With .NET MAUI Delayed, Xamarin.Forms Remains Mobile Dev Option in .NET 6

With .NET MAUI -- the "evolution of Xamarin.Forms" -- delayed, the latter remains a primary mobile dev option in .NET 6, just released this week.

Microsoft described .NET MAUI (.NET Multi-platform App UI) as the evolution of Xamarin.Forms because it adds desktop app support to the traditional iOS- and Android-focused development framework, among other enhancements. However, the project "slipped the schedule" and missed the Nov. 8 debut of .NET 6 and Visual Studio 2022. Microsoft now says it's coming in Q2 (April-June).

So, with Xamarin.Forms 5.0 still supported through November 2022 [Editor's note: previously this date said 2023, corrected by a reader.] and .NET MAUI sporting incomplete preview bits and being months away from GA, which do you go with right now?

Microsoft made it simple: "If your project development timeline is longer than 4 months or everything you need is ready in .NET MAUI, then we recommend starting there. Otherwise, Xamarin.Forms is your best bet and you can see what lays ahead for you to transition to .NET 6 when you're ready."

That guidance comes from David Ortinau, principal program manager, in a Nov. 8 blog post titled "What's New in Xamarin and Visual Studio 2022."

On the same day, Ortinau penned "Announcing .NET MAUI Preview 10." The new preview has little in the way of big new features or functionality, but does include a whopping 68 changes more of the minor variety.

"This new release includes the merging of the remaining Windows App SDK dependencies, and ongoing progress to complete the remaining controls and control features," he said.

Specifically, new are handler implementations of CollectionView and IndicatorView. The CollectionView class is a flexible and performant view for presenting lists of data using different layout specifications. "CollectionView covers most of the same virtualized list based scenarios as ListView and adds support for other layouts such as horizontal and grid," Ortinau said.

The CollectionView
[Click on image for larger view.] The CollectionView (source: Microsoft).

The GitHub pull request to "Handler-ize CollectionView for Windows" explains that "This is only to get CollectionView into the handler architecture for layout/customization purposes. We'll do a more handler-native version of this at a later date, and port the appropriate parts into Core."

Going forward, the .NET MAUI roadmap shows more handler work on tap for Preview 11 next month, followed by a Release Candidate in Q1 and GA in Q2:

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

More information on the progress of the .NET MAUI project can be found in the status wiki.

Preview 10 is available in the stable release of .NET 6 and the preview channel of Visual Studio 2022.

"Visual Studio 2022 previews are incrementally enabling new features for .NET MAUI," Ortinau said in conclusion. "As you encounter any issues with debugging, deploying, and editor-related experiences, please use the Help > Send Feedback menu to report your experiences."

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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