Universal Woe Platform: Microsoft shows UWP support – by yanking ad monetisation

Also: Latest Windows 10 Insider Build's new surprise feature, which rhymes with 'chug' and doesn't like penguins

Roundup Welcome to the first Microsoft roundup of February 2020, the month after the plug was finally pulled on Windows 7. There remains, however, plenty left for Redmond to put the boot into, from Windows 10 Insider builds to poor old UWP.

Microsoft blesses UWP devs once again, this time by yanking ad monetisation

"Jazz isn't dead. It just smells funny," is a quote often attributed to the late Frank Zappa. The same could have been said for Microsoft's recent pitch-that-isn't-Xamarin at cross-platform compatibility.

Except now it smells worse, even if some of the more drooling fanboys might wish otherwise, thanks to plans to kill off Microsoft's Ad Monetisation platform on 1 June.

Ads are a necessary evil for many developers as users accustomed to everything on the web being free balk at paying for the work of bit-jockeys. However, by stating that it is "no longer viable for us to continue operating the product at the current levels", Microsoft is shutting off an important avenue of monetisation for coders.

Naturally, the developer forums have been awash with wailing, some describing the move as "catastrophic" while others attempt to follow Microsoft's suggestion, and seek out alternatives.

It would take a dyed-in-the-wool apologist to see this as a vote of confidence by Microsoft in the UWP platform, and while not all coders targeting UWP are necessarily affected, for some the move will cause hardship, as founder of ad-slinging platform Ad Duplex, Alan Mendelevich, explained on Twitter.

One could argue that UWP as a mainstream platform died with the demise of Windows Phone. Aimed at unifying the enthralling world of the Windows 8 desktop with mobile devices and the likes of Xbox and HoloLens, its rationale began to fade with the arrival of Windows 10 and the subsequent departure of Windows Mobile.

The timing is, however, interesting. Giving those loyal enough to stick with UWP a kick in the (mouse) balls just after the debut of the Duo SDK and mere weeks before the developer gear for the Surface Neo (and Windows 10X) is expected to drop is a brave move.

Microsoft needs developers to get on board with its dual-screen dreams. But devs, weary of repeated direction shifts from the desktop giant, would be forgiven for being a little cautious.

Thought not much changed in the latest Windows 10 Insider build? We have news

Build 19555 of Windows 10 hit the Windows Insider Fast Ring last week to a collective yawn.

Insiders were treated to a selection of fixes, including the cloud recovery option for "Reset this PC" being restored to life, as well as the long-overdue resolution of the issue that had left some USB3.0 drives unresponsive with Start Code 10. The vanishingly small percentage of users running ARM64 devices were also thrown a bone with a fix to allow them to actually install this build (after the borkage last time around). There remain other issues in upgrading, and some devices are apparently no longer sleeping on idle (slightly NSFW).

Those hoping for whizz-bang new features were whizz-bang out of luck. Well, everyone except for those using the rather splendid Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) 2. Those lucky developers found, amongst the welcome tweaks, an altogether less pleasant surprise.

A glance at GitHub was the first indication that all was not well. Craig Loewen, program manager on the WSL team, took to Twitter to warn devs accustomed to WSL2 that installing 19555 isn't a good idea. If you have installed it, roll it back.

WSL1 still works OK, and some developers were able to downgrade their systems accordingly. The WSL gang themselves remained impressively open, showing their working on GitHub, and pushing out a fix over the weekend.

However, it is a reminder that no matter how shiny and new the toys in the Windows Insider Program may look, something could explode at any time. The Insider gang has warned that what shows up in the Fast Ring may never see the light of day. Hopefully that includes whatever broke WSL2.

Preview 2 of Visual Studio 2019 for Mac 8.5 arrives, accompanied by authentication

While there may have been some gnashing of teeth in UWP land, the region of the Venn diagram of Mac users who love a bit of Visual Studio rejoiced as another preview of Microsoft's flagship development IDE put in an appearance.

Microsoft has continued to shovel in the features, and this time around, the ability to create ASP.NET Core projects with Individual Authentication (in-app) has been added.

The gang has also rolled out updates to Xamarin on the Mac with the ability to see changes made to Android resources without needing an app restart, a XAML document outline for viewing the hierarchy of Xamarin.Forms and improved Xcode storyboard designer integration.

The interface has also been adjusted for accessibility with support for macOS High Contrast mode, improved icons (although thankfully not slapped with the Fluent stick just yet) and easier to read warning and error messages. ®

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