July 29 isn't a red-letter day for Microsoft, its partners and Windows users only because it's the day that Windows 10 starts rolling out.
July 29 is also the day that Microsoft will be delivering the final version of its .NET tools for Windows 10 Universal Windows Platform (UWP) application development. (This Windows 10 tooling is currently in preview.) Additionally, July 29 is the date when the new single Windows Store will open its doors for developers to submit their new and/or retooled UWP apps.
When Microsoft architected .NET more than a decade and a half ago, its developers didn't really have target devices in mind, said Habib Heydarian, Principal Group Program Manager, .NET Platform. When the developer team began working on .NET Native close to three years ago, members wanted to create device optimized experiences, he said.
Microsoft followed the model it established with its "Triton" compiler for Windows phone, Heydarian said. "Developers upload their IL (Intermediate Language) and we use the compiler in the cloud" to compile developers' apps and upload them to the new Windows Store, Heydarian explained.
Microsoft relied on .NET Native to compile C# to native machine code that performed like C++ in the Windows 8.1 time frame. The result was Windows Store/Metro Style applications that could start up to 60 percent faster and use 20 percent less memory, officials said at that time.
With Windows 10, Microsoft changed the application model with UWP. The developer team updated .NET Native as part of that effort with work on security, performance, size on disk and tighter integration with the Visual Studio 2015 Integrated Development Environment (IDE), Heydarian said. (Visual Studio 2015 is generally available and downloadable as of this week.)
UWP applications, thanks to .NET Native, will be able to start up roughly 30 percent faster and have a memory footprint of 15 percent less. In order to gain these kinds of benefits, developers will need to retarget their existing Windows Store/Universal apps to Windows 10. (Those building line-of-business apps that will be sideloaded also will get the same kinds of performance benefits via .NET Native, Microsoft officials said.)
Next week, when Windows 10 starts rolling out, existing apps will largely continue to work and be available via the new Store. But the first UWP apps will only begin populating the store starting next week.