WinUI 3 is (Still) Delayed to Spring 2021

Posted on July 16, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Dev, Windows 10 with 23 Comments

With the release today of WinUI 3 Preview 2, Microsoft has effectively delayed the final release from November 2020 to sometime in early 2021. (Update: It looks like this delay dates back to May, during Build and the WinUI 3 Preview 1 release. –Paul)

WinUI 3, as you may recall, is the primary component of Microsoft’s Project Reunion, a modern replacement for the Universal Windows Platform (UWP) and a way to bring APIs and capabilities that were previously stuck in UWP to all Windows developers. The WinUI bits are focused solely on the user interface.

Microsoft announced WinUI 3 in late 2019 alongside its first alpha preview and promised at that time to deliver the final shipping version by the end of 2020. It then provided a Preview 1 release in May 2020 during the Build conference.

Today, we get WinUI 3 Preview 2, which Microsoft describes as a “quality and stability-driven release.” The biggest change, from what I can see, is that it’s now compatible .NET 5 Preview 5 for Desktop apps, but there’s a long list of changes for the curious in the release notes. It also looks just as tedious to set up and use as was Preview 1, so I’ll probably just skip out on this one for now.

The bigger news, to my mind, is the update to the schedule: Microsoft now expects to ship Preview 3 “this fall” (possibly during Ignite, I guess) and is describing that release as “a fun and exciting release [that will] be packed with new features and capabilities.” But a new schedule slide, shown above, provides even more details.

First, Preview 3 will be followed by a new WinUI 3 November release that takes the place of what was originally the final release. This release will be the first prerelease version to support a “Go Live” license meaning that developers can use this version to create production code. And it will be open-sourced by Microsoft.

Second, the final release has been pushed back several months to “Spring 2021.” There’s no further news on that beyond the fact that it clearly needed more time in development. And that’s fine: WinUI 3 is an important release, and it Microsoft is smart to try and get this one right.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “WinUI 3 is (Still) Delayed to Spring 2021”

  1. ghostrider

    I can tell you one thing right now, whatever MS try this time, it won't make any difference. None whatsoever. Devs have just moved on.

    • illuminated

      In reply to ghostrider:

      Where have these people moved on?

      There are people still stuck with WPF, WinForms and even UWP apps.

      • rob_segal

        In reply to illuminated:

        They moved on to the web, iOS, and Android.

        • gavinwilliams

          In reply to rob_segal:

          Well, the web is a thing, but it's hardly an application platform. I'm certainly not spending my time playing web-games or using Photoshop-Online.


          As for mobile, we know now that mobile isn't going to take over the world, it's just another wedge of the pie. AMD made the same mistake thinking the world was going mobile and they abandoned desktop. Of course they eventually realized how wrong they were, and now we have Ryzen and are experiencing a renaissance in desktop processing power.

          • rob_segal

            In reply to GavinWilliams:

            Mobile has already taken over the world. IOS and Android are larger ecosystems with larger user bases than Windows. That gap will only continue growing. XCloud will exit preview and cloud gaming will only grow. Other types of apps will follow in the future. PWA's are already here. That will only get better.

            • Fuller1754

              In reply to rob_segal:

              Mobile's "takeover" of the world seems massively exaggerated. Everyone uses mobile devices, but they use them in parallel with PCs, not as replacements. Also, two things about the iOS and Android ecosystems. First, they're very large in terms of number of users and number of available programs, but this does not mean that programs aren't being developed for Windows and Mac. Again, it's not either/or. Second, iOS and Android are no longer mobile systems exclusively. The rise of Chromebook and the iPad Pro show that developers for iOS and Android are developing for both mobile- and PC-style devices. The Chromebook is a (crippled) PC. The iPad Pro is more PC than mobile device. Who writes reports, blogs, books, or letters on an iPhone? Nobody. Who balances the firm's accounts, does payroll, analyses weather patterns, or does legal research on their Moto G? Nobody. Mobile devices are great for communicating, but they don't do what PCs do. They aren't meant to. Different devices for different applications. PCs are still used by almost everyone and always will be. They may not be Windows PCs forever, but they'll be PCs and they'll be around.

            • saint4eva

              In reply to rob_segal:

              PCs sales is on the increase, while that of phones is just still.

              • rob_segal

                In reply to saint4eva:

                Comparing smartphone sales to PC sales is a losing proposition for the PC. So is comparing the user base and engagement. There's still a place in the world for the PC, just a smaller one than smartphones or the web.

                • reefer

                  In reply to rob_segal:

                  Still very much a place in the world for the PC as we now have seen during the pandemic. When people want to do real work they do it on real computers. Not on content delivery devices (ie toys) like smartphones and tablets.


                  Still nothing beats a general purpose desktop for real work.

              • Paul Thurrott

                PC sales increased temporarily because of the lockdown. They're still a small percentage of smartphone sales and always will be.
            • codymesh

              In reply to rob_segal:

              Microsoft has a big developer presence in the cloud/web too...

    • darkgrayknight

      In reply to ghostrider:

      Devs have their preferences but they also work where needed. Businesses are still running Asp.Net web forms, along with WPF, WinForms, UWP, and all the other platforms and frameworks (Java, mobile apps: iOS/Swift, Andoid, Flutter, etc.)

      Microsoft's move with this is actually a very Pro Developer move. Build UI with whatever underlying platforms you either already have or want to build in.

  2. blue77star

    Looks promising, going to start on .NET 5 myself once it gets finalized.

  3. codymesh

    It's going to take a hercluan effort to clean up Windows' user experience at this point. I only wish them good luck.

  4. dotmorten

    How is that delayed? That's the exact same timeline that was communicated at build. From what I can tell the only thing that's delayed is the time the code will be open source. The go-live date and final release dates didn't change.

    Yes the release timeline got delayed, but that delay was announced at Build with Preview 1 - so this article is several months late.

    Here's the previous roadmap as proof: https://github.com/microsoft/microsoft-ui-xaml/blob/be641f00b2ec061ca34775e561bffc25b052410a/docs/images/winui-roadmap-img.PNG

  5. tonchek

    Sadly:

    This prerelease version of WinUI does not yet support ARM architectures.


  6. sherlockholmes

    “a fun and exciting release” lol. When was a Microsoft release fun in recent years?

  7. errzere

    I hope they implement and retool the whole windows 10 UI with this in the first release next year

  8. glenn8878

    Will this WinUI 3.0 apps work natively on Windows on ARM? This should be the key.