Microsoft Rebrands UI Fabric to Fluent UI

Posted on March 13, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Cloud, Dev with 6 Comments

Microsoft announced today that it is renaming UI Fabric to Fluent UI to simplify and consolidate its design language branding.

“We’re simplifying our story to collectively rally around a single UI library for our web components, Fluent UI,” the Microsoft 365 Team writes in a new post to the Microsoft 365 Developer Blog. “We’ve evolved Microsoft to speak a common language through a shared design system. Fluent UI will directly connect that effort to a broad set of products, through code, specifically the convergence of our most used web engineering frameworks, Fabric and Stardust.”

Confused? You’re not alone. So let me try to muddle through this.

Microsoft describes Fluent, broadly, as its “design-to-code system.” It’s a “coherent, efficient, and effective” foundation that’s shared by design and engineering, and to date, it’s been most closely associated with the Fluent Design System, which is the design part of that foundation, a common user experience that (hopefully) works across multiple endpoints and form factors.

Fluent UI hits on the engineering end of the Fluent spectrum, as I understand it. It is replacing two previous frameworks, Fabric and Stardust, the former of which I believe was originally called Office Fabric.

“This [change] allows our teams to collectively work together on a shared code base with a shared set of build and development tools to support our products and community more efficiently,” the post continues. “It also allows us to get to a single UI library for Microsoft 365.”

The first major release of the newly-renamed Fluent UI is expected in summer 2020, Microsoft says. After that, it will focus on performance and theming.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Microsoft Rebrands UI Fabric to Fluent UI”

  1. christian.hvid

    While it's encouraging that Microsoft is finally working towards a coherent design system, like Google has Material Design and Apple has whatever-their-abomination-is-called, perhaps it would make sense to redesign first and rename later? UI Fabric looks nothing like Fluent UI (Fabric looks a lot better, IMHO), so having them share the same name is bound to be confusing.

  2. Rob_Wade

    I find this all humorous. Pointless and humorous. As with all their previous "design languages" and "branding", this will last a day or two and then they'll be off to something else that is as fluffy and inconsequential to the user. They already crapped all over the Windows 8 experience -- which I loved immensely, by the way -- in favor of going backward, in my opinion. But I have no confidence in whatever their plans are because you can't depend on anything they're doing to have any sort of staying power. They don't care about consumers, in the end.

  3. Truffles

    Lets hope fluent isn't effluent and makes us affluent.

  4. Usman

    UI Fabric / Office Fabric, is the UI used in and many O365 applications.

    Around 2017, they had Office Fabric and Microsoft Web Framework.

    Eventually 2 years later they decided to build on top of Office Fabric, and rename it to UI Fabric.

    Fluent is a design language, it has changed over the years from 2017, first it was transparency and depth, it was also Windows only. The priority focussed away from transparency, more towards depth, curves, flat colours / glowing gradient.

    Fluent then took influence from Office Fabric and most of fluent design was starting to be dictated from the Office Fabric UI Team. It made sense to take an existing and widely used UI framework + components that were being used across Office 365 applications rather than to start one from scratch.

    Office Fabric became Fabric UI because it was used across other Microsoft services like Azure Dashboard, Microsoft Partner Network, Azure DevOps etc.

    The Fabric UI was then updated with fluent design consistency, such as rounded corners, borders around squircles, common radius for curves, shorter pill length etc.

    Now we're here, renamed to Fluent UI , a web framework that looks consistent and is used across many Microsoft Web services.

  5. rmac

    Another step in the right direction, but just look at this MS artwork which has become endemic across the entire MS tech sites: pointless, indistinguishable and unmemorable, it conveys precisely nothing.

  6. scottkuhl

    The fact that all the useful components of this framework are built on React is very limiting to its adoption. I still don’t understand why the Office team is steering all Microsoft web design down that road. They should have made it more agnostic like Bootstrap. But then search for WinStrap and what a disaster that was. At least there seems to be some movement toward web components but not much.