I’ve posted about my initial week with the Surface Pro X not long ago, now a month later I want to address an important topic which I see as crucial for Windows on ARM to get traction: Developer Support. At the moment it is really hard to develop GUI apps for Windows on ARM outside of the “Visual Studio ecosystem”.
As of this writing there is no native Windows on ARM versions of: Python, Ruby, Go, Rust, Pascal/Lazarus, D, Nim, Zig, Racket, Clojure, Java.
Right now, I have Visual Studio 2019 running on my Surface Pro X and I’m trying to use it to port other languages to Windows on ARM.
In this brief post, I’m going to explain why I see this as a problem; what I tried to do to solve this for my own personal usage; what challenges I faced; and some approaches that Microsoft could (and should) do to solve this.
Disclaimer: I am not a senior native developer. I am a curious tinkerer. I can build native, mobile, and web apps, but I’m not experienced with Visual Studio, or with all the plumbing and low level requirements for lots of the things I’ll be talking about here. This is a personal account of how I tried to handle the lack of developer tools familiar to me in this platform. I may be wrong on many occasions and will welcome fixes and pointers to help me solve the challenges explained below.