Visual Studio finally shows up on the Microsoft Store in Windows 11
It’s been nearly a decade since Microsoft debuted its app store on Windows 8. Obviously, the goal behind any app store is for it to be a place where you can safely find all of the apps you want, and that’s a goal that Microsoft hasn’t been able to achieve. In fact, the situation has been so bad that the Redmond firm hasn’t even been able to get its own apps in its own store.
That’s changing with Windows 11. Indeed, today the company announced that you can get Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio Community from the Microsoft Store on the next-generation OS.
Hey y’all! Welcome @VisualStudio Community 2019 *and* Visual Studio @code to the new Windows Store! Both FREE and available to Windows Insiders right now! Interested in publishing your Win32 App? Check out https://t.co/HUDLwIJzY1 pic.twitter.com/MifCbd6hzt
— Scott Hanselman (@shanselman) August 25, 2021
The big change with the Microsoft Store in Windows 11 is that anyone can put any app that runs on Windows in the Store. Indeed, it’s taken nearly a decade to get to this point.
Back in the Windows 8 days, you had a build a completely new app to get it in the Windows Store. With Windows 8.1, the company debuted what it called universal apps that were essentially separate UIs for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, but with a shared codebase.
Microsoft realized pretty quickly that this was a terrible plan. No one was rewriting their apps to get on an immature platform like the Windows Store on Windows 8, and it didn’t look like Windows 8 and its full-screen environment was going to take off in any meaningful way.
That’s where Windows 10 came in. Microsoft debuted the Universal Windows Platform, which allowed developers to create one app with a responsive UI for all Windows devices. But that wasn’t all, because the Redmond firm was no longer asking that you completely rebuild your app.
It introduced four bridges, three of which actually shipped. Project Islandwood was a way to recompile existing iOS code to make a Windows app. Project Westminster let you package a hosted web app, and Project Astoria – the one that never shipped – let you run Android apps on Windows. More important was Project Centennial, which allowed developers to package their Win32 apps and put them in the Microsoft Store; indeed, you’d no longer have to write a new app.
But that still wasn’t enough. It wasn’t even enough for Microsoft to get its own apps into the Store. It put Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) in there for a short time and eventually pulled the suite of apps out. Now with Windows 11, you can put any app in the Microsoft Store, and it doesn’t even have to be packaged.
In short, the fact that Visual Studio is finally in the Microsoft Store is a big deal. It’s something that’s been a decade in the making, and it represents that more complicated apps can be distributed on the platform.
As mentioned earlier, the apps offered are both Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio Community. The latter is the full version of Visual Studio, and they’re both free.