Welcome MAUI, Goodbye Xamarin.Forms

Exploring the Evolution Beyond Xamarin.Forms

 Pawan Sharma 
 Oct 26, 2023 

Category:  App Development

.NET MAUI (Multi-platform App UI) is a cross-platform framework developed by Microsoft for building native applications for various platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows, using a single codebase. It's an evolution of the Xamarin.Forms framework, designed to simplify the process of creating applications that run on multiple platforms while providing a native user experience.

.NET MAUI - Mobile App Development

.NET MAUI (Multi-platform App UI) is a cross-platform framework developed by Microsoft for building native applications for various platforms, including iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows, using a single codebase. It's an evolution of the Xamarin.Forms framework, designed to simplify the process of creating applications that run on multiple platforms while providing a native user experience.

Why .NET MAUI?

There are several reasons why you might choose .NET MAUI for your app development:

Single Codebase: With .NET MAUI, you can write your application's logic and user interface once and have it work across multiple platforms. This can significantly reduce development time and maintenance efforts compared to building separate native apps for each platform.

Native Experience: .NET MAUI applications provide a native user experience on each platform. The framework leverages platform-specific APIs and features to ensure that your app feels and performs like a native app, regardless of the device it's running on.

Productivity: .NET MAUI offers a wide range of controls and layouts that allow you to create complex user interfaces easily. The XAML markup language and the MVVM (Model-View-View-Model) architecture are used to separate the user interface from the business logic, promoting better code organization and maintainability.

Performance: While some cross-platform frameworks may introduce performance overhead due to abstractions, .NET MAUI aims to provide good performance by optimizing the execution of your code and minimizing the impact of cross-platform abstractions.

Ecosystem: .NET MAUI is part of the larger .NET ecosystem, which means you can use existing .NET libraries, tools, and resources in your application. This can speed up development and provide access to a rich set of functionality.

Xamarin Legacy: If you're already familiar with Xamarin development, transitioning to .NET MAUI might be a natural progression. .NET MAUI builds upon the foundations of Xamarin, so developers who have experience with Xamarin.Forms will find many concepts and patterns familiar.

Community and Support: Being a Microsoft-backed technology, .NET MAUI benefits from active development, regular updates, and a strong community. This ensures that you have access to resources, tutorials, and support to help you overcome challenges during development.


MAUI Architecture


.NET MAUI Vs. Xamarin

.NET MAUI is an evolution of the Xamarin Forms, and if one has used the latter to build cross-platform user interfaces, one would have noticed many similarities with .NET MAUI. However, there are many differences as well. The shift to Microsoft MAUI from Xamarin allows developers to create code without emphasizing much on the device, allowing them to focus on performance, design consistency, and desktop app features.

  1. Project Structure:

    .NET MAUI uses a single project structure instead of juggling multiple projects simultaneously. The developers work on a single codebase that can be assigned to various operating systems to fine-tune the platform-specific features and capabilities. This allows them to focus on writing, debugging, and improving the code without worrying about device-specific aspects. On the other hand, Xamarin uses separate projects for each platform, making it more time-consuming and arduous.

  2. Supported Platforms and Versions:

    One of the critical differences between MAUI and Xamarin is in their support for Windows. Xamarin supports UWP, whereas MAUI supports Win UI.

  3. Renderer and Handler Architectures:

    NET MAUI uses handler architecture coupled with a native assembly resulting in a lightweight, high-performance app. In Xamarin, controls are made with renderers. This requires the developers to use a custom renderer if they want to customize a native controls’ UI, which takes up the costs heavily for performance and app size.

  4. Additional Application Pattern:

    Xamarin Forms use Model-View-View-Model (MVVM) pattern. In addition to this, .NET MAUI is extended with the Model-View-Update (MVU) pattern. Having both patterns at their disposal allows the developers to deliver the best product more effectively.

  5. Hot Reload Support:

    Hot reload is a popular feature that simplifies and streamlines the coding process and shortens the stages of the mobile app development cycle. In .NET MAUI, complete support for .NET hot reloads for C# and XAML is available. Xamarin does not support .NET hot reloads for C# (UWP has limited support for runtime edits using .NET’s edits and continue feature), and XAML hot load is still in the experimental stage.

  6. Graphic APIs:

    Xamarin does not offer direct API to fulfill drawing or painting requirements. One has to do it on the native side using renderers. MAUI extends its capabilities and comes with graphics functionality that lets designers use the elements on the in-built canvas to create unique and original designs.

  7. Blazor Apps:

    Blazor, one of the most popular programming models for web apps, can be utilized using the MAUI framework to develop interactive native desktop apps in C# and HTML. As opposed to this, developing Blazor hybrid apps is not possible in Xamarin.

  8. Resource Maintenance:

    .NET MAUI has evolved from Xamarin regarding resources, specifically for images. Unlike Xamarin, it has done away with the need to maintain a set of images for the platform or device-specific needs. A single SVG image is enough to meet all platform and device requirements, which is converted into a .png image format to work across platforms.

  9. Multiple Windows:

    In .NET MAUI, multiple windows can be opened simultaneously on iOS on iPad, Android, Windows, and Mac Catalyst. Xamarin does not offer this support.


Tags 
  • MAUI
  • .NET

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