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Windows UI Library Roadmap

This document outlines the prospective roadmap for WinUI through 2019 and into early 2020. WinUI is under active development by the Microsoft developer platform team and the roadmap will continue to evolve based on market changes and customer feedback, so please note that the plans outlined here aren't exhaustive or guaranteed. We welcome your feedback on the roadmap: please feel free to contribute to existing issues - e.g. the WinUI 3.0 discussion issue - or file a new issue.

The WinUI team has two major efforts underway in 2019:

  1. WinUI 2.2: new controls and features for UWP apps, ETA Q3 2019

  2. WinUI 3.0: a major update to the Windows 10 UI platform, ETA Q4 2019 (preview release)

WinUI 2 (Q4 2019)

The next release of WinUI 2 will be WinUI 2.3.

2.3 will be an incremental release that includes new WinUI features and fixes for UWP apps on Windows 10.

You can see a list of currently planned work in the WinUI 2.3 milestone.

WinUI 2 will be superseded by WinUI 3 in early 2020. WinUI 3 will include all the controls and features in WinUI 2.

WinUI 3 (Q4 2019 - 2020)

Overview

You can watch the Build 2019 conference session State of the Union: The Windows Presentation Platform for more details: https://mybuild.techcommunity.microsoft.com/sessions/77008

Since Windows 8, the Windows UI platform - including the Xaml UI framework, visual composition layer, and input processing - has been shipped as an integral part of Windows.

Starting with WinUI 2 in 2018, we began also shipping some new Xaml UI controls and features as separate NuGet packages that build on top of the UWP SDK:

WinUI 2 platform

WinUI 3 will greatly expand the scope of WinUI to include the full UI platform, which will now be fully decoupled from the UWP SDK:

WinUI 3 platform

This means that the Xaml framework will now be developed on GitHub and ship out of band as NuGet packages.

The existing UWP Xaml APIs that ship as part of the OS will no longer receive new feature updates. They will still receive security updates and critical fixes according to the Windows 10 support lifecycle.

The Universal Windows Platform contains more than just the Xaml framework (e.g. application and security model, media pipeline, Xbox and Windows 10 shell integrations, broad device support) and will continue to evolve. All new Xaml features will just be developed and ship as part of WinUI instead.

Benefits of WinUI 3

WinUI 3 will provide a number of benefits compared to the current UWP Xaml framework, WPF, WinForms and MFC which will make WinUI the best way to create Windows app UI:

  1. The native UI platform of Windows
    WinUI is the highly-optimized native UI platform used to create Windows itself, now made more broadly available for all developers to use to reach Windows. It's a thoroughly tested and proven UI platform that powers the operating system environment and essential experiences of 800+ million Windows 10 PC, XBox One, HoloLens, Surface Hub and other devices.

  2. The latest Fluent Design
    WinUI is Microsoft's main focus for native, accessible Windows UI and controls and is the definitive source for the Fluent Design System on Windows.
    It will also have the latest lower-level composition and rendering innovations like vector animations, effects, shadows and lighting.

  3. Easier "a la carte" desktop development
    WinUI 3 will let you more easily mix and match the right combination of:

    • Language: .NET (C#, Visual Basic), standard C++
    • App model: UWP, Win32
    • Packaging: MSIX, AppX for the Microsoft Store, unpackaged
    • Interop: use WinUI 3 to extend existing WPF, WinForms and MFC apps with modern Fluent UI
  4. Backward compatibility for new features
    New WinUI features will continue to be backward-compatible with a wide range of Windows versions: you can start building and shipping apps with new features immediately as soon as they're released, without having to wait for your users to update Windows. WinUI 3.0 should be backward-compatible to Creators Update (15063) on Windows 10, plus limited support on Windows 8.1.

  5. Native development support
    WinUI can be used with .NET, but doesn't depend on .NET: WinUI is 100% C++ and can be used in unmanaged Windows apps, for example using standard C++17 via C++/WinRT.

  6. More frequent updates
    WinUI will continue to ship new stable versions 3x per year, with monthly prerelease builds.

  7. Open source development and community engagement
    WinUI will continue to be developed as an open source project on GitHub. WinUI 2 is already open source in this repo, and we plan to add the full WinUI 3 Xaml framework.
    You can engage directly with Microsoft's core engineering team and contribute bug reports, feature ideas, and even code: see the Contribution Guide for more info.
    You can also try out the monthly prerelease builds to see new in-development features and help shape their final form.

  8. A native Windows target for web and cross-platform frameworks
    WinUI 3 is better optimized for libraries and frameworks to build on.
    For example, we're planning to base the new high-performance C++ React Native Windows implementation on WinUI 3.

New Features in WinUI 3.0

Our primary focus for WinUI 3.0 is to decouple the UWP UI framework (Xaml, composition and input) while maintaining high compatibility with existing UWP APIs and behaviors to help make the update to WinUI 3.0 easy for existing UWP apps.

This means we won't be adding many new features in the first WinUI 3.0 release.

However, we are planning at least a few new features, including:

  1. Downlevel support (backward compatibility) for all existing features: new Xaml and Composition features that were added in the Windows May 2019 Update will now work on Creators Update and newer!
  2. A new Microsoft Edge (Chromium) WebView Xaml control
  3. Input validation support
  4. New Visual Studio 2019 app templates for different combinations of app type (Win32, UWP) and language (C#, C++)

Updating your apps to use WinUI 3.0

Creating a new WinUI app will be easy using the new Visual Studio 2019 project templates.

It should also be straightforward to add WinUI views to existing Win32 apps.

For existing UWP Xaml apps there will be some updates required when migrating to WinUI 3.0.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on the developer experience in the WinUI 3.0 discussion issue.

WinUI 3.0 Timelines and Milestones

We plan to release a prerelease version of WinUI 3.0 in Q4 2019 for public testing and feedback.

The first stable release of WinUI 3.0 is planned for 2020.

We're also working on open sourcing WinUI 3.0 as soon as we can.

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