Microsoft launches a bridge between iOS apps and Windows 10.

This week is the total developer thing… Yesterday Intel announced a bridge between Android and iOS and now Microsoft is presenting its own between iOS and Windows 10, something that they already threatened to do a while ago and which it seems they have now perpetrated. Let’s see what are the characteristics and consequences of this step.

The so-called “Islandwood Project” consists of a code bridge in Visual Studio 2015 (the latest version just out of the oven) so that you can load your iOS project and get a Windows 10 project on x86 and x64 platforms (that is, that At the moment it does not work for ARM architecture, so it cannot be used on Windows Phone, although they promise to publish something about it for later this year). Likewise, the Android version (Astoria Project) will also appear in the coming months, although what we don’t know is if it will also be for mobile phones. This in particular seems to me a big mistake on their part, although it seems that at the moment they are not in a great hurry about it (I suppose that as a consequence of the bump that has occurred with mobile phones, they will take it more calmly, which comes to endorse what we already said in his day). But there are some things that developers should keep in mind if we want to understand this step and how to use it correctly without wasting time, effort and nerves.

Without having tried it (which I will do and give my opinion on it), at first I am skeptical of this type of project. As I have already commented in previous articles, it seems to me very risky for Microsoft to carry out this type of movement, which denote despair due to the lack of apps (we have already analyzed why in the article on the integration of iOS and Android with Windows), based on the based on the fact that they have made a perfect integration, at least at the code level, which is already quite (very) complicated to do. This can make your own platform stagnant and no one wants to use it, there being an easy way to program in iOS and then just port it to .NET (however they do it), losing stuff from one and the other at the same time. But there are also other aspects to take into account: to begin with, for the moment what they have published is a bridge for apps that run on Windows 10 desktop (at most, with compatibility for Surface) since there is no binary version for ARM, which excludes phones. And it is a problem because the apps for iOS are made for mobile environments, not for the desktop (remember that Windows 10 returns to the classic desktop environment, leaving Metro as something optional), and I especially emphasize the apps for iPhone, which are limited in its visual possibilities to a very restricted environment. This may also only make sense for “hand-made” apps without specialized kits, since the support is for Objective-C in source code, which will exclude many games. And this other leads us to another problem.

Microsoft launches a bridge between iOS apps and Windows 10

They have chosen Objective-C as their “sharing” platform. This would have been fine two years ago, but let’s remember that last year Apple released Swift, their new programming language that presumably we’ll all end up doing iOS jobs in the next few years (I’m assuming they’re already doing that). In addition, Swift is now open source (this is how it has been translated into Mandarin, for example), so they have no excuse for making the bridge in this language. Many developers are already publishing apps in Swift, so only those old apps that are written in Objective-C (and that is if you are not using Xamarin or web environments, which would not be compatible), or those that are resist moving into the new environment. Even so, there are many hundreds of thousands of apps that could be moved, but I hope for the good of Microsoft that the move to Swift is done soon because that could mean that in a short time, this bridge would become obsolete and we will be the same as before. now.

Finally, we must highlight technical details, such as the impossibility of using Apple services such as iCloud, iAd, push notifications, etc… All of this would have to be overwritten, if possible, in an environment compatible with Windows 10. The apps that have notification widgets cannot be used as is, and you will have to remove the widget (some actually only make sense because of that widget). Of course, also many aspects of visual windows, although they can be “overlapped” by the bridge (I hope), it is unlikely that they can be used without further ado, unless they have directly massacred Apple’s libraries, which I don’t think it will. grace to the latter; Or, which may be a likely option, convert the windows environment to a “Windows” type, but honestly I don’t know what can come out of that… In short, many unknowns, and until it is well tested and we know how to has done (they insist that it is “in development”), we will not be able to give a more informed opinion. Let’s hope they are not getting into a dead end (even more so)…

Microsoft launches a bridge between iOS apps and Windows 10

Via: Building Apps for Windows Blog