If you’ve been around Microsoft during the Steve Ballmer years, you know that, at one time, Microsoft believed Open Source software was a huge threat to the company.
But lately, under new leadership and in 2019, times and attitudes have changed. Maintaining (debugging) and improving software is expensive in a closed environment. “It Takes a Village” takes on new meaning. Collaboration in the form of GitHub allows people worldwide to contribute to the betterment of software for all.
In this spirit, Microsoft has placed Windows Calculator on GitHub and open for people to join in. Via the Microsoft blog:
Today, we’re excited to announce that we are open sourcing Windows Calculator on GitHub under the MIT License. This includes the source code, build system, unit tests, and product roadmap. Our goal is to build an even better user experience in partnership with the community. We are encouraging your fresh perspectives and increased participation to help define the future of Calculator.
As developers, if you would like to know how different parts of the Calculator app work, easily integrate Calculator logic or UI into your own applications, or contribute directly to something that ships in Windows, now you can. Calculator will continue to go through all usual testing, compliance, security, quality processes, and Insider flighting, just as we do for our other applications. You can learn more about these details in our documentation on GitHub.
In addition to reusing and adapting the code in your own apps, anyone can participate in the development of Windows Calculator. Getting involved is simple. The project is “clone-and-go” and development will follow the standard GitHub flow. There are many ways for developers at all stages to contribute:
- Participate in discussions
- Report or fix issues
- Suggest new feature ideas
- Prototype new features
- Design and build together with our engineers
Reviewing the Calculator code is a great way to learn about the latest Microsoft technologies like the Universal Windows Platform, XAML, and Azure Pipelines. Through this project, developers can learn from Microsoft’s full development lifecycle, as well as reuse the code to build their own experiences. It’s also a great example of Fluent app design. To make this even easier, we will be contributing custom controls and API extensions that we use in Calculator and other apps, to projects like the Windows Community Toolkit and the Windows UI Library.
Microsoft’s happy to welcome the world to the Windows Calculator team! To get started, check out the Windows Calculator project on GitHub.