LogMeIn has released a new application on the Windows Store – the join.me app. It is one of the first apps available on the store that is built using Project Centennial, Microsoft’s tool to convert regular Win32 applications into sandboxed UWP apps.
The join.me app has two major requirements to actually function: the Windows 10 device needs to be 64-bit and have the Windows 10 Anniversary Update.
While the app is available via the Windows Store – it’s not really a UWP app. The application doesn’t follow any of the UX standards built by Microsoft and does not run in a strict sandbox like UWP apps do. Instead, it looks like any normal Win32 Windows app would – which is not surprising considering how it was made.
join.me was originally built for conducting meetings. The features include the ability to share your screen, and let someone remotely control your PC, but also many others such as displaying presentations, annotations, and group video or voice calls. The application is available for free from the Windows Store, and while it does have many of the features available for free – it does come with a 14 day trial for the Pro version.
Many of these features would not usually be possible within the restrictions of UWP. Microsoft only allows a few developers to publish Project Centennial applications on the Windows Store as of now, so another addition to this library is noteworthy.
What is UWP and why is Project Centennial significant?
There was once a time when every application on Windows ran with full administrative privileges. This was like leaving your house doors unlocked while keeping only one defense: trust.
With Windows Vista, Microsoft added the User Account Control system that restricted the access to System-level files and settings behind an administrative prompt- this caused many issues at the time, as it broke many applications. This solution was more of a band-aid rather than actual cure. So, Microsoft attempted to fix it again in Windows 8 with the Universal Windows Platform.
The Universal Windows Platform – or UWP for short – was built by Microsoft as a way to standardize Windows applications. Every UWP apps run in a strict sandbox – nothing is accessible by the application unless specifically permitted by the user.
While this might be great for apps like Plex or Netflix for Windows 10, it doesn’t translate very well for more demanding productivity apps. To solve this issue, Microsoft built the Desktop App Converter for developers – code-named Project Centennial.
Applications built with Project Centennial are not really UWP apps – they are Win32 apps converted to the UWP format, which means there are some compromises made for them.
Project Centennial apps do not run in a strict sandbox – therefore these apps have the privilege of a higher level access than standard UWP apps. However, the UWP system does build a virtual file-system and registry for these apps – preventing them from cluttering the PC with unnecessary files and changes.