The next evolution of Xamarin is here – .NET Multi-platform App UI (MAUI). Over the past few years, .NET has grown tremendously in the mobile and desktop application space. Now you can use .NET to build apps for iOS, Android, macOS and Windows. .NET MAUI is the future of Xamarin. Forms and mobile apps development. It comes with a single project structure for all platforms, new UI patterns for building consistent user experiences, simplified APIs, and more. In this blog post we’ll also discuss what MAUI is, Its features, benefits, and tips for using MAUI framework for developing and designing great applications that run across different platforms.
What is .NET Multi-platform App UI
MAUI Framework is used to develop cross-platform apps using C# programming language. It provides the developer with an easy way to create native UIs for Android, iOS, MacOS, and Windows 10 platforms. The framework also supports .NET Standard 2.0 which makes it compatible with other Xamarin components like Xamarin Forms and Xamarin Native.
MAUI is a set of UI controls that are designed to feel familiar and intuitive to developers, regardless of the platform they’re targeting. The MAUI UI framework provides a way for you to build cross-platform apps that follow modern app patterns, with the same look and feel across all supported platforms.
As a universal framework, it allows you to share most of your business logic code between platforms while keeping portions that are specific to a certain OS separate from other parts of the application such as layout or styling rules.
IDEs and Tools for Developing MAUI Application
If you’re looking for an IDE to develop your apps with, there are several options that support MAUI:
Visual Studio – The free version is available for all Windows users. It Includes support for Xamarin. Forms and .NET Standard 2.0 (previously known as PCL), which allow you to write code once, publish it on multiple platforms, and reuse the code in other applications.
Visual Studio for Mac – The Free version is available with limited functionality (e.g., no Azure services) while the full Visual Studio suite provides more features and functions to developers.
Who can use MAUI Framework?
The MAUI Framework is a multi-platform framework that can be used to build modern web applications. It’s suitable for any developer who wants to build native applications for multiple platforms using a single code base, or who wants to create modern apps with a single developer experience.
You can use MAUI Framework to build mobile apps for iOS and Android. It’s a new way of building cross-platform apps, without having to learn Objective-C or Java. You can use the same codebase on both platforms, but each platform will compile and run as native code. This means that you get performance and quality comparable to a native app, at a much lower cost.
Transitioning from Xamarin. Forms to .NET MAUI
The transition from Xamarin. Forms to .NET MAUI is quite easy and straightforward. The biggest difference between the two frameworks is the tools you use to make your applications, as well as which platforms they run on.
Because of this, it’s easy to migrate your existing Xamarin. Forms code to .NET MAUI. However, a lot has changed since the days when Xamarin was the only cross-platform framework. MVU and MVVM are now the modern app patterns of choice and they have some significant differences from traditional MVC/MVVM implementations e.g., in MVU there is no Controller.
The good news is that you can still use both patterns while developing apps with .NET MAUI. Microsoft MAUI UI developers team took care to make sure that even though app developers will be moving away from Xamarin Forms as the underlying rendering stack, they will not lose any existing functionality or change how the UI works when using MVU or MVVM patterns with .NET MAUI projects.
Single Project Developer Experience
Single project developer experience means that you have a single solution with a single codebase that can compile to multiple platforms. This enables you to build an application for any platform. A single project developer experience ensures that you won’t have to spend time learning about different platforms for each aspect of your app when developing for more than one platform. It also means you’ll be able to use the same API surface area across all three major platforms without having to worry about additional dependencies or configuration changes between them.
One of the key advantages of .NET Core is its consistent, cross-platform architecture. This feature allows developers to build an application once and deploy it anywhere—whether it’s Windows, macOS or Linux. With multi-platform app UI, this concept extends to end-user experiences as well. In other words: You can build the same app UI once and deploy it across any platform that supports .NET Core.
Modern App Patterns (MVU and MVVM)
When designing your app, the UI part of the app is where you’ll spend most of your time. MVU and MVP are design patterns for building cross-platform apps in C#. Both Model View Update (MVU), and Model View View Model (MVVM) provide ultimate design pattern options, but MVVM offers some better benefits over MVU such as being easier to test and it’s more flexible with data binding.
