back to article Project Reunion: Microsoft's attempt to tear down all those barriers it's built for Windows developers over the years

As its virtual Build conference gets underway, Microsoft has unveiled Project Reunion, described as "our vision for unifying and evolving the Windows developer platform to make it easier to build great apps that work across all the Windows 10 versions." The history behind corporate veep for Developer Platform Kevin Gallo's …

  1. Notas Badoff

    Where there's a 'will', there's a "when?"

    I count the word 'will' used 10 times in the fine article. Which year will this Christmas present be wrapped up and under the tree? And not just as an empty box. I haven't been motivated by Microsoft's promises in... decades now.

  2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Borkzilla looking for a new foot to shoot

    Honestly, Borkzilla is responsible for every single restriction to its various OSes. Now it is trying to pretend that it cares about some amount of backward compatibility. Seems to me that that means that Windows 10 is not dominating the market like Borkzilla would like it to.

    Well guess what ? The market is defined by businesses that have developed procedures to solve their problems, not yours. If you don't tow the line, they won't budge until you do.

    Being the biggest player in the market also means you have the biggest forces to deal with.

    Good luck.

    1. IneptAdept

      Re: Borkzilla looking for a new foot to shoot

      Ooooo you mean that backwards compatibility that still allows me to run apps from 20 years ago

      Yeah no one ever bought windows for the backwards compatibility

    2. Circadian
      Windows

      Re: Borkzilla looking for a new foot to shoot

      I wonder what effect this will have on wine’s ability to run Win “apps”? Does it make the move to Linux while maintaining necessary Win-based programs harder?

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: Borkzilla looking for a new foot to shoot

      Micros~1.UWP (aka 2D FLATTY FLATSO McFLATFACE) is being sustained with an attempted 'breath of life' because of "No, really, we'll get it RIGHT this time!" kinds of thinking.

      And, if possible, they'll use an illegitimately-spawned abomination-creation 'umbrella lib' (like Micros~1.net) to try and ENFORCE migration to it until we developers all nod our heads in the 'yes' direction in time with our overlords' instructions.

      And "more universal acceptance" of UWP-ness would KILL Windows 7 for good, in their eyes. You KNOW they want to do this.

      I guess the history of Silverlight will repeat itself, but with a different name.

      Many people have suggested that Micros~1 wants to ELIMINATE the Win32 API. A token attempt at some kind of "overlapping library" doesn't convince me otherwise...

      1. J27 Silver badge

        Re: Borkzilla looking for a new foot to shoot

        Win32 sucks, devs don't use it unless forced. Almost everyone is just writing to libraries that sit on top of Win32. That's where Microsoft's focus is, if devs can use the new UI without having to throw out existing libraries, they're more likely to use that shiny new UI. Maybe Microsoft will finally port Office over... maybe.

        P.S. I don't think Microsoft cares about Windows 7 anymore, usage is down to the level where they can just say "we told you to upgrade" and walk off if people complain about anything.

  3. IGnatius T Foobar !

    Again?

    Perhaps one reason Win32 and its associated UI toolkits have persisted so long is because Micros~1 doesn't change it every couple of years like they do with all of this modern/metro/whatever tat. WinUI 3 may become obsolete in a couple of years, but Win32 and its UI toolkits will still keep working. After all, the vast installed base and library of Win32/Win64 applications running on Intel/AMD x86 is the primary value proposition for Windows.

    And anyway, if you're going to build a UI using an abstraction layer, why stop at Win32 and "modern"? Why not choose one that can also build on Mac and Linux?

    Simplify.

    1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

      Re: Again?

      And anyway, if you're going to build a UI using an abstraction layer, why stop at Win32 and "modern"? Why not choose one that can also build on Mac and Linux?

      Just as long as you wouldn't be forced to use the fugly-flat look for your Linux apps. I want my applications to blend in with everything else on my Cinnamon desktop, and use the system controls I've chosen.

  4. cb7

    The Metro/modern/manky UI sucks big time.

    In an attempt to ape simpleton iOS, MS have taken for granted, the eminently usable UI of Windows past and lost 90% of what made it slick and usable.

    Abandoned and lost are logical keyboard shortcuts, mouse shortcuts, vibrant and distinctive colour schemes and layouts.

    Instead we have bland plain window backdrops with no borders and no colour. Open up a handful of randomly overlapping windows, and it becomes impossible to tell where one starts and the other ends.

    Even the OS itself has no impressive, consistently clear style guide any more. What hope is there for "apps"?

    Instead of building on the efficient and usable UI it had before, we see half baked redesigns of a bad idea again and again with apparently no usability testing whatsoever.

    Whoever's in charge of this mightily clusterfluck should have their atoms strung out in a long thin line and sent towards the nearest black hole.

    1. NetBlackOps Bronze badge

      Don't need to do it beforehand, spaghettification will do the job for you very nicely before arrival.

