Windows 10 App Essentials 20.08, an important note for dev snapshot users #addonrelease


Hello all,


Windows 10 App Essentials 20.08 (fifth anniversary edition) is now available. Among many changes in this release (majority of which took place last week), the add-on now supports upcoming Windows 10 Version 20H2 and significant usability enhancements were made to modern input facility support (emoji panel, clipboard history, hardware input suggestions, dictation, and on newer feature updates, CJK IME candidate reading), the latter for braille users. It also includes Calculator improvements, Open With dialog fix is now available for Version 1909 users, and some workarounds for 20H2. As always, the new add-on release is available via community add-ons website and via Add-on Updater.


As for the subtitle: it’s been five years since the release of first test release of Windows 10 App Essentials in August 2015. The official release didn’t happen until December 2015, but for all record-keeping purposes, August 2015 (15.08 preview) is the first release.


A note on modern input facility support changes: modern input facility improvements came from an unlikely source: a speech presented by a blind high school student at this year’s National Federation of the Blind virtual convention, detailing her experiences as she and other blind high school students sued College Board over lack of Advanced Placement (AP) braille tests this year (perhaps I’ll describe the shock I felt while watching this speech and the follow-up actions taken in detail at another time); since modern input facility wasn’t quite optimized for braille users, this speech gave me the courage to revisit design decisions I made regarding emoji panel support three years ago and make extensive rewrites to improve user experience. Although emoji descriptions will not be brailed in human-readable languages (it only prints hexadecimal values unless Braille Extender is installed), WinTenApps 20.08 improves other aspects of emoji panel support, the most notable being that NVDA will no longer jump all over emoji panel when People emoji group is selected, which should make braille users more happy.


Several announcements:


  • Starting with version 20.08, Windows 10 App Essentials will now require NVDA 2020.1 or later.
  • Windows 10 App Essentials will end support for Windows 10 Version 1909 (November 2019 Update) in December.
  • If you are using development snapshots of this add-on, a series of really bleeding-edge builds will be released soon designed to test upcoming NVDA 2020.3 changes and add-on compatibility. As a result, these snapshots (dubbed “alpha”) will absolutely require NVDA 2020.3 alpha (or future beta) builds. If you do somehow install these snapshots while running NVDA 2020.1 or 2020.2, you’ll find that the add-on will not work properly as these bleeding-edge snapshots depend on changes made to NVDA that are going through alpha-level testing. If you are using stable add-on release, you won’t see this change until next year.