The MAUI framework consists of two components:
1) Classic XAML – This represents the core of the platform which provides a markup language for defining the UI layout, properties, and events of controls.
2) Modern XAML – This component provides support for modern app patterns such as MVU (Model View Update), MVVM (Model View View Model), Medial Presentation Model (MPM), etc.
The Main Features of MAUI Framework include:
1) Intuitive Interface: The framework provides an intuitive interface that can be used by all types of users irrespective of their experience level. This makes it easy for developers who are new to the platform as well as experienced ones to develop applications quickly.
2) Native Look and Feel: The .NET Multi-platform App UI provides a native look and feel that makes it easy for users to use their devices without having any difficulty understanding how the application works or what it does.
3) Multi-Platform Support: This feature allows developers to build applications for different platforms such as Windows Phone, iOS, Windows 8&10, macOS, and Android.
5) Single code base which means that you have only one code base to maintain.
Benefits of using .NET Multi-Platform App UI (Maui)
Allows Sharing code with Xamarin
Xamarin is a cross-platform solution that enables you to write your code once and run it on multiple platforms. Because of this, Xamarin is a great tool for sharing code across platforms, especially if you’re working with .NET technologies.
Microsoft has been integrating Xamarin into Visual Studio for some time now, so if you want to use the latest version of .NET Framework on iOS and Android devices, then Maui is the way to go!
Support for Web Assembly
Web Assembly or Wasm, is a low-level bytecode format designed to be highly performant and safe by design. It’s supported by all major browsers and has been optimized for maximum performance.
Web Assembly is a safe and efficient way to run code in the browser. With Maui, you can now use .NET libraries on Web Assembly without having to wrap each library into a new framework. Since Wasm is string-based, it’s also easy for developers to manipulate or deploy bytecode if they wish to do so.
MAUI Features of both WPF and UWP
Maui is a .NET-based multi-platform UI framework that allows you to share code between Windows apps and Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps. It supports the same set of input devices and has the same core set of UI controls as WPF and UWP. This means that you can take advantage of Maui’s features in your desktop app, mobile app, or both!
One thing most developers love about Maui is its support for both touch and mouse/keyboard interactions out-of-the-box. This makes it easy for users to navigate an application without having to learn how it works first.
Compatible across multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, and Linux.
The .NET Framework is a general-purpose development platform maintained by Microsoft with versions for Windows 10 and other operating systems such as macOS and Linux. You can build apps using C# or F# that run on any version of the framework (including .NET Core). Maui builds upon this compatibility to deliver a single codebase for both mobile and web apps that are compatible across multiple platforms.
10 Tips for using .NET Multi-Platform App UI for application development
1) Use MAUI to Design your app for all platforms
The good news is that you do not need to create a separate design for each platform when using MAUI. In fact, it’s a good idea to keep your app design consistent across all platforms so that your application looks and feels familiar to users no matter where they run it. This will help you avoid problems like having your users struggle with navigation when they switch from one device or operating system to another.
Your designs can still take advantage of platform-specific UI controls by using .NET Multi-Platform App UI and the XAML language. For example, Windows uses ListViews for displaying collections of items in lists; iOS uses UITableViews for doing the same thing; Android uses RecyclerViews; and Linux uses RecyclerViews as well (with a few minor differences).
-Application development starts with you designing your app.
Before you start to code, it’s important to plan your application with a user experience (UX) in mind. UX is all about designing an app that will be easy and intuitive for users to use. You don’t want your UI to interrupt users while they’re using your app. As part of this process, you need to think about:
- The user journey: what they do when they first open the app and how they progress through their tasks.
- The user interface (UI): how the different elements of the application work together.
- The look-and-feel: making sure that everything feels consistent across platforms.
2) Pick the right toolkits and frameworks
Xamarin is one of the most popular development tools for C# and .NET. It lets you create native applications for Android, iOS, macOS, and Windows from a single codebase. Xamarin offers two main UI toolkits: Xamarin. Forms and Native UI.
Xamarin. Forms is a cross-platform mobile UI framework that allows you to build shared code that works across all device types, but it’s also possible to create custom native user interfaces for each platform using Xamarin’s other tool, Native UI which uses C#.
