Home : Software Terms : UWP Definition


Stands for "Universal Windows Platform." UWP is an application development platform created by Microsoft. A UWP app can run on multiple devices, including Windows PCs, tablets, and smartphones. Some UWP apps can run on other types of Microsoft hardware including Xbox, HoloLens, and IoT devices.

UWP provides a common platform for developers to build apps for multiple types of hardware. The Universal Windows Platform API includes a wide range of libraries, functions, and user interface elements developers can integrate into their apps. By including multiple DeviceFamily types in a UWP app, a developer can customize the interface of the app for several types of devices.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 and later supports the UWP API and provides developers with a flexible multiplatform development environment. While the API is implemented in C++, UWP apps can be written in C++, C#, Visual Basic, or even JavaScript. The Microsoft Visual Studio IDE will compile the code as a UWP app if Windows.Universal is set as the target device family.

UWP and the Windows Store

Only UWP apps can be distributed through the Windows Store. Since the Windows Store is integrated into Windows and other Microsoft operating systems, it provides developers with an easy way to get their apps in front of millions of users. This benefit alone has helped UWP become a popular development platform. Developers can submit multiple versions of each UWP app, targeted for different operating systems, and the Windows Store will automatically provide users with the appropriate app package for their device.

NOTE: UWP was introduced with Windows 10 and was not designed to be backwards compatible. Therefore, UWP apps will only on PCs running Windows 10 and later, as well as other supported devices.

Updated: September 9, 2017

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