.NET MAUI: The Evolution of Xamarin and Your Next Step in Cross-Platform Mobile Development
When it comes to cross-platform app development, there’s a fresh face on the scene that’s taking the developer world by storm: .NET Multi-platform App UI, or .NET MAUI. Representing the evolution of Xamarin.Forms, .NET MAUI introduces a wide range of enhancements that make it a compelling proposition for ASP.NET developers. But what is .NET MAUI, how can you install it, and why should you consider making the switch from Xamarin? Let’s explore.
The Birth of .NET MAUI
.NET MAUI, unveiled at the Microsoft Build conference in May 2020, represents Microsoft’s latest stride in streamlining the process of building apps that run across multiple platforms with a single codebase. It was officially released in November 2022 as part of .NET 6.0.
How Do You Pronounce .NET MAUI
“.NET MAUI” is pronounced as “dot net Mow-ee”. Here, “.NET” is said as “dot net” and “MAUI” is pronounced similar to the name of the Hawaiian island, “Maui”, which sounds like “Mow-ee”.
Understanding the Connection: Xamarin and .NET MAUI
Xamarin, acquired by Microsoft in 2016, has been a popular tool for developing cross-platform mobile applications. Xamarin.Forms, a UI toolkit within the broader Xamarin framework, allowed developers to share even more code across platforms, particularly at the UI level.
.NET MAUI is the evolution of Xamarin.Forms and, to a broader extent, Xamarin itself. It takes the Xamarin.Forms concept further, offering a single stack to handle all your UI needs across platforms, and extending support from just mobile platforms (iOS and Android) to also include MacOS and Windows.
Does .NET MAUI Replace Xamarin?
In a sense, yes. .NET MAUI is not just a successor to Xamarin.Forms; it’s set to supersede Xamarin entirely. Xamarin development will be rolled into .NET as of .NET 6.0, and Xamarin.Forms will be evolved into .NET MAUI. However, Microsoft has promised continued support for Xamarin until November 2022.
How to Install .NET MAUI
Before installing .NET MAUI, ensure you have Visual Studio 2022 or later and .NET 6.0 SDK installed. Here’s a simple installation guide:
- Open Visual Studio Installer and update to the latest version.
- Click “Modify” on your Visual Studio installation.
- Navigate to the “Individual Components” tab and check “.NET MAUI (Preview)”.
- Click “Modify” and wait for the installation process to complete.
Why Developers Should Switch from Xamarin to .NET MAUI
.NET MAUI simplifies cross-platform development in several ways:
- Unified Project Structure: .NET MAUI offers a simplified project structure, which makes it easier to manage resources and assets for different platforms.
- Flexible Layouts: .NET MAUI introduces new layout options like the
GridLayout, providing more flexibility in designing your app’s UI.
- Improved Performance: .NET MAUI promises to deliver better performance than Xamarin.Forms due to architectural changes and an emphasis on rendering improvements.
- Native Features Access: .NET MAUI provides easier access to native features and UI controls, enhancing the look and feel of your application.
Looking Forward: .NET MAUI and ASP.NET Web Developers
.NET MAUI holds great promise for ASP.NET web developers looking to expand into cross-platform app development. It’s possible to share not just the business logic, but also the UI code across platforms, leading to increased productivity.
Additionally, with the introduction of Blazor WebView in .NET MAUI, developers can now use Blazor to build hybrid applications, combining the best of web and native UIs. This exciting addition opens up numerous possibilities for ASP.NET web developers keen on leveraging their existing skill set in the mobile world.
In conclusion, .NET MAUI represents a significant leap forward in the cross-platform development realm. While it marks the end of Xamarin as we know it, the transition to .NET MAUI opens a whole new world of possibilities, promising a streamlined, efficient, and more robust development experience.