Good Evolution Coming in Microsoft Apps?

This article (title: Microsoft wants to close the UWP, Win32 divide with Windows Apps) on ZDNet from Mary Jo Foley is really good news (here is the link):

In summary, the article tells us that Microsoft is fixing what is a big mess right now regarding various and competing app platforms on Windows 10, which often ends up leading to real issues for everyday users.

The problem is that there are currently different application platforms within Windows 10, and each has it’s own set of features that it allows. The two that are most impactful are Win32 (think normal Office desktop apps) and UWP (think Microsoft Store app, usually used for a tablet).

OneNote Example

Perhaps the best example of the problem is the OneNote debacle from last year. I wrote about that here, but here’s a short summary:

OneNote was originally developed as a normal Win32 Office App, just like Word, Excel, and so on, but then it got a bit lost.

What happened was, with Windows 8 and then Windows 10 tablet, a UWP tablet version (Windows Store version) of OneNote was developed that had tons of inking capability (inking is something limited on the Win 32 platform). I and others liked the app—it is a nice inking app. But overall, I prefer the 10x features in the Win32 app.

Well, I don’t know if it was a political battle within Microsoft, or a cost-cutting action, but last year Microsoft decided to cease development of the Win32 app, and only move forward with the UWP version, leaving a lot of users who depend on the extra features in the Win32 app stranded. A predictable outcry and general gnashing of teeth resulted—with no resolution in sight.

So, this new strategy that Mary Joe Foley is highlighting is much needed—it promises to merge all the development platforms together. Let’s hope it arrives in time to save OneNote Win32.


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