Microsoft releases WinJS 4.0 Preview for Windows App and web development

Preview release of WinJS 4.0 expands 'Windows App' development beyond Windows

With WinHEC behind it, and a mountain of information out in the atmosphere, Microsoft seems set to push the app development train full steam ahead. Earlier this week preview tools for developers were finally released for Windows 10. Developers were also given more details on how Windows Apps will work across devices. Most importantly, Microsoft has finally nailed down a sensible naming convention for their apps, (because the name of apps in the store is what held developers back. Wink. Wink). 

Slowly but surely we’re are starting to see some movement on Microsoft’s promised future for Windows. In the last few weeks, the company has been on a tear, dotting their “i’s”  and crossing their “t’s”. That trend continues with the Windows team releasing a preview of (WinJS 4.0). Eager JavaScript developers can get their hands on the preview through GitHub and Microsoft is encouraging those with any issues or feedback to file their request through GitHub as well.

Preview release of WinJS 4.0 expands 'Windows App' development beyond Windows

In this preview, Microsoft is offering the Windows Library for JavaScript 4.0. In the previous release of WinJS 3.0, the Windows team focused on browser compatibility. However in this preview, the team would like to set the framework for making Windows apps, as well as apps for the web. Much of the preview was a result of the community feedback the Windows team received in critical areas like:

  • Enabling universal experiences – Your customers desire apps that work wherever they do: phones, tablets, PCs, or even the living room TV. Device form factors are constantly evolving to meet people’s needs: users now plug keyboards into tablets to get work done, connect phones to televisions to sit back and browse content, and so forth. WinJS controls make it easy to create responsive apps that not only work across all screen sizes, but with all input methods as well. WinJS controls help you tailor your experience to each device and form factor, so you can focus on making your app great.
  • •Playing well with others – WinJS is designed for interoperability. We believe you should use WinJS and your favorite JS frameworks together, whatever they may be. The AngularJS – WinJS wrapper we now provide allows you to use WinJS seamlessly in your Angular projects.
  • •Industrial strength ListView- WinJS bolsters your app development with best-in-class controls that don’t cut corners. Our ListView implementation has native performance and supports an extensive set of app scenarios. We’ve continued to add value with new  features like striping, headers and footers, and improved selection.

Preview release of WinJS 4.0 expands 'Windows App' development beyond Windows

The Windows team goes into great length in their blog post on each of the improvements and features that can be played with in the preview. Some noteworthy adjustments are new Universal Controls. The Windows team have added key controls that shortcut the traditional developing work for adaptive app resizing based on form factor or screen size. They claim this should cut down the work time as well as help app developers deliver a more compelling ‘universal’ experience.

Preview release of WinJS 4.0 expands 'Windows App' development beyond Windows

Another is the WinJS flexibility, in regards to SplitView, Toolbar and Listviews in apps. The new WinJS SplitView control enables you to achieve this app behavior and style quickly. “The flexibility and features of this control allow your app to adapt its configuration quickly to the current size of the screen, supporting phones, tablets, PCs, and everything in between, ” says the Windows team.

Preview release of WinJS 4.0 expands 'Windows App' development beyond Windows

Microsoft is looking to have a full-featured release of WinJS 4.0 out later this year. The Windows team is looking forward to having an open source JavaScript library that benefits web developers on any platform.

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