Windows Bridge for iOS is Now Available for Public Review as Open Source

By CIOReview | Thursday, August 20, 2015
778
1275
281

FREMONT, CA: Microsoft, in its attempt to bring Windows to the center stage, announces at the Build Developer Conference, the release of tools that facilitates the port of iOS and Android apps to Windows. The Android version named ‘Windows Bridge for Android’ is in its private beta stage whereas the iOS version named ‘Windows Bridge for iOS’ is in the public preview stage.

Reflecting on this venture of Microsoft, Frederic Lardinois in an article for TechCrunch.com, reports that all the promised features are yet to be realized and some are still prevailing in their buggy phase. The code for Windows Bridge for iOS is currently made available on GitHub as an open source code under MIT License.

The developers are allowed to port the apps to both Windows 8.1 as well as Windows 10 versions. Lardinois also mentions that Microsoft currently targets the X86 and X64 architectures, and concentrates on ARM and mobile platforms in the future.

The general idea behind the project is to “enable iOS developers to create Windows apps using [their] existing Objective-C code and skills,” points out Salmaan Ahmed, Product Manager, Windows Bridge for iOS team. “Rather, our goal is to help you write great Windows apps that use as much of your existing code and knowledge as possible.”

In order to achieve the reusability, the bridge makes use of the four components:

Objective-C compiler: Visual Studio incorporates a compiler that compiles Objective-C code into a native Windows app. The early footprints are provided via GitHub. The ultimate compiler will be shipped as part of Visual Studio 2015 update.

Objective-C runtime: Language features like message dispatch, delegation and automatic reference counting are provided.

iOS API headers and libraries: Broad range of iOS API compatibility is provided upon Objective-C base APIs. The users are free to contribute and comment on unsupported APIs or if an API requires repair

Integration with Visual Studio: A tool that imports Xcode project and integrates into Windows developer tools and SDK.

This venture of Microsoft also provides freedom to the developers to use all the available Windows APIs from the Objective-C code and that the iOS and Windows APIs should be able to work in harmony. The ability to reuse the code has made many developers to take a look back at Windows.