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Now Out: Uno Platform 3.0 (C# + WinUI), Previewing Linux Support

"Our vision is to enable you to develop pixel-perfect, multi-platform applications using C# and WinUI," says Uno Platform, which recently announced it's getting closer to that goal with the new v3.0 update.

With an original focus on creating Universal Windows Platform (UWP) mobile apps, the Uno Platform is described as a UWP bridge that allows UWP-based code to run on Windows, WebAssembly, iOS, macOS, Android and Linux. It claims to be the only platform that can be used to build native mobile, desktop and WebAssembly apps with C# and XAML from a single codebase.

The company earlier this year claimed an industry first and addressed a "long-time request" by announcing the capability to build WebAssembly apps in Visual Studio on Windows using Ahead of Time (AOT) compilation.

Visual Studio Magazine writer and professional coder Peter Vogel wrote about Uno Platform a couple months ago ("Write Once, Run Everywhere with .NET and the Uno Platform") in his Practical .NET column. "Right now, in Visual Studio, you can create a solution that takes a single UI with its code and shares it across Windows, Android, macOS, iOS and web browsers," Vogel said. "It's not a perfect cross-platform solution (yet), but it's here now."

A highlight of the update is a preview of Linux support, which means Uno Platform will work on all the major platforms. It does this through a variety of schemes for each:

  • On iOS, Android and macOS, it relies on the current Xamarin Native stack (not Xamarin.Forms), which will be a part of the future .NET 5 / .NET 6.
  • On WebAssembly (which powers client-side Blazor), it relies directly on the Mono-WASM runtime, a part of .NET 5.
  • On Linux, it relies on Skia to draw the UI on canvas.

Regarding the latter, the firm said, "You'll be able to create a template that includes Skia support for Linux using dotnet new templates, using Uno 3.1 latest pre-release nuget packages. To demonstrate that support, we developed an IoT demo application ... Snap) which leverages controls from Microsoft Windows Community Toolkit and runs as a snap on Ubuntu Core on a Raspberry Pi."

Other highlights of the release include:

  • Support for WinUI 3.0 Preview 2: The firm said this furthers it commitment to bring WinUI everywhere while releasing in lock-step with WinUI releases.
  • Fluent and Material Design System support: New apps come with this pre-configured, across mobile, web or desktop. The support includes new guidance.
    Fluent and Material Design System
    [Click on image for larger view.] Fluent and Material Design System (source: Uno Platform).
  • Uno Gallery: This collection of ready-to-use Fluent and Material code snippets is aimed at speeding up multi-platform development.
  • JetBrains Rider Support: This adds to previous support for Visual Studio on Windows and Mac, and Visual Studio Code, which the company said completes the list of most popular IDEs used by C# developers.
  • Uno Fluent UI Assets
  • Many macOS improvements
  • Performance Improvements and Benchmarking System
  • Windows 7 support via Skia, adding to already-announced Windows 7 EOL WASM workaround.
  • A new Udemy course: Introduction to Uno Platform course, courtesy of a contributor

All of the above and more is covered in more detail in a blog post published last week, and the full, quite long list of improvements is available on the project GitHub repo.

About the Author

David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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