Development / Technology / Tools

This Week in Programming: Windows Opens Up to Android Developers

26 Jun 2021 6:00am, by

It’s almost as if hell just keeps freezing over again and again. If someone told you a few years ago that Windows would not only open up to running Linux, but would also release its own open source version of OpenJDK, you’d tell them they were crazy. But, in reality, both of those things have come to fruition, and now Microsoft has really turned down the temperature on hell by announcing that the next version of Windows would run Android apps.

Really, the tale of Microsoft Windows lately is one of the once monopolistic entity opening its arms wide to other technologies (bringing Rust into the fold, for example) and traditionally-Linux-based tools (eBPF and Envoy proxy, anyone?), and now applications developed for yet another operating system entirely — again! Of course, some folks are less than surprised by the announcement, saying this was the obvious next step after Windows Subsystem for Linux.

“We’re also pumped to announce that we are bringing Android apps to Windows for the first time,” writes Microsoft in its introductory blog post. “Starting later this year, people will be able to discover Android apps in the Microsoft Store and download them through the Amazon Appstore.”

The addition of Android apps to Windows comes via the new Microsoft Store, which the company says it is trying to open further “to unlock greater economic opportunity for creators and developers.” Now, before we go too far with the love fest, the new store comes via a partnership with Amazon (not Google), bringing Android apps to windows via Amazon’s catalog.

On the developer end of things, not much changes, according to Microsoft distinguished engineer Miguel de Icaza, who is seemingly always on the inside track on these sorts of announcements.

De Icaza compares the addition of Android apps to Windows to that of Apple bringing iOS apps to its own desktops, noting that “Windows is just another target for Android as far as the IDE is concerned, it runs under a VM.”

This Week in Programming

  • GitLab 14 Aims to Kill “DIY DevOps”: GitLab has launched GitLab 14.0, calling it the “culmination of the past year.” If you’ve read anything about the latest release, you’ll see that the company is steadily pounding the drum of how they are trying to do away with “DIY DevOps toolchains” by bringing it all under their one DevOps platform. “GitLab 14 is a complete DevOps platform with security embedded in its DNA, visibility and insights enabled by its single data store, and a seamless experience and extensible system,” the company writes in the introduction to its latest release. In that effort, it has also added a number of features. Some highlights include Epic Boards, which allow users to work with epics in a drag and drop interface rather than a list, a Terraform module registry built directly into GitLab, streamlined navigation up top and a redesigned sidebar, and the ability to perform merge request reviews right in Visual Studio Code. There is also a new WYSIWYG Markdown editor so you can edit your wiki and container scanning that now uses the Trivy engine by default.
  • GitHub Packages Container Registry Goes GA: Late last year, there was a bit of a to-do around Docker Hub introducing rate-limits, and a number of companies scrambled to offer their own alternatives, including GitHub. This week, GitHub has said that the GitHub Packages container registry is now generally available, which now introduces some additional features, including anonymous access for public containers, organizational level ownership, fine-grained permissions, container-specific landing pages, different visibility settings, and more. The move from beta also sees a consolidation of the GitHub Docker registry into Container registry, meaning that users who have previously published Docker containers to docker.pkg.github.com, will see their containers automatically migrated to the Container registry in the coming weeks, though existing links will continue to function. For now, it will all be free, but that will change “in the coming months with ample notice as to when that change will occur.”

  • AWS Intros CloudFormation Public Registry: While we’re on the topic of registries, Amazon Web Services also introduced a Public Registry for AWS CloudFormation this week, which it says will provide “a searchable collection of extensions — resource types or modules — published by AWS, APN partners, third parties, and the developer community.” CloudFormation and the AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK) already provide scalable and consistent provisioning of AWS resources, and now users will have that same consistency for provisioning resources from AWS Partner Network (APN) members, third-party vendors, and open-source technologies. The public registry (which joins the private registry functionality launched in 2019) launches with more than a dozen partners, such as MongoDB, Sysdig, Aqua Security, and Snyk, and more than 35 extensions.
  • Docker Previews Dev Environments: Announced at last month’s DockerCon, the tech preview of Docker Dev Environments is now available as part of Docker Desktop 3.5. The funny thing is, with Docker Dev Environments, Docker is still aiming to fix that same ‘it works on my machine’ problem that it’s always addressed, but this time in regard to how teams collaborate on projects using Git. Dev Environments allow developers to create “repeatable and reproducible development environments” that are then stored in their source code management tool of choice, allowing them to “share their work-in-progress code and dependencies in one click via the Docker Hub.” From there, developers can switch from one environment to another, with all of the code mounted into a container, which “isolates the tools, files and running services on the developer’s machine allowing multiple versions of them to exist side by side.”
  • GitHub Issues Gets New Beta Features: Last up, this week, GitHub introduced the new GitHub Issues, which brings with it a slew of new features in beta. Among those new features are “project tables that are built like spreadsheets, custom fields, a keyboard-driven command palette, improved task lists, and issue forms.” To see any of these new features, GitHub says you’ll have to join the beta, which is available for both personal and organization accounts. And to find out more, check out the GitHub Issues page or the FAQ.

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