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Microsoft tempting web apps with Project Westminster

Posted By: Jason

The Windows Store on both desktops and mobiles is a pretty barren place compared to the iOS and Android equivalents. However, as Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile near launch, Microsoft is making it easier for mobile app developers to port their web apps to the app store via a range of services.

Currently in the news is Project Westminster, which helps developers publish their responsive websites as an app on the Windows Store, with the minimum of recoding. The Universal Windows Platform means these apps will play on both desktop, mobile, tablets and even Xbox One, creating a larger audience for them, which may encourage some developers.

Using server-side Javascript, the new web app containers can call Windows 10 APIs. There's a Windows developer blog post on the feature here (http://blogs.windows.com/msedgedev/2015/07/07/publish-responsive-websites-to-the-windows-store-with-project-westminster/).

With the Windows environment in need of new and exciting apps, Microsoft's latest version of Visual Studio is designed to make "code once, port many" apps easier to create. Windows 10 will be free to most upgraders for the first year, and if future mobile devices sell in numbers, then the Windows Store could become a more viable place for businesses to promote their apps.

By making it easier to port apps across platforms or create new multi-platform apps, there is less of a roadblock to them appearing on Windows. With the OS still dominant in most businesses, having an app on their store could well prove a useful marketing or sales tool.

In a related issue, Microsoft's new Edge browser has dumped the company's proprietary technologies like SilverLight and ActiveX in favour of HTML 5.0, making it easier for sites to perform more efficiently with less special coding needed for Windows-based browsers. Another example is the Internet of Things technology being deeply embedded in Windows 10 via its participation in the AllJoyn project, and you can expect more IoT apps to support Windows too. These examples show Microsoft seeing sense and playing with accepted standards, rather than trying to force its own on the market.

If Microsoft is as open and transparent about web design and mobile app development london in the future, then it stands a greater chance of getting more new, innovative and attention-grabbing apps on its store, to compete with the dominant Android and iOS markets.