Overview of Xamarin.Forms

Learn what Xamarin.Forms is and how it differs from .NET MAUI.

Xamarin.Forms is a predecessor of .NET MAUI. It's also a cross-platform user interface toolkit that enables developers to create native mobile applications for iOS and Android using a single shared codebase written in C#. It allows developers to build the UI once and deploy it to multiple platforms, saving time and effort in the development process.

Just like MAUI, Xamarin.Forms includes a wide range of pre-built UI controls, layouts, and templates that developers can use to create the UI of their mobile applications. These controls are designed to look and behave like native controls on each platform, so the resulting app looks and feels like a native app.

In addition to the pre-built controls, Xamarin.Forms also provides support for custom UI controls and styling, so developers can create unique and branded interfaces for their applications. The toolkit also offers support for data binding, MVVM architecture, and other features that simplify the development process and make it easier to build high-quality mobile apps.

Overall, Xamarin.Forms is a powerful tool for developers who want to build native mobile applications for multiple platforms using a single codebase.

How .NET MAUI is different from Xamarin.Forms

.NET MAUI is the successor to Xamarin.Forms and is designed to further improve the cross-platform mobile app development experience. Here are some ways in which .NET MAUI is better than Xamarin.Forms:

  • Native Controls: In Xamarin.Forms, the UI controls were designed to look and behave like native controls on each platform. In .NET MAUI, the controls are now truly native and have been rewritten to use the native controls and APIs provided by each platform. This means that apps built with .NET MAUI have a more native look and feel, as well as better performance.

  • Multiplatform support: While Xamarin.Forms was primarily designed for building mobile apps, .NET MAUI is designed to support multiple platforms, including mobile and desktop. This means that developers can use the same codebase to build apps for different platforms, making the development process more efficient.

  • Single project support: An application developed on Xamarin.Forms will always consist of multiple projects. There will be a project with a shared codebase; however, we'll also need a separate project for each target platform. With MAUI, we can do cross-platform development by using a single project. This significantly reduces the complexity of our code base.

  • Less verbose project files: Platform-specific projects in a Xamarin.Forms application used the old-style .NET Framework format in the project files, which was very verbose and hard to read. .NET MAUI, on the other hand, uses a newer SDK-style project file format, which contains much less markup and is much easier to understand.

  • Better tooling and productivity: .NET MAUI provides better tooling and productivity features for developers. For example, the new MAUI project templates provide a more streamlined and efficient way to create new projects. The new hot reload feature allows developers to see changes in the app immediately without having to rebuild the entire app.

  • Community-driven: .NET MAUI is being developed in an open-source manner, with contributions from the community. This means that the platform is being developed with the needs of the community in mind and is more likely to meet the needs of developers and end users.

Overall, .NET MAUI represents a significant improvement over Xamarin.Forms in terms of performance, multiplatform support, productivity features, and community involvement. It's a more powerful and flexible tool for building cross-platform apps. This is why it makes sense to migrate Xamarin.Forms applications to MAUI if developers intend to keep updating them.

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