What Developers Need To Know About Windows 10 Anniversary Update

Microsoft’s Build developer conference has had an eventful start with the announcement of the Windows 10 anniversary update which includes a swathe of new features for end-users and developers. We’ve already covered the information that came out of the keynote, but here’s a quick summary of the most important announcements for developers and some new improvements the Anniversary update brings that weren’t covered at Build 2016.

The Windows 10 Anniversary preview SDK is now available for download for participants of the Windows Insider program. The Anniversary update is expected to reach all Windows 10 users in the coming months.

First off, here’s a rundown of what we know about the Windows 10 anniversary update, along with some general improvements for the operating system, from Build 2016 that is pertinent to developers:

  • Extended Windows Hello biometric security protection for Windows apps and Microsoft Edge browser. The latter will be the first web browser to natively support biometrics but this will only work with sites that support it.
  • Windows Ink which allows users to doodle on Windows 10 apps including Maps, Microsoft Edge and Office. Developers can integrate this feature into their own apps with as little as two lines of code.
  • Developers now have full access to Cortana’s proactive intelligence through proactive actions, allowing your apps to perform tasks based on user context by linking existing actions in deep-link enabled apps and websites. This means developers can register actions with Cortana to connect users to their apps at the right time.
  • Windows Holographic SDK and emulators are now available so developers can work on apps for Microsoft’s augmented reality headset the HoloLens.
  • Project Centennial, which allows developers to convert Win32 and .NET desktop apps to a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app, which will allow them to be released on the Windows Store. According to Microsoft: ” With the new installer technology, your app can cleanly install, uninstall, and update, and also get full access to UWP APIs including Live Tiles, Cortana, notifications, and more”.
  • Bash, a command line tool that programmers using Linux and other Unix-style operating systems are familiar with, is coming to Windows 10. Developers will be able to download the Bash shell from the Windows Store.
  • An Xbox One can now be a developer kit thanks to the release of the Retail Dev Unlock preview.

Here are some improvements that didn’t make the cut for the Build 2016 keynote but are still significant enough to mention, according to Microsoft’s developer blog:

  • Connected Devices: We are bringing new ways to connect to, communicate with, and manage multiple devices and apps. This technology enables Cortana extensibility and the new Action Center in the Cloud, and it’s being introduced today.
  • Background execution: We are bringing the ability to run your application in the background without requiring two separate processes. Along with extended execution and opportunistic tasks, writing applications that run when they need to will become simpler and more powerful.
  • App Extensions: UWP now supports app extensibility allowing you to build an ecosystem based on your application. Microsoft Edge uses this technology for its own extensions.
  • Action Center in the Cloud: Enables your app to engage with users on all their devices. You can now dismiss notifications on one device and they will be dismissed everywhere.
  • Windows Store & Dev Center: Significate new tools include user roles in Dev Center, app flighting, improved analytics, an analytics API that allows you to grab your data and use it outside of the dashboard, user segmentation and targeting, A/B testing, app subscriptions, advertising improvements, and more.

We’ll continue to cover news from Microsoft Build 2016. Stay tuned!

[Via Microsoft Developer Blog]

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