Microsoft to open source its iOS to Windows 10 app-porting tool

Image Credit: Build 2015

Microsoft is no stranger to iOS development. As Microsoft attempts to transition its priorities back to becoming a 'cross-platform' software company, iOS development appears to be full steam ahead. Even as Microsoft populates the App Store with its wares, the company still has Windows and Windows users in sight. With Windows 10 currently being upgraded in over 190 markets, Microsoft is looking to leverage the popularity of iOS development onto its platform.

Microsoft recently announced that it would be open-sourcing the Windows Bridge for iOS. For a bit of background, the Windows SDK and accompanying tools were released alongside Windows 10 last week. The new tools help developers build and submit Universal Windows apps by leveraging new APIs, adaptive UX, natural user inputs and cloud-based services. During Build 2015 Microsoft had also introduced a series of ‘bridging’ technologies that would allow iOS, Android, Web developers bring their platform specific apps into the Windows Store.

Codename: Project Islandwood, the Windows Bridge for iOS is now being released as an open source project under the MIT license. Microsoft had planned for a fall release this year of the fully developed Bridge but has chosen to open source it today to give developers an early look what the company is building.

Image Credit: WinBeta

"Regardless, we’d love for the interested and curious to look at the bridge, and compare what we’re building with your app’s requirements. And, for the really ambitious, we invite you to help us by contributing to the project, as community contributors — with source code, tests, bug reports, or comments. We welcome any and all participation in building this bridge."

For any interested developers, Principal Program Manager at Microsoft, Salmaan Ahmed has written an in-depth blog post on the Windows Bridge for iOS. Ahmed’s post covers compiler, runtime, IDE integration and other various bits of information regarding iOS apps on Windows 10.

While iOS apps on Windows 10 is big news, Microsoft also has an update for Windows Bridge for Web apps as well as the Windows Bridge for Android. The Bridge for Web apps known as Project Westminster is now live and available for interested developers. Project Astoria, the Bridge for Android is also available in technical preview and by invitation only. Android developers can expect to see a public beta release in the fall, perhaps after the Bridge for iOS is finalized.

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