows the complete framework to be used in the bridge.
Ever since its release, the Windows Bridge for iOS has allowed developers to preserve the UI of their iOS app when they port it to Windows. This has been accomplished by providing support for numerous APIs and tools such as UIKit and Xib2Nib. Similarly, the bridge has also supported some of the most widely used APIs in Apple's first-party mechanism, also known as Auto Layout, which is used for building constraint-based layouts.
Now, Microsoft is adding support for two new classes, namely NSLayoutAnchor and UILayoutGuide. These classes aim to simplify the code by dividing it into more manageable chunks, and also reduce the lines of code. The company went on to state that:
[...] We’ve fixed lots of bugs and made performance improvements to our constraint solving and layout libraries, making for a generally faster and more performant experience using layout constraints with the bridge. We’ve also added support for a commonly requested feature on NSLayoutConstraint itself: priorities. With the latest version of the bridge, you can bring more of your iOS code base and constraint-based layouts to Windows 10 than ever before.
Lastly, the GitHub repository currently offers two kinds of sample projects: bite-sized samples and full apps. Bite-sized samples offer tutorials to utilize specific Windows 10 functionalities directly in Objective-C, such as Live Tiles and popping toast notifications. Meanwhile, the full app samples currently demonstrate the end-to-end journey for a developer building the To Do List and Calculator apps.
Microsoft has also stated that it plans to further improve upon the Windows Bridge for iOS and also looks to add more sample functionalities to its new repository including tutorials for utilizing Cortana, in-app purchases, maps and push notifications.