Microsoft announced that it has completed work on its Desktop Bridge, which is a software utility designed to port applications from older versions of Windows to Windows 10. Although the Desktop Bridge has several important features, it may negatively impact software performance overall.
The Desktop Bridge And UWP
Although porting software to Windows 10’s Universal Windows Platform (UWP) is a key feature of the Desktop Bridge, it actually contains several other tools to aid software developers. For the first time, you will be able to use the Linux Bash command on Windows. Software developers will also be able to share code with each other using a tool called Xamarin.
Of course, the real star of the show is Project Centennial, which is the desktop app converter. It can analyze older Windows applications and port them to the UWP. The tool also allows you to configure the software to work with Cortana, Windows Live tiles, and other Windows 10 features.
“Working in parallel with Microsoft, we are making it easy for our customers to transition their existing InstallShield MSI projects to build Universal Windows Platform and Windows Server App packages. InstallShield is the only product that enables developers to test their apps for compatibility with the Desktop Bridge and WSAs – saving countless hours of time, effort and investigative work,” said Maureen Polte, Vice President of Product Management at Flexera Software.
Once the software has been ported to the UWP, it can be uploaded to the Windows Store and used on essentially any device that supports the UWP. This technically includes the Xbox One, but it is likely that developers will need to make additional changes to their software in order to be fully functional on the game console.
Although the new tool set will be helpful to software developers, this won’t change much if you don’t dabble in code. Microsoft announced that several programs including Evernote, Arduino IDE, doubleTwist, PhotoScape, Magix Movie Edit Pro, Virtual Robotics Kit, Relab, SQL Pro, Voya Media, Predicted Desire, and korAccount have been ported using the Desktop Bridge and will launch with official Windows 10 support within the next few days.
Most of these programs already work fine on Windows 10, though. We briefly tested PhotoScape, Magix Movie Edit Pro, Voya Media, and KorAccount using the Windows 7/8.1 installation packages and were able to get all of them except Voya Media to work without issue on a Windows 10 notebook. Some programs like Voya Media have now been ported with the Desktop Bridge, but it is unlikely you will notice many new apps on PCs running Windows 10.
Should We Really Rely On The UWP?
Although it is always helpful to have an abundance of applications available, and the Desktop Bridge will certainly be an asset to software developers and end-users alike, we should keep in mind that use of this software could negatively impact our computing experience in some cases..
Software that is carefully optimized for a single device is essentially always able to operate more efficiently. When software is not optimized well, it can cripple performance. Anyone that has purchased a new PC game in the last several years knows this all too well.
By using a semi-automated process to port software to a platform designed for multiple hardware configurations, there is a significant likelihood that we’ll see instances of degraded software performance. It is hard to judge how much this may affect performance, but it is still something to bear in mind as the UWP evolves.
The Desktop Bridge is available now for Microsoft’s Windows 10 from the Windows Store.