Windows App SDK 1.2 is now live, here’s what’s new

Windows App SDK is a collection of tools and APIs that developers can use in their Windows application to provide “consistent” functionality across various devices using Windows 10 (version 1809 and above) and Windows 11. It is important to understanding that it does this does not replace existing application types such as .NET or Windows SDK, it simply provides a unified set of API tools that can be leveraged to complement your existing application. Today, Microsoft has released version 1.2 of the Windows Application SDK with lots of new features.

Perhaps the highlight of this release is the ability for third-party developers to create widgets for their Win32 apps in Windows 11 Insider Previews and test them locally. It’s something Microsoft said it was working in May and released some additional information a little over a month ago too. Interested developers can refer to this documentation for more tips.

Windows App SDK 1.2 also allows developers to take advantage of the latest WinUI 3 media playback controls. They can also take advantage of Microsoft’s Azure communication services on the cloud to add voice and video calling functionality to their app. This is the same technology used by Microsoft Teams.

HDR and Automatic Color Management (ACM) are now also supported through the Windows App SDK DisplayInformation class. It allows client applications to monitor application view changes with relative ease. And if you’re on Visual Studio 17.3 Preview 2 or later, another interesting item is the ability to develop natively for the Arm64 architecture.

Other updates include slicing of .NET applications, Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR) in Windows 11, and an AppNotificationBuilder component to easily create and set notifications. Microsoft also pointed out that Windows App SDK 1.2’s x64 binary footprint is 11% smaller than version 1.1.5.

As for the sequel, Microsoft hasn’t noted anything specific. He just mentioned that he is working with development partners to migrate their apps to WinUI 3 and Windows App SDK. It’s something the company did as early as last year when he encouraged developers to migrate from the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) to the Windows App SDK.

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