iOS and Android developers will be able to port their apps and games directly to Windows universal apps, and Microsoft is enabling this with two new software development kits. On the Android side, Microsoft is enabling developers to use Java and C++ code on Windows 10, and for iOS developers they’ll be able to take advantage of their existing Objective C code.
To make this possible, Myers said, Windows phones “will include an Android subsystem” meant to play nice with the Java and C++ code developers have already crafted run on a rival’s operating system. Turns out, that’s not the only dev-friendly coup we’re seeing today: iOS developers can compile their Objective C code right from Microsoft’s Visual Studio, and turn it into a full-fledged Windows 10 app.
Microsoft has been testing its new tools with some key developers like King, the maker of Candy Crush Saga, to get games ported across to Windows. Candy Crush Saga as it exists today on Windows Phone has been converted from iOS code using Microsoft’s tools without many modifications. Microsoft is also revealing ways for websites and Windows desktop apps to make their way over to Windows universal apps. Microsoft has created a way for websites to run inside a Windows universal app, and use system services like notifications and in-app purchases.
Microsoft is referring to these four new SDKs as bridges or ramps to get developers interested in Windows 10. It’s a key moment for the company to really win back developers and prove that Windows is still relevant in a world that continues to be dominated by Android and iOS.
This is just the beginning, and Windows universal apps, while promising, still face a rocky and uncertain future.