Microsoft highlights new ways for developers to use MIDI in their apps

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MIDI, a well-established communication protocol in music production (MIDI stands for Music Instrument Digital Interface) has been natively supported on Windows for a long time. For those of you who use MIDI peripherals or apps that rely on the technical standard on their PC, Microsoft introduced last year along with the release of Windows 10 a new UWP MIDI API.

As of today, this API allow developers to build a broad range of music-focused UWP apps that leverage the protocol, and it also works with all recognized MIDI devices.

Yesterday, Microsoft published a new blog post to share more details about the built-in MIDI support on Windows 10 devices, plus some new capabilities that have been introduced with the Anniversary Update. The most important highlights are the new support for Bluetooth LE MIDI with the UWP MIDI API as well as the introduction of a Win32 wrapper for this same API which makes it accessible to desktop apps developers.

Both new additions will allow developers to build more versatile MIDI apps on the latest version of Windows 10, stay we us as we’ll dive into the details below.

New Bluetooth LE MIDI support in UWP MIDI API

Following the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary update, any app that already leverages the Windows 10 UWP MIDI API will now support Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) MIDI out of the box. “This is an addition which requires no changes to your code, as the interface itself is simply another transparent transport surfaced by the MIDI API,” explains the blog post. For those unfamiliar, Bluetooth LE (Low Energy) MIDI is a MIDI interface that allows any PC, phone or other Windows 10 device to connect to a MIDI music peripheral via Bluetooth. Here is how it works:

This type of MIDI interface uses the Bluetooth radio already in your PC, Phone, IoT device or other Windows 10 device to talk to Bluetooth MIDI peripherals such as keyboards, pedals and controllers. Currently the PC itself can’t be a peripheral, but we’re looking at that for the future. Although there are some great DIN MIDI to Bluetooth LE MIDI and similar adapters out there, no additional hardware is required for Bluetooth LE MIDI in Windows 10 as long as your PC has a Bluetooth LE capable radio available.

Bluetooth LE MIDI support in UWP MIDI API.
Bluetooth LE MIDI support in UWP MIDI API.

The Win32 wrapper for UWP MIDI API

While the new UWP MIDI API is great if you’re looking to develop Windows 10 UWP apps, the company is aware that “the majority of musicians use desktop Win32 DAWs and utilities when making music.” So, to not let developers of desktop apps behind, Microsoft has built a Win32 wrapper for the Windows 10 UWP MIDI API:

This Win32 wrapper makes it simple to use the API just like any flat Win32 API. It surfaces all the capabilities of the Windows 10 UWP MIDI API, and removes the requirement for your Win32 application to be UWP-aware. Additionally, there’s no requirement to use C++/CX or otherwise change your build tools and processes.

Lastly, Microsoft also highlighted the addition of MIDI Helper libraries for Windows Store app developers and PowerShell users, and we invite you to read the full blog post to learn more about the technical details. Let us know in the comments if you think Microsoft is doing valuable work to support the MIDI protocol in Windows 10.

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