How to port your PC software to the Windows Store

There’s a big gain to the usage of the Windows Store for software program distribution of your applications in the Universal Windows Platform (UWP).Appx layout. For one aspect, it handles updates automatically, so that you don’t need to write your very own update code. It additionally helps differential updates, minimizing code downloads. But the Windows Store isn’t a Trojan horse to offer Microsoft a cut of all of your income. Even in Windows 10 S, you could distribute.Appx installers to Windows 10 users without delay (aka “sideloading”) or via Microsoft’s Intune management tools—whether or not for industrial or internal distribution.

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However, this change doesn’t suggest traditional (Win32) computing device applications can’t run on Windows 10 S, nor does it suggest you should rebuild them as UWP apps. Microsoft’s Windows Desktop Bridge tools can take current your code and wrap it for Windows Store distribution to Windows 10 PCs (such as those going for walks the Windows Store-handiest Windows 10 S).

Originally unveiled as Project Centennial, one in all a series of bridges between different structures and Windows 10’s UWP APIs, the Desktop Bridge is a set of tools that take current Win32 computing device applications and prepare them for distribution inside the Windows Store. The system may be as easy as wrapping code within the Windows Store installer (as a .Appx file) through the Desktop Converter or as complicated as the usage of UWP APIs on your code as part of a platform migration.

The Desktop Bridge method does make matters extra complex, but you shouldn’t see that as an awful factor. You get higher, comfier apps as end result

Beyond making sure that only digitally signed code may be mounted on a Windows 10 S PC, Windows 10’s Windows Store installations take advantage of the modern-day Windows releases’ progressed software security. Instead of giving your code complete get entry to the gadget, UWP apps keep software state become independent from device nation, with a virtualized registry and a sandbox. It’s a completely exceptional way of operating, a long manner from the unfastened-ranging get right of entry to historically given to laptop applications.

Desktop Converter is the first step

Using the Desktop App Converter is going an extended way to bridging the security gap, although no longer all of the way. That’s why you, in the end, need to refactor your packages as UWP ones. But inside the meantime, you could use Desktop Bridge’s numerous equipment to make the flow in stages.

Conversion begins by downloading the Desktop App Converter. Although not strictly a converter (for one thing, it doesn’t change your code), it does manage a maximum of the fundamental steps needed to put together code for the Windows Store. From an existing setup report, it generates all the perfect handlers and report mappings, in addition to registering COM servers and generating the certificates needed to allow a packaged app to install and run. It also handles validation tests, indicating what adjustments you’ll want to ensure an app can run inside the more constrained Windows Store app surroundings.

Other alternatives guide creation of.Appx files, that’s critical if you use Xcopy in place of an installer, and constructing Windows Store installers from inside Visual Studio. If you’ve still were given access to the source code it’s worth taking this path, as it steps one in converting an app from Win32 to UWP. (In real code conversion, you’re no longer constrained to Microsoft’s gear, due to the fact there now numerous 1/3-party installers that work with the Desktop App Converter.)

There’s extra to the Desktop Bridge than presenting a Windows Store wrapper for older apps. It has tools to name UWP APIs out of your present Win32 code in Visual Studio, in addition to adding aid for Live Tiles and other Windows 10 capabilities. When you’re prepared to move beyond the Desktop App Converter section, you could use Visual Studio to begin migrating code to the Windows 10 platform, in the end, handing over a full UWP Windows Store app.

In many cases, you gained even need to write down the code to feature Windows 10 integration. Instead, you may use XML configuration documents to manipulate how the Desktop Bridge exposes features. These XML configuration files can outline file associations, set up firewall rules, and installation software startup. Other alternatives cope with deeper integration with Windows 10’s File Explorer, along with supplying embedded record reviews.

But there are a few vast obstacles to extending your current Win32 apps with the UWP APIs: You ain’t be able to take gain of Windows 10’s authentication features or use the integrated productivity APIs. In the exercise, this shouldn’t be an excessive amount of a trouble, due to the fact maximum older code is standalone and so doesn’t want get entry to those features.

Moving absolutely to UWP isn’t practical for plenty existing packages, so the Desktop Bridge presents an inexpensive period in-between answer. You get access to many Windows 10 features without having to put in writing new code, and on the identical time, you get a course to an eventual update of your app. It’s now not perfect, however, it’s excellent enough to take gain of the Windows Store and Windows 10 S.