Skype UWP goes javascript, W10M app development stopped

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The Skype UWP app for Windows 10 (phones, tablets, Desktop) has had a rough and buggy evolution and, even today, isn't trouble-free for everyone. As a result, Microsoft has been hinting at (yet another) new implementation of the comms app, with 'preview' users on Windows 10 Desktop/Hololens/XBox (and Andromeda, in the future) able to play. The new Skype UWP app is built on the React Native framework, i.e. effectively all in Javascript. As a result, it's reported to be even slower to start and more resource-intensive (what a surprise), though it does mean that iOS, Android and Windows applications may someday be using the same codebase.

Meanwhile, all this means that further development of the original Skype UWP, as modelled on Windows 10 Mobile phones, has been frozen, aside from critical bug fixes. 

As you might expect for a cross-platform design, the new Skype UWP looks nothing like Windows 10 in terms of Fluent Design cues, which is a shame. Then again, on Mobile, Fluent Design never even made it to Skype in the first place, so this is a moot point!

From the Microsoft post:

The Skype for Windows 10 update brings all the latest and greatest Skype capabilities to Windows 10 users. Here's a sample of what's new:

  • Best in class calling experience - We've added several new calling features to make Skype's calling experience even better than before:
    • Flexible group call canvas - Customize your group call experience and decide who appears in the main call canvas. Simply drag and drop people between call canvas and the overflow ribbon to select who you want to focus on.
    • Take snapshots - Use snapshots to capture images of important moments within a call. Snapshots makes sure you never forget important memories like your grandkid's funny antics or crucial information like the content that's been screenshared during a meeting. 
    • Easily start screensharing - We've made sharing your screen during calls even easier. Look for the ability to share your screen with the top level call controls.
  • New layout - Based on your feedback, we've made your contacts easier to access and view.
  • Customizable themes - Choose a color and theme for your Skype client through or application settings.
  • And much more - Improvements to our media gallery, notifications panel, and @mentions experience and more!  


In addition to all the latest enhancements, with this update you can expect more frequent improvements to your Skype for Windows 10 experiences going forward. Please visit our Skype for Windows Insiders FAQ for more information. 

Of course, with Skype UWP not receiving any more 'feature' updates, it's in much the same state as Windows 10 Mobile itself. The cynic in me, looking at recent Skype 'redesigns', with stickers, emotions and other Snapchat-inspired UI elements, makes me quite happy to stay on boring, old, staid Skype UWP for Mobile, mind you. Comments welcome - is Skype under W10M enough for you, or would you like the new React Native-build client on your Lumias?

Source / Credit: Microsoft