How does Windows 8 Runtime (WinRT / Windows Store apps / Windows 10 Universal App) compare to Silverlight and WPF?

Cover Image for How does Windows 8 Runtime (WinRT / Windows Store apps / Windows 10 Universal App) compare to Silverlight and WPF?
Matheus Mello
Matheus Mello
published a few days ago. updated a few hours ago

🖥️ Windows 8 Runtime vs Silverlight and WPF: What You Need to Know

So, you're a .NET UI programmer trying to wrap your head around Windows 8 Runtime (WinRT), commonly used to create Metro style apps. You've heard buzzwords like XAML, .NET, HTML, CSS, DOM, and JavaScript, but you're missing that "key" piece of information necessary to understand it. Well, fear not! We're here to break it down for you.

🌐 The Basics: WinRT in a Nutshell

At its core, WinRT is a runtime environment introduced in Windows 8 and continued in Windows 10. It serves as the foundation for building modern, touchscreen-friendly applications. But how does it compare to other frameworks like Silverlight and WPF? Let's dive in.

🖥️ Silverlight: A Glance Back

Silverlight, a browser plug-in developed by Microsoft, was initially created to provide rich media and interactive experiences on the web. It offered cross-platform capabilities and supported multiple programming languages.

However, as technology evolved, so did Microsoft's focus. With the introduction of WinRT, Microsoft shifted its attention to building native apps directly on Windows with a more unified and streamlined development platform.

🌠 WPF: The Desktop Connection

Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), on the other hand, is a robust desktop application framework beloved by many .NET developers. WPF allows you to build powerful applications with modern UI, data binding, and styling capabilities.

While WPF continues to be supported and widely used for desktop development, WinRT introduces a new avenue for creating touch-centric, immersive experiences that are optimized for Windows tablets and devices.

📚 WinRT: The Best of Both Worlds

So, where does WinRT fit into all of this? Well, it's sort of the bridge between Silverlight and WPF, taking the best aspects of each and forming a cohesive development environment. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Universal Apps: With WinRT, you can create Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps that run across all Windows 10 devices, from smartphones to desktop PCs.

  2. Language Flexibility: WinRT supports multiple programming languages, including C#, VB.NET, C++, and JavaScript. This means you can leverage your existing skills to build compelling applications.

  3. XAML-based UI: WinRT utilizes XAML (eXtensible Application Markup Language), a declarative language for creating the UI of your apps. This will feel familiar to WPF developers, as XAML is also used extensively in WPF.

  4. Web Integration: WinRT allows for integration with web technologies, such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. This enables you to combine the power of native Windows development with the flexibility of web technologies.

🚀 Take Action: Embrace the WinRT Journey!

Now that you have a clearer understanding of how WinRT compares to Silverlight and WPF, it's time to take action. Here are a few ways you can get started:

📖 Learn: Dive deeper into WinRT and explore its capabilities through official Microsoft documentation and online tutorials.

🖥️ Experiment: Create a small WinRT app to get hands-on experience and familiarize yourself with the development process.

🗣️ Engage: Join online communities and forums dedicated to WinRT development to learn from others, seek guidance, and share your thoughts and experiences.

By embracing WinRT, you'll be well-equipped to create cutting-edge apps that provide a seamless user experience across Windows 10 devices.

So, what are you waiting for? Gear up, step into the WinRT world, and unleash your creativity!

🎉 Happy coding! 🚀💻


Remember, Windows 8 Runtime (WinRT) offers a compelling platform for building modern applications. Don't worry about the continuation of frameworks like Silverlight and WPF; they will still work on Windows 8 and Windows 10. But if you're ready to explore new possibilities and create immersive experiences, WinRT awaits your expertise.

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