Microsoft Introduces UWP Community Toolkit

Microsoft has introduced open-source UWP Community Toolkit, a new project that will enable the developer community to collaborate as well as contribute new capabilities on top of SDK.
As per the official blog, Microsoft states that they have designed the toolkit keeping the following goals in mind: 
  • Simplified app development: The toolkit includes new capabilities (helper functions, custom controls and app services) that simplify or demonstrate common developer tasks. Wherever possible, our goal is to allow app developers to get started with just one line of code.

  • Open-Source: The toolkit (source code, issues, and roadmap) will be developed as an open-source project. We welcome contributions from the .NET developer community.

  • Alignment with SDK: The feedback from the community on this project will be reflected in future versions of the Windows SDK for Windows 10. 
UWP Community Toolkit 1.0
Microsoft states,
“The toolkit can be used by any new or existing UWP application written in C# or VB.NET. Our goal is to support the latest and previous stable release of the SDK and at this time, the toolkit is compatible with apps developed with Windows 10 SDK Build 10586 or above.”
You can use the toolkit for building the UWP apps for any Windows 10 device, which includes Mobile, PC, XBOX, IoT and HoloLens. You can also go on to use the toolkit with the existing desktop app which has been converted to UWP, using the Desktop Bridge.
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Given below are some of the features which have been included by Microsoft in the first release of toolkit. They are: 
The UWP Community Toolkit Sample App was released in the Windows Store, which would make it easier to preview the toolkit capabilities even before the installation of the tools or downloading the SDK. This app will also go on to allow you to easily copy and paste the code that you require in order to get started using the toolkit in your project.
In order to start, you need to follow the steps given below:
  • Download Visual Studio 2015 with Update 3 and the Windows 10 SDK.
  • Create a new UWP project (or open an existing one).
  • Launch Visual Studio 2015.
  • Create a new project using the Blank App template under Visual C# → Windows → UniversalAdd the UWP Community Toolkit to your project.
  • In Solution Explorer panel, right click on your project name and select “Manage NuGet Packages”.
  • Search for “Microsoft.Toolkit.UWP”.
  • Select desired packages and install them.
  • Add a reference to the toolkit in your XAML pages or C#. In your XAML page, add a reference at the top of your page and in your C# page, add the namespaces to the toolkit.
  • You can copy & paste code snippets for each feature from the Sample App, or find more details in the documentation.
In the future, Microsoft plans to release updates through the Visual Studio NuGet package at a regular cadence.
 The company states,
 “The toolkit is completely open-sourced on GitHub, including the source code of the toolkit, source code of the sample app and even the documentation.”
The roadmap for the next release is available here.