Preview of .NET MAUI Community Toolkit Heralds Xamarin.Forms Sunsetting

As promised, Microsoft is previewing a .NET MAUI Community Toolkit some two months before it begins to sunset its progenitor, Xamarin.Forms, long used for mobile iOS and Android app development with C# and XAML.

Such mobile development is being folded into the umbrella .NET 6 framework, which will reach general availability (GA) in November along with the open source .NET Multi-platform App UI (.NET MAUI). That cross-platform framework is described as the evolution of Xamarin.Forms because it adds desktop development in addition to the mobile targets. Thus Microsoft will service Xamarin.Forms v5.0 only through November 2022, after which it will head into the sunset. "Your existing and new Xamarin.Forms applications will migrate to .NET MAUI with tooling assistance and documentation which we will provide later in the .NET 6 preview timeframe," Microsoft says.

[Click on image for larger view.] .NET MAUI (source: Microsoft).

The company continued to do exactly that with the Aug. 31 introduction of .NET MAUI Community Toolkit (Preview), the first pre-release version of two new .NET MAUI toolkits: CommunityToolkit.Maui and CommunityToolkit.Maui.Markup.

Served up by NuGet, these kits typically are collections of helper functions, custom controls and app services designed to simplify and demonstrate common developer tasks for projects of varying types. For example, the Windows Community Toolkit can be used to build apps for any Windows 10 device, including PC, Mobile, Xbox, IoT and HoloLens. The kits announced this week contain .NET MAUI extensions, advanced UI/UX controls, effects and behaviors designed to help .NET MAUI developers.

.NET MAUI Community Toolkit
[Click on image for larger view.] .NET MAUI Community Toolkit (source: Microsoft).

However, they don't yet contain all of the functionality of their Xamarin.Forms counterparts, which the dev teams are striving to rectify before GA.

Xamarin Community Toolkit
[Click on image for larger view.] Xamarin Community Toolkit(source: Microsoft).

Speaking of dev teams, the Xamarin Community Toolkit team this week announced two new .NET MAUI-compatible versions of their toolkit: Xamarin.CommunityToolkit.MauiCompat and Xamarin.CommunityToolkit.Markup.MauiCompat.

The MauiCompat libraries are aligned with the latest release of Xamarin.CommunityToolkit but target .NET MAUI apps. Xamarin.CommunityToolkit, meanwhile, is for Xamarin.Forms apps, Microsoft developer advocate Brandon Minnick explained.

"The MauiCompat libraries are created as a helpful step in your migration from Xamarin.Forms to .NET MAUI," he said. "These libraries ensure that you can access all of the features of Xamarin.CommunityToolkit in your .NET MAUI apps without breaking changes, helping to make your migration to .NET MAUI easier.

"We recommend eventually replacing Xamarin.CommunityToolkit.MauiCompat with the new .NET MAUI Toolkit, CommunityToolkit.Maui, to take advantage of new features and optimizations."

Meanwhile, all greenfield development -- brand-new apps -- should be done with the fully optimized .NET MAUI Community Toolkit discussed here and also announced yesterday (Aug. 31), instead of Xamarin.CommunityToolkit.MauiCompat.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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