Microsoft today announced updates to its free Windows App Studio Beta web service for building Windows apps.
“One of the major themes that we’ve been focusing on lately is providing great solutions for small businesses, creatives, and content producers that want to showcase their work,” the Windows Apps team wrote in a blog post. “With that goal in mind, many of the new features are designed to help showcase information and provide more advanced user-focused features so you can better engage with your customers and audience.”
Two updates specifically address what people can do when building collections of information with the tool. First, they can now provide dates and times for individual items, which will allow end users to add certain events to their own calendars. Second, app developers can turn on a “favorites” option that will allow end users to put collection items into a new favorites folder.
More broadly, the Windows App Studio Beta now (finally) supports search across an app. And items can now be arranged in groups based on certain data. From the blog post:
This feature lets users represent their [items] in groups based on certain criteria. This could be used when displaying a list of products grouped by brand or other data point. It can also be used to group things based on date or time. For example when used for the events template, this lets the user create an agenda or schedule.
These updates matter because they’re being added to a free Microsoft tool that has millions of users. Microsoft also added features to the tool in December.
Additionally today, Microsoft said that the back end of the Windows App Studio Beta service has been updated so that it uses Visual Studio 2015 Update 1. As a result, “developers can target more devices,” the blog post says.