Burning Bridges

Windows Android

Microsoft wanted to make it easy for mobile app developers to port their software over to Windows 10 without having to rewrite their code, so it created a series of so-called bridges. They’re essentially toolkits designed to do the dirty work for developers. There was one for porting Android apps to Windows 10 called Project Astoria, but it’s now appropriate to refer to it in the past tense because Microsoft has burned that bridge.

The other bridges Microsoft got around to building was one for porting iOS apps over to Windows 10 and another for web apps. There are also plans to build a bridge for Win32 apps sometimes this year. Those are unaffected by the announcement, though the iOS bridge may see an uptick in activity.

“We received a lot of feedback that having two  bridge technologies to bring code from mobile operating systems to Windows was unnecessary, and the choice between them could be confusing. We have carefully considered this feedback and decided that we would focus our efforts on the Windows bridge for iOS and make it the single bridge option for bringing mobile code to all Windows 10 devices, including Xbox and PCs,” Microsoft explained in a blog post. “For those developers who spent time investigating the Android Bridge, we strongly encourage you to take a look at the iOS Bridge and Xamarin as great solutions.”

News of the change comes a day after Microsoft inked an agreement to acquire Xamarin, a cross-platform mobile development software vendor. Xamarin is separate from Microsoft’s bridge strategy, though the goal is the same—to get mobile apps from other platforms ported to Windows 10.

“UWP developers can not only reach all Windows 10 devices, but with Xamarin, they can now use a large percentage of their C# code to deliver a fully native mobile app experience for iOS and Android,” Microsoft added.

It will be interesting to see how Microsoft plans to fully utilize Xamarin alongside its remaining bridges. That’s something the company will talk more about during its Build conference at the end of next month.

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