Yes, you read the title correctly. A recent announcement (May 2020) confirmed that Xamarin is being deprecated in favour of a new framework made by Microsoft.
Microsoft has a habit of absorbing third party companies that do a good job and reskinning it as a Microsoft product. That is pretty much what’s happening here. Xamarin was founded in 2011 and Microsoft announced they were going to buy it way back in 2014. Xamarin has seen increased community support since then as it allows developers to quickly start making apps without needing to learn multiple languages. Now, Microsoft have basically decided they want to scrap the Xamarin name and move it into their core product offering, starting with the release of .Net 6.
Let’s face it. 10 years shelf life is pretty good for a framework that has to constantly evolve to accommodate third party hardware. If Microsoft can learn from the challenges Xamarin faced in the last decade and make something robust to last another decade, i’m OK with it. If however, we just see a straight port, I will be less than impressed.
What is .Net MAUI?
.Net MAUI stands for Multiplatform App User Interface. It basically is Xamarin but with different names, integrating with .Net 6 and supports ‘all’ platforms including Mac, Linux, Windows,Android and iOS. We’ve not seen much in some of these spaces so it will be interesting to see how good this is when it goes into Preview. Preview is currently set for Q4 2020 but this is subject to change. I will be posting more about MAUI as and when it becomes available.
From the little that is in the public domain, it does look like a tidier way of working in Visual Studio though, with a single project that has ‘Platforms’ for subset code, potentially reducing the overhead of multiple project references and cluttered namespaces. It also supports MVVM out of the box, with options for MVU and Blazor.
For now, if you want to get involved and suggest features or simply see how they’re getting on, check out the Github page for the latest.
What about my current Xamarin Apps?
If you’re reading this it’s probably because of your exposure to Xamarin, not your excitement for MAUI. Right now, you are fine. .Net MAUI is not even in prerelease yet, and the anticipated roadmap puts the GA release to November 2021. Once MAUI is released though, you can expect the standard 12 month support window before they stop providing updates. If you are using Xamarin in Production and have Apps in the store, you are going to want to consider your upgrade plans because potentially November 2022 Xamarin is unsupported.
I’ve worked for companies who have built new Xamarin apps in recent years, so the knowledge that their investment in Xamarin hasn’t produced a product with the shelf life they’d hope for may come as a bitter blow. Personally, I would look to design a new app and or plan to port any existing apps after the first set of fixes, likely March 2022 but this doesnt give you a huge amount of time before the November 2022 cut off so keep an eye on the dates!
Once we get into Previews I will start blogging on it to evaluate how good it could be from a migration perspective but for now i’d suggest slowing down investment into Xamarin apps and prepping for a new build next year!