Microsoft to make Desktop bridge more readily available to Win32 developers

Microsoft is looking to entice more Win32 and .NET developers to bring their apps to the Windows 10 Store via its Desktop Converter, aka its 'Centennial' bridge.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft is taking steps meant to get more Win32 and .NET developers to bring their apps to the Windows 10 Store.


On Sept. 14, Microsoft announced it would make its Desktop App Converter (codenamed "Project Centennial") available for download directly from the Windows Store. Microsoft plans to roll out new features and fixes to the Desktop App Converter through the store.

Microsoft also is working with Flexera Software with InstallShield, FireGiant with WiX, and Caphyon with Advanced Installer -- makers of popular Windows Installer technologies -- to allow developers to directly build app packages with their existing desktop apps using the Centennial bridge technology.

There are a few Win32 apps already in the Windows 10 Store that were built with the Desktop Bridge, including Evernote, Arduin IDE, and Double Twist. Microsoft is known to be working on bringing its own Win32 version of its Office suite to the Windows Store via the Centennial bridge technology, as well.

Microsoft officials have said there are 16 million "classic" Win32, .NET, and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) apps in existence. Before Windows 10 Anniversary Update and the associated software development kit was available, Microsoft hadn't allowed developers to make these apps available for purchase/download through the Windows Store.

Right now, the Centennial/Desktop Converter only allows Win32 and .NET apps to be made available for PCs. But officials have said the goal is to make converted apps available from the common store for Xbox One, HoloLens, Windows Phones, and Surface Hubs.

"The Desktop Bridge is step 1 towards this end goal. The bridge allows developers to easily port their Win32 apps and get them on the path to UWP (Universal Windows Platform), at which point, with some adjustments to make the apps full UWPs, would then enable them to function on Surface Hub, HoloLens, and Windows Phone," noted a Microsoft spokesperson.

Centennial is one of four bridge technologies Microsoft officials first announced a couple of years ago at Build. Others include the "Islandwood" iOS bridge, the "Westminster" Web-app bridge, and the Silverlight bridge. Microsoft acknowledged it had dropped its "Astoria" Android bridge technology earlier this year.

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