3) Choose the best UI controls
The first thing to do when designing a new application is to choose the right UI controls for the UI of your project.
To help you make this choice, here are some tips:
- Use the right controls for the right job. There are many different types of controls available that can be used to create applications in C# or VB, but not all will work well in every scenario. Some tools have been designed specifically to handle certain tasks and should therefore be used over alternatives because they would provide a better user experience (UX).
- For example, using a button control with text on it is fine if you’re making an application where users will only have time to glance at what they need before clicking it (such as an ad). However, if there’s more design time available then an icon might work better since it conveys information at one glance instead of two.
4) Create support for multiple screen sizes and orientations
If you’re building a cross-platform application, then it is likely that you will need to support different screen sizes. To do this, you will need to factor in the following:
- Screen size
- Screen orientation
- Screen resolution
- Screen density (or pixel density)
- Pixel ratio (better known as the PPI or pixels per inch)
- Plan for navigation differences across platforms – The navigation experience is different on each platform and you need to plan well for this.
With .NET MAUI, you can build an application that fits all screens.
5) Create a responsive design
- Responsiveness is an important part of designing for multiple screen sizes.
- If a design looks good on a desktop, but doesn’t fit on a mobile device, users will have to scroll and zoom in order to use your application. This can make an interface feel clunky and difficult to use.
- Ensure that your UI elements are aligned properly across all screen sizes by using .NET Multi-Platform App UI Responsive Design controls such as TableView and ListView to create adaptive tables that adjust depending on the resolution of the device they’re being viewed on.
6) Learn the lifecycle and structure of an MAUI app.
With a MAUI app, you will work with two core components:
- The View Model. This is the data and logic that controls the user interface. It can also be used to interact with any services or APIs that your app uses.
- The View. This is what users see on their screens when they run your app—it’s built with Xamarin.Forms and provides a common UI for all platforms (Android, iOS, Windows Phone, etc).
7) Learn about how to use layouts in your app.
Layouts are the way you add structure to your app. They can be used to organize your content into different sections of the UI, and they can be used to define how the user navigates between different pages in the app.
The concept of layouts is similar to that of CSS grid system, except it’s much more powerful because it allows for more granular control over how each element fits together.
For example, if you want an image on one side of a layout, but text wrapping around it on the other side, then you could use two separate layouts with a shared set of elements (such as buttons) and just swap which layout is rendered depending on where images exist within your application.
8) Use Xamarin forms controls to build your app interface.
Xamarin offers a rich set of cross-platform UI components that you can use to build the user interfaces for your apps. This includes native iOS, Android, and Windows controls, as well as a wide variety of additional custom and third-party components that can be used across all three platforms with little or no platform-specific code.
9) Add navigation to your app.
Navigation is a key part of the user experience. It’s what users use to move between pages, sections, and screens in your app. The navigation system provided by MAUI apps makes it easy to create navigation that fits your design and your content.
10) Consume data in your app UI with data binding.
One of the most important things to do when designing your app is to keep your data and your UI in sync. This can be done with data binding, which is a way to connect your data to your UI and keep it up-to-date automatically as changes are made. Let’s say that you want to display the user’s name on the screen. You might write some code like this:
var name = new Person().FirstName + ” ” + Person().LastName;
_titleLabel.Text = name;“`
Building applications with MAUI is fun!
- MAUI is a great way to build cross-platform apps. If you’ve been developing for Android, iOS, and Windows apps in C# or Java before, this will be a familiar approach for you. You can use all your favorite tools like Visual Studio and Xamarin Studio or if you prefer an IDE that runs on macOS or Linux, download one from the internet and install it.
- Using the same codebase across platforms means having consistent UI designs across devices and easy maintenance of new features; plus, there will be fewer bugs due to fewer changes between versions while still being able to target different OS versions.
After reading this post, I hope you are excited to start building native cross-platform applications using the latest version of the MAUI Framework. MAUI is an evolution of Xamarin that allows developers to build native iOS, Android, and Windows applications using C# in a single IDE such as Visual Studio. Developers will now be able to use their existing knowledge of XAML and Data Binding which means that if you are familiar with Xamarin.Forms, then you will be able to use MAUI smoothly without difficulties.