App of the week – Paint.NET

Super excited about the release of Paint.NET in the Windows Store. One of my favorite Windows apps, finally in the Store and available on my Surface Laptop running Windows 10 S.

This app is using the Desktop Bridge platform and tooling work that was delivered in the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. This packaging and deployment option for Windows desktop applications provides a number of great benefits, including being able to reach customers on Windows 10 S, distribute and monetize via the Windows Store and many more – here is a blog post from the Paint.NET developer, so don’t just take my word for it:

https://blog.getpaint.net/2017/09/29/paint-net-is-now-available-on-the-windows-store/

Also great to see the use of a newer feature from the Windows 10 Creators Update: Thumbnail handlers for Desktop Bridge apps. This feature allows apps to declare a thumbnail provider for their supported file types, so that explorer can display. Here is how it looks for a file I produced with Paint.NET and saved as .pdn file:

thumbnailHandler

Here is how you declare your thumbnail handlers in your app’s appxmanifest file:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/uwp/porting/desktop-to-uwp-extensions#show

<Extension Category="windows.fileTypeAssociation">
 <FileTypeAssociation Name="[AppID]">
  <SupportedFileTypes>
   <FileType>"[FileExtension]"</FileType>
  </SupportedFileTypes>
  <ThumbnailHandler
    Clsid ="[Clsid ]"
    Cutoff="[Cutoff]"
    Treatment="[Treatment]" />
 </FileTypeAssociation>
</Extension>

This is one of the extension features in the Windows app model that allows apps to integrate with the system (in this case Explorer) in an out-of-proc way, so even in case the app code crashes, it can’t bring down the Explorer process (like some extensibility mechanisms of the past did) – making Windows better for everyone.

If you don’t have the app already, you can get it from the Windows Store here.

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