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Microsoft today unveiled the Desktop App Converter, which lets developers bring existing Windows applications to the Windows Universal Platform (UWP). The company is hoping to bring the 16 million existing Win32/.Net applications to the Windows Store.

UWP allows developers to build a single app that changes based on your device and screen size. One app can work on your Windows 10 computer, Windows 10 tablet, Windows 10 Mobile smartphone, Xbox One console, and eventually HoloLens headset.

Being able to publish the resulting app in the Windows Store means another channel for distribution and sale. It also means users can cleanly install and uninstall the app or game. Furthermore, the apps get access to all of UWP’s APIs, so developers can add more functionality that is specific to Windows 10.

Universal Windows Platform

Above: Universal Windows Platform

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi/VentureBeat

Last year at Build, Microsoft unveiled four new Windows Store app types via so-called Bridges. Developers were told they could reuse their Web code, Windows desktop applications (.NET code), Android apps (Java and C++), and iOS apps (Objective C).


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Project Centennial, which lets desktop developers package and publish their existing .NET and Win32-based Windows applications to the Windows Store, is still in preview. This converter is exactly that.

The best part is that this works for games as well. Phil Spencer, head of Microsoft’s Xbox division, showed how game developers can port their Windows games (such as existing titles on Steam) to UWP and put them in the Windows Store. Spencer specifically showed Age of Empires II ported to a modern Windows app.

Update on April 8: The Desktop App Converter is now available in preview. You can download it from the Microsoft Download Center.

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