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Microsoft Packs New Tools with Windows 10 Creators Update SDK Release

As Microsoft gets set to roll out the next major release of Windows 10, the company is also priming the pump for developers to take advantage of the latest new features coming to the OS -- 3D, mixed reality, improved natural language interaction with Cortana, enhanced inking capabilities and support for the new Surface Dial -- with this week's release of a new SDK.

Microsoft is set to start rolling out the latest Windows 10 upgrade, called "creators update, this coming Tuesday. It's the second major upgrade to Windows 10 since Microsoft launched it nearly two years ago. The first update came last summer with the release of the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition and offered better stability and improved security. There are noteworthy additional security improvements in the creators update as well but Microsoft has a big stake in the new usability features to make it more attractive to end users.

The new creators update SDK, which was made available for download on Wednesday, includes a broad set of tooling for developers. In addition to the SDK, the download includes Visual Studio 2017 UWP Tooling. The Windows Store is also accepting applications built around the Windows 10 creators update. "We expect users to once again move rapidly to the latest and best version of Windows," said Kevin Gallo, Microsoft's corporate VP for Windows developers, in a post announcing the release of the creators update SDK. "For developers, this is the time to get ready for the next wave."

The SDK lets developers to create a new Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app or build one with existing app code on Windows. Microsoft posted a list of new and improved features for developers as well as a list of new namespaces added to the Windows SDK.

A laundry list of new capabilities in the new  SDK outlined by Microsoft includes:

  • Desktop to UWP Bridge, to help convert existing applications to UWP apps and integrating them with other apps
  • Ink improvements that offer greater inputs and ink analysis, which analyzes ink stroke input for Windows Ink apps, such as shape detection and recognition, handwriting recognition and layout interpretation and classification. It also includes a new Ink toolbar, support for Input injection to programmatically generate and automate input from a variety of devices and the ability for developers to specify inking apps via the new Ink Workspace.
  • Windows IoT Core updates with support for Cortana, a spruced-up IoT Dashboard, Azure Device Management and Device Guard for IoT, among other new updates.
  • UWP App Streaming Install, which lets users launch an app before it's fully installed for faster access.

Gallo pointed to other features in the SDK including APIs for the Surface Dial, "significant Bluetooth improvements with Bluetooth LE GATT Server, peripheral mode for easier discovery of Windows Devices and support for loosely coupled Bluetooth devices (those low energy devices that do not have to be explicitly paired)" and he pointed to the recently released Android SDK for Project Rome.

While Microsoft has emphasized that the creators update will allow users to generate new 3D images, the support for mixed reality headsets priced in the $300 range will test user interest in holograms. Microsoft also recently rolled out its Mixed Reality toolkit. Little is known about the release dates and other specifics around the various headsets in the pipeline, though Mashable's Lance Ulanoff yesterday was the first to publish a review of the forthcoming Acer Mixed Reality Headset.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 04/07/2017 at 12:54 PM


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