Windows 10 Creators Update Will Ship April 11


29 Mar , 2017  

Windows 10 will get its next major update on April 11, Microsoft announced Wednesday. Already in preview for a number of months, the Creators Update contains features aimed at creative professionals as well as the average user, and will roll out in waves to the general public via Windows Update.

What’s In It

The Creators Update is the first version of Windows 10 to include the Windows Mixed Reality interface, which will ultimately allow users to purchase relatively affordable VR headsets and use them with the operating system. While many of the promised headsets have yet to hit the market, developers have already begun tinkering with prototypes provided by Acer and other partner companies.

A new 3D Paint app that comes with the operating system will allow users to create three-dimensional objects.

windows 10 creators update

Microsoft has also included new gaming features, including Game Mode–a setting that optimizes performance for gaming–and Beam streaming.

Users will see improvements to Microsoft Edge, including tabs with image previews and better security. And a new Cortana-guided setup process will give users more control over their privacy settings.

Ars Technica has called the Creators Update “quite a small major update,” and there’s some truth to that.… Read more

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Microsoft Introduces Playable Ads in Windows Apps


16 Mar , 2017  

Microsoft Playable Ads is a new solution for Windows developers looking to draw more engaged users to their applications. The company recently launched Playable Ads, a type of in-app ad that allows potential users to experience a new app before installing it.

Currently in preview, Microsoft Playable Ads allow customers to stream and interact with a new app or game for up to three minutes, without leaving the app they’re currently using.

That’s in contrast to traditional in-app ads, which take users out of their current app to the Windows Store, where they have an opportunity to install the new app. This diagram illustrates the difference between the two types of ads:

microsoft playable ads

Microsoft claims Playable Ads are more likely to attract engaged users than traditional ads: They’re less annoying, since they don’t take the potential customer out of the current app. And they give a more realistic sense of what an app is actually like, ideally increasing the number of people who actually use it after installation, rather than uninstalling it.

Developers subscribed to the preview can create Playable Ads by beginning a new ad campaign from the Windows Dev Center and selecting a call to action option called ‘Try Now.’ The option is available for ads targeting PCs and tablets running Windows 10.… Read more

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Edge Improvements in Windows 10 Creators Update Will Include VR, EBook Support

Paul Ballard

1 Feb , 2017  

Microsoft has released a video detailing a bevy of new features for its Edge Browser in the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update. It’s the latest move in Redmond’s effort to make Edge competitive with Google Chrome and other popular browsers.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Better tab management

Users who like to keep dozens of tabs open at once will appreciate new tab management features that allow them to view thumbnails of all their open tabs. They can also set aside a group of tabs to look at later, reducing clutter without losing access to their past browsing.

WebVR support

Already available on Chrome and Firefox, WebVR uses a combination of VR device and browser to make virtualy reality experiences available on the web. Including it is part of Microsoft’s increased focus on virtual and augmented reality.

Ebook support

Users can now purchase eBooks from the Windows Store and view them on Edge, with Microsoft promising to expand the range of content available.

More, better extensions

Microsoft has made updates to the Edge Extension Toolkit for porting, extensions debugging and interoperability, and is touting a significantly greater number of APIs available to extension developers.

Microsoft Wallet integration

The Payment Request API works with Microsoft Wallet to easily access a customer’s stored payment information and speed up online shopping.… Read more

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Microsoft to Host Windows 10 Creators Update Webcast for Developers

Paul Ballard

27 Jan , 2017  

Want to learn a bit more about what’s coming in the Windows 10 Creators Update? Microsoft is hosting a free, live web event for developers February 8.

The four-event will include several substantive sessions on new developer tools and APIs, followed by a Q&A with Microsoft VP of Windows Developer Platform Kevin Gallo and others from the Windows 10 engineering team.

Here’s what to expect, from the event announcement:

  • See what’s new with Windows developer tooling: UWP tooling, Bash, Developer mode, and more.

  • Learn about the latest XAML advancements and how UWP helps you build Windows apps that are more personal and productive.

  • Hear the developer story behind the recent announcements of Cortana skills and the new Windows mixed-reality headsets.

There’s also a session on everyone’s favorite topic: how to make your app successful in the Windows Store.

RSVP here to register for the event and receive updates as the day draws near.… Read more

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SUSE Linux Can Now Run on Windows 10

Paul Ballard

19 Jan , 2017  

Last year, Microsoft gave a boon to Linux fans everywhere when it announced the Windows Subsystem for Linux. The system allows developers to run Linux command lines natively on Windows 10, accessing all their Windows files, and was originally offered in partnership with Ubuntu.

Now, the range of available Linux versions is increasing, with SUSE modifying the system to work with SUSE Linux as well.

“Running Linux binaries natively on Windows … that sounds awesome indeed. However, it’s quite unfortunate that Microsoft enabled the wrong Linux (that’s my personal opinion) by default within the Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and it is time to change it to the real stuff,” SUSE’s Hannes Kühnemund wrote in a blog post January 12. He provided instructions for the setup, which can be done using either openSUSE Leap 42.2 or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP2.

While Microsoft is not officially supporting this version of Linux, it’s not likely to complain, as developers like choice, and making Windows 10 more developer-friendly was the whole point of adding the Linux option.

In other Linux news, Microsoft is officially supporting Clear Linux OS for Intel Architecture on Azure. It joins other Linux distributions already available including Red Hat, Ubuntu and SUSE.… Read more

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Non-Admin Users Can Now Create Symlinks in Windows 10

Paul Ballard

6 Dec , 2016  

With the Windows 10 Creators Update, Microsoft is making it easier for developers to create symlinks, virtual files that link to actual physical files located somewhere else. The change should speed development in Windows 10, making use of symlinks on the platform as seamless as it already is on Linux and OSX.

