The Future of Windows Apps, Demystified

The Future of Windows Apps, Demystified

The Future of Windows Apps, Demystified. Microsoft’s erratic product naming strategy is legendary. My favorite example is Microsoft account, the-future-of-windows-apps-demystified.

How Project Reunion, .NET MAUI, and WinUI fit together

Microsoft’s erratic product naming strategy is legendary. My favorite example is Microsoft account, with its hodgepodge of company brands. (It was Microsoft Passport, then .NET Passport, then Microsoft Passport Network, then Windows Live ID. I may have missed a few.)

I’d like to say that — somewhere on the way to reinventing itself with a collection of cross-platform, open-source developer products — Microsoft changed its ways. But that would be wishful thinking. And nowhere is the problem clearer than in the world of Windows apps, where .NET 6 is poised to add even more buzzwords to an already crowded field. Project Reunion and .NET MAUI are the newest examples, but they draw on many initiatives that have come before, from WinForms to Xamarin to UWP.

In other words, there’s a lot to sort through before you can even consider building a new native Windows or cross-platform desktop app on the .NET stack. Here’s my attempt to put it all in perspective.

Three overall themes of .NET 6

Before we get into the gritty details of these different technologies, it’s worth stepping back to survey the landscape and ask “What is .NET 6 trying to accomplish in the application space?”

Although there’s no simple (or single) answer, three overall themes have emerged:

  • For native Windows apps. Break down the barriers between the many different desktop UI frameworks.
  • For cross-platform native apps. Provide a unified model for mobile and desktop apps, and streamline it with features like single-project development.
  • For browser-based web apps. Provide lightweight containers that let you run web apps outside of the browser, desktop style (think Electron).

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