When Microsoft released their open-source Project Islandwood last year, it was lacking in a few features. Microsoft has been making incremental updates since then, updating its CoreFoundation implementation and improving the AutoLayout function.
The company recently announced its plans for the project going forward, after listening to feedback from customers and developers. At the forefront of the improvements is an upgrade to API coverage for their UIKit implementation.
“UIKit is a vast framework with hundreds of classes, and re-implementing the entire thing is simply not feasible,” wrote Adam Denning, Grup Program Manager at Microsoft. They have, however, come up with a solution through better XAML integration.
This should reduce the amount of work it takes to bring up the UIKit classes on Windows, as well as improving the accessibility, localization, and stability.
Microsoft has gone into more detail about the effects of the changes, noting the following:
- “Faster bring up of iOS controls, so more of UIKit is available to you
- An improved touch-input model for more performant event handling
- Much improved support for accessibility and localization
- Better test automation, resulting in more stable and high-quality controls
- Much improved integration with and leveraging of Windows' UI framework, XAML”
Along with these changes, Microsoft will be introducing a new tool named Xib2Xaml. It converts Storyboard and XIB files that were built using Xcode into native XAML files so that they can be edited in Visual Studio.
Developers will no longer have to go back into XCode and run through the bridge interface again. Instead, they can use the Blend Interface editor in Visual Studio to migrate the files.
To help the transition run smoothly, Microsoft has released updated UI Design and UI Touch Input documentation on their GitHub page.