With Microsoft’s introduction of WinUI 3.0 and the promise of a new web application project named WinUI UWP, the subject of “how to design a desktop application” becomes increasingly pertinent.
While many of you are already familiar with UWP and WinUI, this post will explain what WinUI and WinUI 3.0 are, how they vary from existing Microsoft desktop frameworks, and how to pick the best one for your purposes.
What is UWP?
The term “UWP” refers to the Universal Windows Platform. According to Microsoft, Windows 10 brings the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), which provides a uniform app platform across all Windows 10 devices. On all Windows devices, the UWP core APIs are the same.
As a result, UWP has APIs that enable you as a developer to target any device that supports Windows 10. This way, you can create your application once and deploy it to any Windows 10 device, including PCs, tablets, and HoloLens.
Because UWP is delivered as part of Windows, successive versions featured bug patches, performance enhancements, and additional user interface features. However, not everyone can afford to update the current version of Windows, and Microsoft determined that it would be better if the UI library were detached from Windows. As a result, WinUI was born. Consider it an API taken from UWP to make updating it easier.
What exactly is WinUI?
Windows UI Library: the newest Windows 10 native widgets and Fluent designs for your apps, according to Microsoft. Currently, wine is available in two versions: 2.0 and 3.0.
WinUI 2.0, the most recent official version, may be utilised to construct UWP store applications. You may include WinUI components into your current desktop apps using technologies such as XAML Islands, although the process is not as smooth.
What is WinUI 3.0?
WinUI 3.0 is a significant upgrade to WinUI 2.0, extending its scope to embrace the Windows 10 native UI platform, which is now completely detached from the UWP SDK. This implies that you will be able to design desktop applications with WinUI 3.0 like you currently do with WPF or WinForms. As of this writing, only Windows 10 is supported.
After the official release of WinUI 3.0,.NET developers will have various alternatives for developing desktop applications:
- Creating a desktop application in WinUI 3.0.
- Developing a desktop application in WPF.
- Creating a desktop application using WinForms.
- Developing a desktop application in MFC.
- Developing a Windows 32-bit desktop application.
What is WinUI UWP?
This UWP application references and utilises Win UI 3.0 components, enabling us to develop a performant UWP application with a beautiful UI that adheres to the Fluent design approach. In Visual Studio 2019 Preview, the new project type WinUI UWP is available.
How is it Different from a Standard UWP Application?
It is a Universal Windows Platform application with pre-added references to Microsoft. UI assembly. However, the primary change is that WinUI 3.0 APIs are located in Microsoft. UI namespace rather than Windows. UI namespace means that when copying and pasting example code, you may need to update the namespaces.
Similarly, modules and components make use of Windows UI features. Xaml files are incompatible with WinUI 3.0 and must be updated to the latest version available from Microsoft.UI.Xaml
WinForms vs. WPF vs. WinUI UWP
While Windows Forms enables developers to create complicated desktop applications, if you want a modern appearance and feel, high DPI support, and flexibility, you may wish to explore WPF or UWP. However, you still have alternatives to attractive user interfaces, such as the contemporary themes included with WinForms.
It’s also worth noting that WinForms applications can operate on operating systems where UWP applications cannot. And because both WPF and UWP enable us to develop more contemporary user interfaces and provide a slew of benefits.
Let’s take a deeper look at them. Because WinUI is a critical component of developing UI with UWP and WinUI 3.0 represents the future of WinUI, we will compare WPF and UWP apps developed with WinUI 3.0 directly.
How is WPF superior to a WinUI 3.0 application?
- To begin, it is a more solid foundation that has been demonstrated over time.
- Additionally, there are several resources and third-party components for WPF. This third-party library extends the framework with over 140 components and 20 contemporary themes, all of which have Fluent-style design.
- Moreover, it supports Windows versions before Windows 10.
UWP has various limitations that the app can’t get around. Several examples include the following:
- Access to the filesystem is restricted to libraries.
- App Capabilities specify how resources are accessed. This demonstrates the App’s capabilities to the user.
- It is prohibited to start processes/services.
- Interprocess communication is strictly prohibited.
How is a WinUI UWP application superior to a WinForms or WPF application?
In a nutshell, it delivers applications a contemporary appearance and feel with the Fluent Design pattern and is built on C++, making it more performant than WPF applications. Thus, the following are the benefits of the following WinUI apps:
- The Fluent Design System enables the development of contemporary desktop apps. This is one of the primary benefits of the new desktop applications. Improved user interface that is more intuitive and entertaining.
- Touch-friendly interface.
- Memory and speed optimisations.
- More engaging due to the incorporation of animations.
- Managed code is often slower and consumes more memory in WPF applications than native code. .NET Native is used in building UWP applications written in C# or VB. As a result, the program performs virtually identically to a native app.
Microsoft presently provides us with several technologies for developing desktop applications, but if you want to focus on a modern appearance and feel, experimenting with WinUI 3.0 is the best course of action.