Under Windows 11, Visual Studio is finally a part of the Microsoft Store
The Microsoft Store has been around for a decade but it hasn’t quite been able to achieve the main goal of being an app store - to be a safe place for all the apps you want. And things have been so bad that Microsoft hasn’t been able to get its own apps on to its own store yet. But that’s set to change with Windows 11. At least by a bit. Microsoft has announced that you can get Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio Community from the Microsoft Store with Windows 11.
On Windows 11, the big change with the Microsoft Store is that anyone can put up any app that runs on Windows in the store. It basically took almost a decade for Microsoft to achieve that. On Windows 8 you would have to build a completely new app to get it in the Windows Store. Then with Windows 8.1, Microsoft debuted “universal apps” that were essentially separate UIs for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 with a shared codebase.
It did not take Microsoft long to realise that it was a “terrible plan” since no one was going to rewrite their apps for an “immature platform” like the Windows Store on Windows 8. And also, at that point in time, it did not look like Windows 8 and its full-screen environment was going to get popular in any way.
With Windows 10, Microsoft debuted the Universal Windows Platform that allowed developers to create one app with a responsive UI for all Windows devices. And the company was also no longer asking developers to completely rebuild their apps. It introduced four bridges instead out of which three actually shipped - Project Islandwood, Project Astoria (the one that did not ship), Project Centennial, and Project Westminister.
Project Islandwood was “a way to recompile existing iOS code to make a Windows app”, Project Westminister allowed devs to package a hosted web app, and Project Astoria allowed you to run Android apps on Windows, and Project Centennial allowed devs to package Win32 apps and put then on the Windows Store.
While all of this did away with devs having to rebuild their apps, it was not enough since Microsoft could not get its own apps to the store. The company did put Office 365 (Microsoft 365) in the Microsoft Store for a short time but then eventually pulled the suite of apps out. With Windows 11, finally, you can put any app on the Microsoft Store and it does not need to be packaged.
The fact that Visual Studio is finally on the Microsoft Store is proof of that and it is a big deal as something like this has been a decade in the making. This also marks the way for more complicated apps to make their debut on the platform. Both Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio Community are available for free on the Windows Store right now.