At its BUILD developer conference back in May, Microsoft revealed that they had been working on tools that would make it easier to port iOS and Android apps to Windows. Initially only available to developers via an invite program, now the company has released Windows Bridge for iOS (formerly known as Project Islandwood) as an open source project. The source code for an early preview of Windows Bridge for iOS is now available on GitHub under MIT license.
The company believes that Windows Bridge is one of the four toolsets that’ll help developers to make or port apps to the Windows platform. It essentially comprises of four core components – an Objective C compiler, an Objective-C runtime, iOS libraries, and Visual Studio integration. Microsoft says that these tools aren’t quite complete yet, though did mention they’re planning a final version launch by fall.
The tool is a work-in-progress, includes parts of the User Interface Kit library that developers will require to make interfaces. It gets parts of QuartzCore that will cater to animation development along with parts of CoreAudio audio framework. Windows Bridge for iOS supports apps built for x86 and x64 architecture on Windows 10 and Windows 8.1. It is likely to get mobile apps support in the near future, adds Microsoft.
By making Islandwood available to general public, Microsoft is aiming at getting feedback, improvements and suggestions from developers to make the project better before its full version is announced. In addition, the company says it’s providing developers with complete access to the Windows platform, which will aid them to remodel them as per the Windows environment rather than just releasing a sandboxed version.
Meanwhile, the company’s equivalent tool for its Android counterpart, known as Project Astoria or Windows Bridge for Android is expected to release as a public beta sometime this fall. Though a preview of Project Astoria is available right now to select developers via invitation only.
In addition, Microsoft has two more tools up its sleeve to make it easier to develop apps for Windows Store. Scheduled for the next year, ‘Project Centennial’ gives developers an easier way to port current Win32 apps to Windows Store equivalents. While ‘Project Westminster’ on the other hand is already available which allows porting web apps to Windows apps.