As Microsoft notes in a blog post, symlinks are widely used by developers to save disk space and for swifter deployment of projects, and are supported by code repositories like GitHub. While Linux, OSX and other Unix-based systems allow symlinks to be created without restrictions, Windows 10 users have until now needed a command-line console elevated as administrator to make and modify the links.

But starting with the Creators Update, any Windows 10 user with Developer Mode enabled will be able to create symlinks using either the mklink command or the CreateSymbolicLink API. Microsoft’s got some information on how to do this here.

Windows 10 Insiders running Build 14972 can go ahead and preview the feature now.



 … Read more

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Windows 10 ‘Creators Update’ Will Include New 3D, Virtual Reality Features

Paul Ballard

27 Oct , 2016  

Setting its sights squarely on the creative professionals who have typically been drawn to Apple products, Microsoft has dubbed its upcoming Windows 10 release the ‘Creators Update‘ and packed it with 3D and VR features.

Announced at a Microsoft press event in New York on Wednesday, the next major update to Windows 10 will be released sometime in Spring 2017. Among the new elements:

  • An end-to-end 3D workflow. The current version of Windows 10 includes a 3D output for printing, but the Creators Update will also allow users to create 3D content, Thurrott reports. Microsoft demoed 3D versions of its Paint and PowerPoint software and said 3D capabilities will be coming to other popular applications in the next year.
  • Affordable virtual reality. Partners like Dell and HP are set to release VR headsets compatible with the Creators Update within the next few months–some priced as low as $300.
  • Improved messaging and file sharing. Users will be able to share files with important contacts simply by dragging them to a contact’s icon in the task bar. And contacts can also send ‘shoulder taps’–basically fun, animated emojis that distract you from your work.
  • Game broadcasting and tournaments.
Read more

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A More Secure Microsoft Edge, and Other News from Ignite 2016

Paul Ballard

27 Sep , 2016  

In the wake of highly publicized cyberattacks on big companies, Microsoft on Monday rolled out new security features for its Edge browser. Windows Defender Application Guard, developed for the company’s enterprise customers, will use Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization technology to isolate potential security threats.

“The threat landscape has changed significantly in recent years,” reads a Microsoft blog post on the new security package, announced at the company’s Ignite conference for IT professionals. “Today, over 90% of attacks use a hyperlink to initiate the attack to steal credentials, install malware, or exploit vulnerabilities.”

Application Guard kicks in when a user visits a site not trusted or recognized by the network administrator, creating a separate copy of Windows 10 that blocks access to sensitive resources including memory, local storage and other installed applications.

The new feature was just one of a number of announcements in the first two days of the Atlanta conference. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced a partnership with Adobe that will bring together Redmond’s Azure cloud infrastructure with the former’s marketing software.

Nadella also spoke in detail about Microsoft’s artificial intelligence projects, which now rely on specialized, reprogrammable chips—known as field programmable gate arrays, or FPGAs—designed in-house. He demonstrated how the lightning-fast processing capacity of the chips can translate 3 billion words in less than a tenth of a second.… Read more

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Windows 10 Anniversary Update: What’s In It For Developers

Paul Ballard

2 Aug , 2016  

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update became available to the general consumer today. Wondering why you should care? Microsoft has a rundown of the changes relevant to developers on its dev blog.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update SDK has been released as part of Visual Studio 2015 Update 3. Here’s what’s in it:

  1. Windows Ink support. Useful for apps that involve sketching or animation, the new Windows Ink Toolbar will allow app users to choose from various drawing modes, use rulers and create stencils.
  2. New Cortana APIs. Besides adding voice control to apps, Cortana Actions can boost engagement with your app by suggesting it to users when they’re involved in relevant activities. For example, if your app orders food, Cortana can suggest to a user when she sees that they’ve scheduled a meeting during a meal time.

  3. Edge improvements. Extensions are now supported in Edge, as well as Microsoft Hello—so your web users can log in using facial recognition.

Microsoft also officially announced that desktop apps converted with Microsoft’s Desktop Bridge (Project Centennial) can be submitted to the Windows Store, as we previously reported. Click here to submit your desktop app.

Universal Windows Platform apps created with Windows 10 will now work on HoloLens and Xbox as well as PC and mobile.… Read more

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Project Centennial Apps Will Soon Be Available in Windows Store

Paul Ballard

28 Jul , 2016  

With the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, desktop apps converted with Microsoft’s Project Centennial bridge tools will now be available to purchase in Windows Store, reports WindowsCentral.

That means developers with existing Win32 apps can market them via the store without turning them into true Universal Windows Platform apps that function on all Windows 10 platforms.

Among the companies going this route is Evernote, which recently announced that its updated Windows 10 PC app will be available in the Store August 2. Windows Mobile users will be left with the current version.

Electron’s Windows Store Guide also mentions that developers running Windows 10 Anniversary Update can compile their Electron apps into .appx packages that will have some of the capabilities of UWP apps and can be distributed via the store.

Apps marketed through the Windows Store can be automatically updated there, whether or not they are UWP apps.

With Project Centennial, developers run their desktop apps through a Microsoft-built Desktop App Converter. Once converted, the app can be easily installed via the universal Windows packaging model. Developers can use UWP API calls to add functionality, such as support for Live Tiles and notifications, and use an App Container process to update the UI for better compatibility.… Read more

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