On August 6, Microsoft unveiled its first public preview of its software designed to make it easy for iOS developers to build and run apps on Windows. Called "Windows Bridge" (previously referred to as the secret-agent-sounding, "Project Islandwood"), the system allows developers to port their apps to both Windows 8.1 and Windows 10, which Microsoft released as a free update last week. 

Specifically engineered to give iOS developers the ability to use Windows APIs while using their existing skills and code in Objective-C, Windows Bridge is more than simply a port.  "Our goal with the iOS bridge has never been simply to run iOS apps on Windows," writes Salmaan Ahmed, the product manager on the Windows Bridge for iOS team. "Rather, our goal is to help you write great Windows apps that use as much of your existing code and knowledge as possible."

While available to developers as an open-source project under the MIT license, it is important to note that the bridge is still a work in process. The full release is scheduled to coincide with Microsoft's first update for Visual Studio later this fall.

While Microsoft has had a hard time motivating developers to write for its mobile platform, which comes in a distant third behind iOS and Android in terms of global popularity, it hopes that the new bridge, paired with Microsoft's new approach to allow apps to run on both desktop and mobile, will make it unprecedentedly easier for developers to bring their software to a larger market than Microsoft has had to offer in the past. 

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