As you probably know, RAD Studio 10.1 Berlin Update 2 last fall was the first IDE to offer native and direct support for the Windows Desktop Bridge (also known as Centennial Bridge). In short, using the bridge you can create Universal Windows Platform (UWP) applications that can be distributed using Microsoft Windows 10 Store. RAD Studio let's you set a few parameters and generate an APPX file ready for the store. Given I already blogged multiple times on the topic, I won't re-iterate all of the details here.

There are some interesting news from Microsoft. The summary is the Desktop Bridge is considered a successful project by the company and they plan to keep pushing it as the best approach to bring existing Windows applications to the Store.

Windows 10 S

The first interesting announcement was "Windows 10 S". See the FAQ at

This is a "safe" version of Windows 10 aimed to the consumer market and intended to allow running only applications downloaded from the Windows Store, excluding old traditional apps downloaded directly to the PC. This is potentially a huge change, although it has to be seen if Windows user will go for it. In any case, Desktop Bridge applications will be included in the support, so all of your VCL and FireMonkey applications could still be used after doing some fairly minimal migration (in most cases).

Centennial at BUILD

The second interesting announcement came at the BUILD conference, where Microsoft had many sessions covering the Desktop Bridge. The main one ( bring-desktop-apps-to-uwp-and-the-windows-store) focused on new features in Creators Update and general status and plans for the Centennial bridge. For example, Microsoft ahs extended the support to shell extensions, but only for out-of-process scenarios. The (Microsoft) speaker listed RAD Studio as one of the tools supporting the bridge:

Notice the in the session they did demonstrate deployment of a bridge application using Visual Studio, but apparently the steps are so complex they decided to skip the actual demo -- compared to a Delphi demo of APPX generation, that takes seconds!

The other part of the session I'm still a bit unclear is why you'd really need to come up with the complex architecture below, when in most cases a native application (like one built in Delphi) can leverage most of the WinRT APIs like notifications in a much more simple way. While having two applications inter-operating makes sense in some cases, in most it seems fairly overkill.

The Business Store

The other relevant initiative related with the Desktop Bridge is the ability for larger companies to create their own "business store", again using APPX applications. In other words, the same binary you could upload to the public store you can also provide to a company for internal distribution. This makes sense for specific applications, includes license tracking, and because a simpler way to install and update an application on a large number of systems. The same applies to education institutions.

More information at Again, most Win32 and Win64 applications built with RAD Studio should be ready to be converted to the new format, and our IDE can help in the process.