What's a Universal Windows App

What’s a Universal Windows App? Should Businesses Invest in Them?

Nowadays, users have option to choose from millions of mobile apps available at various app stores. So businesses find it challenging to make their mobile apps popular and profitable. Most businesses nowadays opt for cross-platform mobile apps to reach out to a larger number of users regardless of their preferred mobile platform. Businesses also explore ways to reduce time to market by developing and testing the mobile apps smoothly and quickly.

In 2014, Microsoft announced an innovative tool that helps programmers to create different versions of the same app for multiple Windows devices by reusing 90% of their app code. The Universal Windows Apps are developed using the Universal Windows Platform (UWP). They run on a variety of devices powered by Windows 10 desktop, Windows 10 mobile or Xbox.

According to MSDN.Microsoft.com, “A Universal Windows app is a Windows experience that is built upon the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which was first introduced in Windows 8 as the Windows Runtime. Universal Windows apps are most often distributed via the Windows Store (but can also be side-loaded), and are most often packaged and distributed using the .APPX packaging format.”

After developing the app, the programmers can simply create an app package, and submit it to the Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. Thus, it becomes easier for developers to create apps that run on any Windows device without writing separate code. The businesses can also reap a number of benefits by investing in Universal Windows Apps.

Why Businesses Should Invest in Universal Windows App Development?

Take Advantage of Window’s Market Share

At present, the worldwide market share of Windows Phone is smaller than the market share of iOS or Android. The market share of Windows Phone is growing gradually and consistently over last two years. But Windows dominates the worldwide desktop operating system market. When a business opts for Universal Windows App, it becomes easier for it to target devices powered by latest version of the mobile operating system. The developers can create the app for different devices reusing the same code base. So it can create the app simultaneously for a variety of devices without deploying additional manpower and resources.

Reach Out to More Users

Most users prefer using applications they are familiar with. That is why; the Word, Excel and PowerPoint apps launched by Microsoft for iOS and Android are hugely popular among users across the world. When an enterprise opts for Universal Windows Apps, it can create the apps for both Windows desktop and Windows mobile without deploying additional resources. As Windows desktop is hugely popular among modern users, they will love to use the mobile version of the apps available for the PC operating system. Thus, the popularity of the desktop apps will contribute towards making the mobile apps profitable.

Flexible Coding Scheme

While developing a Universal Windows App, developers can adopt a new coding scheme to reduce the development time drastically. They have option to choose from a number of programming languages including C++, C#, HTML/JavaScript and DirectX. Likewise, they can use either Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC or Windows App Studio. Windows App Studio enables developers to create a Universal Windows App without being proficient in any of these four programming language. On the other hand, Visual Studio provides a variety of diagnostic tools to customize and optimize the app for different devices.

The developers proficient in any of these programming languages can use Visual Studio, and create the app by selecting Universal project template. The template allows them to choose from three distinct nodes, Windows Store, Windows Phone and shared. Thus, the business can deliver the app within a shorter span of time by allowing programmers to choose the right programming language and integrated development environment (IDE).

Simple Customization Option

Microsoft further allows businesses to create Universal Windows Apps by targeting all Windows 10 devices or specific devices. It makes it easier for developers to customize the user interface for various devices by making minor changes to the code. At the same time, the developers can take advantage of the specific features and functionality offered by each device.

For instance, the programmers can use specialized features like Action Center integration or Windows Phone Cortana speech while creating universal apps for mobile devices. However, they can still take advantage of a number of features common for all devices like file access, notification and device property. Thus, they can reuse 90% of the original code, and add tweaks to the user interface to create universal applications for a wide variety of devices.

Option to Include In-App Purchase

Microsoft allows businesses to launch Universal Windows Apps with in-app purchase feature. The feature enables users to make purchases directly from their mobile devices. Thus, a business can use the Universal Windows App as a tool to generate more download revenue. It can simply launch the demo version of the app for free, and seduce customers to download the premium version to avail special features and content. The option enables businesses to promote the app aggressively, and encourage users to perform in-app purchase.

Multiple Ways to Distribute the App

Microsoft further helps businesses to distribute their Universal Windows Apps without following any complex rules. After creating the app, the developers have to produce app packages. The app packages can be submitted simultaneously to both Windows Store and Windows Phone Store. So a business can make the app available to the end-users instantaneously. Also, it can initiate a single marketing campaign to promote the app by targeting users regardless of their choice of Windows device. Also, Microsoft allows users to purchase the app from any store, and get it installed on other devices for free by using the same Microsoft account. So the users can buy the app once, and use it across multiple devices powered by Windows 10.

While creating Universal Windows Apps, a business can also consider using other cross-platform mobile app development tools provided by Microsoft. These tools enable mobile app developers to use the same code base to create apps for popular mobile platforms like iOS and Android. So the business can choose the right programming language and tools to reuse the Universal Windows App code to create applications by targeting devices powered by non-Windows platforms. Enterprises can use benefits of Xamarin to create apps for iOS, Android and Windows Phone by using a single code base written in C#.

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