UWP Demystified: What is it and How Does it Work?

Universal Windows Platform (UWP) has become an essential tool in the IT industry and software development. With over 700 million devices running on Windows 10, this platform is shaping the future of application development. UWP enables developers to create modern, immersive applications that run across Windows devices, whether it is a desktop, a tablet, or any other device. This glossary aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of UWP, its benefits, and the best practices to follow while using it.

“Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is the app platform for Windows 10. I believe that all developers should build for that platform and unify the ecosystem.” – Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft

What is UWP? Definition of Universal Windows Platform

UWP (Universal Windows Platform) is a software development platform developed by Microsoft that allows creating apps that work seamlessly on various Windows devices, such as PCs, tablets, smartphones, and even gaming consoles like Xbox. It is designed to provide a consistent user experience across different form factors and optimize the application’s performance on each device. The primary coding language used for UWP development is C#, with support for other languages like C++, JavaScript, and Visual Basic.

ℹ️ Synonyms: Universal Windows Platform, Windows Runtime, WinRT, Windows Store apps

How it Works

UWP apps are built upon the Windows Runtime (WinRT), a platform-agnostic runtime that enables developers to create applications using different languages and libraries. UWP provides a common app platform, called the UWP Core, which includes the essential UI elements, APIs, and libraries required to build an app that works across different Windows devices. Developers create their apps using common code, which can then adapt to various device screen sizes, resolutions, and input methods (touch, pen, mouse, or game controller). The adaptive nature of UWP allows developers to define how their apps behave on different devices using responsive techniques and conditional code.

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Benefits of using UWP

  • Platform Consistency: UWP apps provide a consistent user experience across various devices, enabling users to switch between devices while maintaining a familiar interface and functionality.
  • Adaptive UI: The adaptive nature of UWP allows designing apps that can adjust to various screen sizes and input methods to deliver an optimal user experience.
  • Scalability: UWP supports the easy addition of new device types or features, allowing developers to keep their apps up-to-date with the latest technologies and enhancements.
  • Increased Security: UWP apps run in a sandbox environment, limiting their access to system resources and reducing the chances of security breaches.
  • One codebase for multiple devices: Using UWP reduces the development time and effort required, as the same code can be used to create apps for different Windows devices, increasing productivity and maintaining code consistency.

UWP use cases

UWP has found its way into various app categories, ranging from productivity tools and entertainment to gaming and educational apps. Some examples of UWP use cases are:

Universal Apps:

Microsoft Office, OneDrive, and other Microsoft core apps are designed using UWP, enhancing workflow and ease of use across multiple devices.

Third-party Apps:

Many developers create universal apps for Windows devices, such as popular social apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and productivity tools like Slack and Trello.

Gaming:

Microsoft’s Xbox Console and Xbox Game Pass have UWP support, enabling gamers to enjoy a seamless gaming experience across devices, including PCs and consoles.

Best Practices

To get the most out of UWP, developers should consider the following best practices: Design apps with a responsive and adaptive UI to cater to different screen sizes and input methods; Focus on performance optimization to ensure smooth and efficient operation on all devices; Leverage the Fluent Design System guidelines provided by Microsoft to create aesthetically appealing and intuitive interfaces; Keep up-to-date with the latest UWP features and advancements to maintain app compatibility and take advantage of the new capabilities; Adhere to Microsoft’s guidelines for app security and privacy to create a safer and more reliable user experience.

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Most recommended books about UWP

For those looking to learn more about UWP and enhance their skills, the following books are highly recommended:

  • Mastering Windows 10 Development with C# and XAML, by Pavel Yosifovich and Kunal Chowdhury
  • UWP Succinctly, by Matteo Pagani
  • Windows 10 Development with XAML and C# 7, by Jesse Liberty and Jon Galloway

Conclusion

UWP is a powerful and efficient platform for developing applications that work seamlessly across multiple Windows devices. By utilizing the adaptive and scalable nature of UWP, developers can create more secure, high-performing apps that meet the evolving needs of users. With UWP’s growing prominence in the IT and software development industries, it is now more important than ever for developers to become well-versed in this platform and its best practices.

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Back in 2013, I founded Echo with the simple business idea: "Connect great tech companies around the globe with the brightest software engineers in Eastern Europe." We've employed hundreds of talents so far and keep going.
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li-url Lou Reverchuk

IT Entrepreneur

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