WinUI 3.0 Preview 3 is Now Available

Posted on November 17, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Dev with 9 Comments

Microsoft announced today that the third preview of WinUI 3.0, its new user interface technology, is now available.

“Preview 3 has a similar installation and setup process to Preview 2, but requires an updated version of Visual Studio (16.9), which will automatically download the latest .NET 5 for you as well, if you are interested in building Desktop apps,” Microsoft’s Ana Wishnoff says of the release.

New in Preview 3 are ARM64 support, drag and drop inside and outside of apps, an improved developer experience with Hot Reload and IntelliSense support, Modern Resource Technology (MRT) Core support, custom cursor support, and off-thread input APIs.

As you may recall, Microsoft last year divided its Windows application development efforts into three layers—a UI layer, an API layer, and an app model—and WinUI 3 is the umbrella term for the first of those. One of the points of WinUI 3 is that it should work everywhere—with different application models like Win32, Windows Forms, and so on—and be updated separately from Windows 10 itself, solving the versioning problems caused by previous UI models.

The final release of WinUI 3 is now expected sometime in 2021. By that time, it will support additional features including .NET 5 for UWP apps, XAML Islands support, Windows 10X compatibility, UWP app title bar customization, Reveal Highlight and Acrylic, and more.

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Comments (9)

9 responses to “WinUI 3.0 Preview 3 is Now Available”

  1. rmac

    Paul - I'm very confused about WinUI 3 with a 2021 release schedule vs MAUI with a similar timeframe. Perhaps WinUI is a Windows specific subset under Xamarin led MAUI - are you able to shed any light? Thanks.

    • tsemo2020

      In reply to rmac:

      These two technologies have different objectives:

      WinUI is an actual "native" implementation of UI controls for Windows. For example, a WinUI AutoSuggestBox is a specific API that will draw a text box in Windows with auto-complete feature. This API is/will be available to all Windows apps (Win32 or UWP).

      MAUI (and Xamarin.Forms) is an abstraction layer to develop cross-platform apps. So, when the app developer wants to display a text box with auto-complete feature, they use MAUI's SearchBar which is an abstraction of that concept. When you open that app, MAUI will display the native control from your OS. On Android, that SearchBar concept will be translated into an "Android SearchView". On iOS, it will become a UISearchBar. And, on Windows, it will become an AutoSuggestBox.

    • Paul Thurrott

      My understanding is that WinUI 3 will arrive well before MAUI. I know the latter is scheduled for late 2021, but I expect that to slip too.
  2. garumphul

    The fact that in 2021 MS are still forced by their user and dev communities to support Win32 explains everything about Apple's success with their move to ARM.

  3. glenn8878

    WinUI 3 sounds like it should solve many UI issues, but it's a big mess in the background. They really need to move beyond Win32 while offering the same UI experience.

  4. eric_rasmussen

    I've tried the latest Flutter for Windows desktop applications support and it works surprisingly well. If I were building a GUI application for desktop OS's I would use Flutter. It works across mobile as well as web, Windows, Linux, and macOS. I don't understand why Microsoft is so resistant to making a UI library for .NET that works anywhere .NET runs.

  5. spiderman2

    "it will support additional features including .NET 5 for UWP apps,"

    can't wait for this !

  6. illuminated

    I am just glad I do not have to work with any UI code.

  7. flying_maverick

    Uno works everywhere -

    "The first and only UI Platform for single-codebase applications for Windows, WebAssembly, iOS, macOS, Android and Linux"

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