“DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS, DEVELOPERS” This is one of the ways Steve Ballmer used to try to rally people to care and build for Windows. Satya Nadella couldn’t be more different. Microsoft is a very different company to what it was a few years ago, and it shows.
Rather than running around on stage, Microsoft now impresses by what it announces. At Build 2015, Microsoft is showing that it truly does care about developers, by announcing that it isn’t going to try to strong arm them to learn a new coding platform, for a platform that, in comparison to iOS and Android, hasn’t seen as much adoption.(as evident by the lack of Windows Phone apps).
Microsoft is fighting back though, and fighting back in the right way. Rather than try to be a lone island, where it tries to encourage people to switch to its platform to use its software, it is extending its apps to iOS and Android. Indeed, the Windows experience on iOS and Android is really rather impressive.
And then, at Build, Microsoft announced something that could make it much, much easier for companies to support Windows 10.
Microsoft is enabling iOS and Android developers to port their apps and games directly to Windows universal apps, with two new software development kits. On the Android side, Microsoft is enabling developers to use Java and C++ code on Windows 10, and for iOS developers they’ll be able to take advantage of their existing Objective C code.
In the enterprise space, we’ve been seeing an increasing number of companies who are choosing to go with Windows as the platform they provide for employees. With many employees bringing iOS and Android into the enterprise over the past few years, many companies have created apps to run on them, to help employees be more productive and efficient. We definitely see Microsoft’s announcement as a positive thing, making it easier to port apps from iOS or Android to Windows 10.
However, this isn’t the first time that a company has tried to create a way to make it easy to port apps to a platform. These tools sound fantastic in theory, but the reality is often far from it. We’ll be very interested to test this out and see whether it truly does deliver on what Microsoft has demonstrated.
We have a large number of clients who have been resistant to create apps for Windows devices, as the market size doesn’t make it justifiable, unless they are creating apps for their workforce. If Microsoft’s announcement helps to change that, adding a relatively minimal cost on top of developing for iOS or Android, it will mean our iOS and Android developers should be able to easily port to Windows 10. It could be a powerful step forward, if it works properly.
Ryan French, head of web development at Mubaloo, said, “I would caveat that you’re probably still only going to get the best experience on Windows by writing a true native app for that platform. That said though, this is definitely something we should investigate further when it comes out, and trial converting some of our existing apps.”