    2. Dave K Silver badge

      Could not agree more.

      Although W10 has numerous issues such as the updates, telemetry etc, the primary reason I don't like it is because the UI is a complete and utter mess.

      There's a complete lack of consistency due to "modern" bits and "classic" bits all mis-mashed together, plus the modern bits look flat, bland and utterly lifeless. With Windows 7, the interface looked pretty polished and it looked as if designers actually cared how it looked and how functional it was. You don't get that feeling with Windows 10, there's no "wow" factor at all, it just looks shit to be completely frank.

  5. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    So let me get this straight

    They've just done it yet again, thrown out Xamarin Forms (sucks if you ever used that), and come out with a new thing. And this is supposed to be a good?

    We are getting to the point of a new framework every 2 years.

    Just stick with Win32 and we'll see who blinks first, the huge mass of Win32 developers or MS trying to bork Win32 in Windows 10.

    1. Zippy´s Sausage Factory

      Re: So let me get this straight

      They really do seem to be wanting to alienate all their customers. I kind of imagine Micros~1 product development discussions going like this:

      "Are people buying this?"

      "Yes"

      "Do they... like it?"

      "They... seem to."

      "Then burn it down! Build something new and incomprehensible in its place! Burn it all down!"

    2. RyokuMas Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: So let me get this straight

      "We are getting to the point of a new framework every 2 years.

      So Microsoft are trying to be Javascript now? Hate to break it to them but they need to get that two years down to about two months...

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So let me get this straight

      Agree 100%

      Microsoft have announced Windows 10X, and most coverage seems to be about dual screen devices.

      It's more than that.

      https://www.thurrott.com/windows/windows-10/229811/microsoft-shares-more-details-on-windows-10x

      "Windows 10X will also allow users to run Win32 apps through a new Win32 container in the operating system. Windows 10X’s Win32 container will allow for improved security, too, while allowing for the usual integration with the OS. Users will be able to download apps from the Microsoft Store, or a website, just like they would normally. Win32 app developers will not have to make any modifications to their apps to make them work well within the Win32 container in Windows 10X."

      Two sides to this;

      - what will this wreck? will it succeed? will it last?

      and

      - does the container + store bit mean you get these benefits of newer framework|runtimes, but can continue to use WIN32?

      Second one sounds good. Interesting (read: trepidation) times ahead...

    4. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: So let me get this straight

      "Just stick with Win32 and we'll see who blinks first, the huge mass of Win32 developers or MS trying to bork Win32 in Windows 10."

      And make sure the version info (and/or manifest) and DLL resolution lets you run on 7, or even XP!!!

      ['GetProcAddress()' works for anything 'new' you might need]

      it's one reason I still use DevStudio 2010 for any winders-stuff... and do NOT allow any '.NOT' bindings for my C/C++ applications! (And static linking for runtime and class libs)

      related, this: https://www.theregister.co.uk/2020/05/19/wsl2_gui_linux_apps_windows/

      Maybe we should JUST develop Linux applications from now on... ?

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: So let me get this straight

        Non-static bindings may be a PITA to manage at first sight, but with a standard template library to manage them they work fine. And what's more, rather than an application just arbitrarily failing to load with no error messages or suggestions whatsoever as to what the problem is, it's possible to log and to present the user with a useful and meaningful error message as to why the application is failing to even load.

        Alternatively embrace "modern" development, do no error handling whatsoever, leave expected errors to generic exception handlers and provide no logging or error messages at all when something goes wrong. Because it will.

  6. RyokuMas Silver badge
    Joke

    Breaking into song...

    "... or MAUI..."

    I can see what's happening here...

    ... "face-to-face with greatness" I find questionable, but it's true: I don't know how I feel about this...

    1. Psmo

      Re: Breaking into song...

      Dammit stuck in my head now.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone says "vision" I think "mirage"

    Someone says "vision" I think "mirage"

  8. DrBed
    Holmes

    Groundhog Day, all over again

    "The company has been trying for years to make the split more tolerable" ...and still struggling.

    That's all what you'll find out here. Move along, nothing new here.

  9. EnviableOne Silver badge

    Obligatory platform proliferation XKCD

    https://xkcd.com/927/

  10. jwo

    It's not even funny

    The message sounds rather implausible, and there is less verve behind it than with the last projects, which were simply bogged down.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UWP was broken from the start

    There are just too many desktop application (not the GUI part) that rely on the Win32 API and never went to UWP (SAP, DAW's, CAD programs name a few) . The Win32 API will stay forever until MS makes it so easy to compile any legacy Win32 App using DDL's to compile against this new API. For example UWP audio/MIDI API had been broken since UWP was created, and MS did not give a.... for example to enumere devices was totally impossible. Things can't get worse, so maybe this is a step in the direction to fix what was broken by themselves.

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