.NET MAUI Preview 12 emphasizes quality/stabilization and improves shell navigation – Visual Studio Magazine

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.NET MAUI Preview 12 emphasizes quality/stabilization, improves shell navigation

Like all major developer tool releases, Microsoft’s .NET MAUI now focuses primarily on quality and stabilization as the general availability date nears.

Unfortunately, all we know about this GA data is during Q2 2022, so it could be anytime from April 1 to June 30, following a release candidate expected to arrive next.

.NET MAUI is described as the evolution of Xamarin.Forms as it introduces support for desktop applications in addition to mobile. It was supposed to debut .NET 6 last November, but it slipped the schedule due to various issues.

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

The game-changing new product can still be put to the test now, through the use of the Visual Studio 2022 preview channel. This opens up all sorts of new possibilities, including new .NET MAUI Blazor hybrid apps that offer the best of both worlds, Blazor (web technology) and native. This allows, for example, mixing and matching Blazor UI components with native UI constructs (WinForms, WPF, etc.).

Mix and match native and web UI
[Click on image for larger view.] Mix and match native and web UI (source: Microsoft).

It also allows Blazor code to work with underlying platform resources, which a web application cannot. So, for Windows, this means that a Blazor component can access the local machine’s filesystem and even start native apps like MSPaint, Notepad, etc. This is detailed in the recent article “Edit Local Images/Text from a .NET MAUI Blazor Hybrid App”, which illustrates the functionality of a sample proof-of-concept application:

Test app
[Click on image for larger view.] Proof of concept app

As noted, the new Preview 12 – the second since .NET 6 GA – offers few new features.

“Today we are delivering Preview 12 of the .NET Cross-Platform Application UI with many quality improvements and new features,” said David Ortinau, Senior Program Manager on the team at development of the project, in a January 19 blog post. “As we approach the release of our first stable build, the balance of work is starting to shift towards quality improvements and stabilization, although there are still some interesting new things to highlight.”

Foremost among these is new documentation for app icons, app lifecycle, brushes, controls, and the single project.

Preview 12 also improves navigation in Shell, an application container or scaffold that provides URI navigation and a quick way to implement flyout menus and tabs, which was introduced in June 5 preview.

.NET MAUI Shell in animated action
[Click on image for larger, animated GIF view.] .NET MAUI Shell in animated action (source: Microsoft).

“.NET MAUI’s use of HostBuilder and powerful dependency injection were a highlight of the previews,” Ortinau said when discussing Shell’s capabilities. builder, and in this release thanks to the efforts of contributor Brian Runck, you can now use it!”

  • FlyoutView handler implemented on Android (#3513)
  • Added compatibility handlers for RelativeLayout and AbsoluteLayout (#3723)
  • Added Z Index property (#3635)
  • .NET 6 Unification — iOS Types (Issue)
  • Windows extended toolbar — non-shell (#3693)

All of the above and more is further explained in the release notes.

Going forward, the project roadmap shows what is planned for the next Release Candidate.

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

As the roadmap shows, there’s no “Preview 12” on the schedule, so apparently Microsoft added a preview and the RC is next, or this Preview 12 is the RC and either an RC2 or GA version is next. And, since the project is on a monthly preview schedule, it looks like there’s room for at least two more previews before a Q2 GA release. Microsoft always keeps you guessing.

In addition to the roadmap, the status of controls and features can be tracked in the project wiki.

To try out .NET MAUI, Ortinau recommended uninstalling all existing .NET6 and VS 2022 previews, then installing Visual Studio 2022 Preview (17.1 Preview 3). Then just make sure that the .NET MAUI workload (Preview 2 had three .NET MAUI workloads) is checked in the “Mobile development with .NET workload” section.

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David Ramel is an editor and writer for Converge360.

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