What's New in Windows Community Toolkit, for Building Windows 10 UWP Apps

ARM64 support and an XAML Islands update highlight a version 6.0 update to the Windows Community Toolkit, a set of helper functions, custom controls, and app services to simplify and demonstrate common coding tasks for building Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for Windows 10.

The Windows Community Toolkit, an open-source project developed on GitHub under the direction of the .NET Foundation, provides different packages ranging from notifications to animations to a variety of controls, and much more.

The Windows Community Toolkit v6.0 announcement post says: "This release brings ARM64 support to the toolkit as well as an update to XAML Islands for .NET Core 3 support. In addition, we have new features like the EyeDropper control and new Win32 notification helpers. We also have an update to our preview of Microsoft Graph enabled XAML controls."

Here's a brief look at some of those new features:

  • ARM64 Support: Developers can now use the toolkit to create apps that target ARM64, a processor architecture used heavily on mobile devices. "This allows developers' apps to take advantage of increased performance and battery life by running on the native architecture for devices like the Surface Pro X. We also worked closely with the Win2D team to ensure it also now supports ARM64. This was important for Lottie [see below] and other toolkit features that rely on Win2D," said Michael A. Hawker, senior software engineer on the Windows Pax Team in the announcement post.
  • Lottie Animation Improvements: Lottie-Windows is a library for rendering Adobe AfterEffects animations natively in an application. "This update brings more Adobe After Effects features to Lottie-Windows, including Linear and Radial Gradients, Masks, Track Mattes, and codegen support for Image Layers. We hope that these additions will allow motion designers and application developers to create even more visually compelling user experiences on Windows 10," Hawker said.
  • XAML Islands brings UWP to WPF, WinForms, and Win32: XAML Islands lets Windows developers use new UWP UI pieces on existing Win32 Applications, including Windows Forms (WinForms) and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). The v6.0 update improves .NET Core 3 tooling support and helps developers get started with the technology. "XAML Islands enables a developer to enhance the look, feel, and functionality of an existing WPF, Windows Forms, or C++ Win32 application and make use of the latest Windows 10 UI features that are only available via UWP controls like inking," Hawker said.
  • A new Eye Dropper control for color selection in an app, able to pick up a color from anywhere in the app.
  • A preview of XAML Graph Controls, which lets coders authenticate and access Microsoft Graph (which provides an API for accessing data in Office 365, Windows 10 and other resources) in Windows 10 apps, able to work with UWP apps and in WPF and WinForms for Win32 apps on .NET Core 3, thanks to XAML Islands. Android and iOS support is on tap.

All of the above and much more is explained in greater detail in the release notes for Windows Community Toolkit 6.0. Windows Community Toolkit documentation is available here.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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