Microsoft is working on several Windows tools and frameworks for cross-platform app development. The organization shed light on the most important projects during Build 2022, its annual developer conference.

According to a survey by Statista, Windows has been the most popular operating system among developers in the past four years. Approximately 60% of the respondents preferred Windows. Linux placed second (about 50%) and macOS third (about 45%).

The tech giant develops various tools for cross-platform app development. During Build 2022, Microsoft gave more details on the latest SDKs, frameworks and updates.

Linux, Android and more

First, Microsoft is developing a new version of the Windows App SDK, a toolkit for C# and C++ apps. Windows App SDK 1.1 is currently available as a preview. The official release will follow shortly. The update introduces new APIs and options for push notifications.

For cross-platform developers, Microsoft introduced the .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI). The framework is available immediately. MAUI allows developers to use a shared codebase for Android, iOS, macOS and Windows apps.

Progressive Web App (PWA) is available immediately as well. PWA offers multiple functions for web app development. In addition, there’s WebView2, a toolkit for embedding web content in Windows apps.

Finally, Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) and Windows Subsystem for Android (WSA) were recently renewed. The subsystems allow users to run Linux and Android on Windows. An alternative is a virtual machine or dual boot setup, but both methods cost money. The subsystems are free. WSL is now available on the Microsoft Store.

Open Microsoft Store

Microsoft also unveiled several changes to the Microsoft Store. Publishing and promoting apps became a little easier. First, the waiting list for Win32 apps has been removed. New apps are welcome immediately. Second, Microsoft is allowing just about anyone to purchase ads and ad space on the Microsoft Store.

In addition, the Amazon Appstore will soon be available for users outside the US. The Amazon Appstore brings more than 1,000 Android apps to Windows. The US got access in February 2022, but the rest of the world has to do without. Microsoft is expanding the app store to France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK before the end of the year.

Though the rest of Europe will have to wait, the expansion is a good sign. There’s a good chance that new countries will be eligible before the end of the year. And even before that time comes, there’s an alternative way to run Android apps on Windows 11. We recently wrote a guide for users outside the US: ‘how-to run Android apps on Windows 11 in the EU‘.