Continuum could be appealing for developers in that it would eliminate the need to build two different versions of an application, one for the desktop computers and one for the smartphones.
The company is also trying to reduce the amount of work developers need to do to rewrite applications that were built to run on non-Windows platforms.
Perhaps most notably, Microsoft is providing a way, through its Visual Studio integrated development environment, to easily port applications that were originally written for Android and Apple iOS devices to Windows, noted Terry Myerson, Microsoft's executive vice president of operating systems.
For Android, Windows devices will now have an Android and Java-based subsystem that can run native Android applications, Myerson said. Developers can also add in specific Windows system calls to take advantage of a device's native non-Android capabilities as well.
For iOS devices, Visual Studio will be able to compile code written in Objective C, the dominant programming language used for building iOS apps, so that it can also run on Windows. With this capability, Microsoft is eliminating the need for iOS developers to rewrite their applications for Windows. An early user of this feature has been game maker King.com, which developed a version of its Candy Crush Saga game for Windows using the technology.
Developers also can now package their websites as Universal Windows Apps, so they can be downloaded as applications for Windows devices. This will allow site owners to take advantage of Microsoft's messaging service, which could alert users within their Windows 10 devices to website updates.
It would also provide an easy payment mechanism for sites that sell goods and services. Microsoft is expanding its Windows Store payment system, which now uses credit and debit cards, so it can also accept carrier billing, opening app sales to those people around the world who do not have credit cards but do have smartphones.
Applications written for earlier versions of Windows using the .Net framework and the Win32 native API can also be packaged for the Windows Store, Myerson said.
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