Desktop Bridge unlocks Evernote’s functionality

Evernote’s Desktop Bridge conversion enables impressive UWP features and Windows Store support.

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Desktop Bridge unlocks Evernote’s functionality tablet image
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With more than 200 million users, Evernote has become a stalwart in the new age of productivity. Through the app, people can create, share, and sync text, sketches, photos, audio, video, PDFs, and web clippings across devices.

Until 2016, Windows users accessed Evernote through the Evernote Touch app. But developers wanted to give people a seamless, full-fledged Evernote experience across devices.

So they replaced Evernote Touch with the Evernote for Windows desktop app and made it available in the Windows Store. The improved Windows 10 desktop Evernote app features cross-device functionality, smarter search capabilities, and other features for Windows customers running the Anniversary Update. Now, whether you’re recording a lecture on your smartphone, writing notes on your tablet, or drawing a complex blueprint on your Windows 10-enabled computer, you’ll have all of Evernote’s features and functionalities on your device.

Updating the PC app was straightforward and easy thanks to Desktop Bridge, a set of technologies that streamlines app deployment to a variety of devices and provides greater audience reach and monetization to developers. 

Desktop Bridge provided a perfect solution for us to be able to keep all the work we’ve done before and embrace the future.

– Seth Hitchings, VP of Engineering, Evernote

A long partnership: Evernote and Windows

The Windows 10 app is Evernote’s latest in a partnership with Windows that started in 2005.

Evernote progressed with Windows through multiple desktop app upgrades (Evernote 3, 3.5, 4, 5, etc.) and introduced its mobile app in 2011 – Evernote for Windows Phone 7. The company followed that in 2013 with Evernote Touch for Windows 8 and in April 2016, the company updated its desktop app to make navigation more intuitive and its search functionality smarter, among other improvements. Just a few months later, Evernote launched the latest version of its desktop app – compatible with the Anniversary Update – in the Windows Store.

The decision to update the Evernote app was an easy one, said Andrew Malcolm, a senior vice president of marketing for Evernote.

“The vast majority of our users use Evernote both in a consumer context and a professional context. But, ninety percent of the time when they’re using it in their professional lives, they’re using it on Windows,” he said. “So when we talk about winning in the workplace, we’re thinking ‘win on Windows.’”

When we talk about winning in the workplace, we’re thinking ‘win on Windows.’

– Andrew Malcolm, SVP of Marketing, Evernote

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update unlocked a host of features that were previously unavailable. With APIs enabled by the update, Evernote users can now leverage features such as Live Tiles and notifications, and take advantage of improvements such as a more intuitive sidebar navigation, smarter search and discovery, and color tabs to keep work and personal tasks and information separate.

“We use Live Tiles so that you can stay informed in terms of when you’re getting notifications or work chats,” said Chantal Leonard, director of product management at Evernote. “Being able to bridge the gap of not just having Evernote close but knowing when to open it has been a delightful moment for many of our users.”

While Evernote is available on several platforms, users of its Windows app will especially appreciate its compatibility with the Office suite of applications.

“We’re pretty confident that about one in five of our users is attaching Office documents to Evernote because they’re trying to do more with their ideas, and that means seamlessly working in both of those products right now,” Andrew said.

What is Desktop Bridge and how does it work?

The Desktop Bridge consists of a set of technologies, including Desktop App Converter, that help developers bring their desktop apps and games to the Windows Store and to the Universal Windows Platform.

The suite of tools also helps developers enhance their existing codebases to implement new functions such as Live Tiles and roaming app data; extend their codebases with a new App Container process to add things such as XAML UI; and distribute their apps to the Windows Store for greater reach across devices, including Xbox One and HoloLens.

“It was really important to us to really take advantage of the best that Windows 10 has to offer without completely rebuilding the app and without abandoning our users who may have been on Windows 7 or older operating systems,” said Hitchings.

By launching the new app in the Windows Store, Evernote was able to find the most engaged users, as well as target users with specific messaging and value propositions to help them more successfully use Evernote.

“Whether that’s been on the Start screen, Spotlight, or targeting students specifically during back to school, it’s a way to actually customize some of our marketing,” said Andrew. “I think this speaks to the larger idea that Microsoft is trying really hard to have their app partners succeed alongside of them, not just make the Store itself successful.”

David Connet, an Evernote senior software engineer, underlined that Desktop Bridge helped make the transition to the rich, full-featured app smooth and hassle-free

“Working with Microsoft was a great experience. The guidance that we were provided helped us immensely and provides a great experience for the user.”

To learn more about Desktop Bridge: