Windows NFC development


Windows 7 is still widely used by both private users and companies due to its high stability and the low acceptance of the following versions 8 and 8.1. However, in Windows 7 there is no native integration of NFC in form of a service. Nevertheless, Windows 7 can be extended by NFC functionalities if a PC/SC NFC USB reader is used.

The PS/SC API allows to read and write NFC tags under Windows 7. An abstraction of the PC/SC interface for C# can be found on Github. However, there are many other programming languages which also allow to access PC/SC devices.

Summarized, the PC/SC interface allows the usage of NFC under Windows 7 and all newer versions. Though, newer Windows version also offer some alternative for usage of NFC.

NFC development for Windows 8 / 8.1

One of the main goals of Windows 8 was the union of mobile and desktop operating systems. It was continuously tried to unify both operating system kernels, but this goal was only achieved with Windows 10 completely. Nevertheless, the union of both systems already made some sub systems available in the desktop version which were only in the mobile version previously. One of these subsystems is the proximity API which allows the usage of NFC.

The Proximity API supports NFC hardware which can be included via the NXP Proximity driver. If such a hardware is included the operating system is able to react to NFC tags without any additional software. The Windows 8 Proximity API also enables the user to develop his own NFC applications for Windows. This approach has been further extended under Windows 10.

NFC development for Windows 10

In contrast to the previous version Windows 10 was more similar to Windows 7 again. Furthermore, there were some important developments regarding NFC under Windows 10. The developing model of the Universal Windows Platform was introduced which allowed for development across devices.

In particular, the integration and documentation of NFC development possibilities under Windows 10 and the Universal Windows Platform has benefitted from these further developments. For example, several examples can be found in the Github repository about UWP examples.

In contrast to the PC/SC interface the Proximity API allows to realize the processing of NFC events much easier. Thus, the use of the Proximity API is recommended if older Windows versions are not relevant for the planned application.

Summary of NFC development under Windows

If you are planning to develop NFC applications for Windows, these are the most important notes to take away from reading this section:

  • PC/SC API: The usage of the PS/SC API is possible since Windows 7. Therefore, an application based on this API runs on all current Windows versions.
  • Proximity API: The Proximity API is available since Windows 8, but it only starts to be useful with the UWP framework since Windows 10. The Proximity API enables you to get started with Windows NFC development quickly and abstracts very much which has to be realized with the PC/SC interface. Thus, this approach is recommended for most modern applications.

Tip: NFC can be tested directly by using our free NFC software for Windows.

Erstellt: 2017-02-16 / Aktualisiert: 2020-11-23 2017-02-16 2020-11-23