Build2018: WinForms and .NET Core 3 announcement

08 May 2018

Yesterday, both as part of the general Microsoft Build announcements and a blog post from the .NET team, there was a fairly momentous announcement about the proposed .NET Core 3.

In brief, among a bunch of other features, .NET Core 3 will also come with “Desktop packs” for Windows development. These packs will target individual run-times, the main ones being WinForms and WPF, and, unlike .NET Core, will only work on Windows. However, instead of using the full .NET Framework, they will instead use .NET Core. I heartily recommend going to read that blog post for more details.

What I want to do here is to quickly address a couple of questions that you, our customers, may have.

First: this is just an announcement at this particular stage. The first beta release for this is slated for later on in the year, in the autumn, with a possible release of the finished framework in 2019.

Second: we do not have any bits from the .NET team as yet; we heard about this at exactly the same time as everyone else. At this stage, we really cannot comment on how much work would be required to ‘port’ our current set of WinForms and WPF controls over to these new Desktop packs. (I’m reminded as to how long it took Microsoft to get a semi-workable System.Drawing in ASP.NET Core so that we could finally add some kind of export facility.) Or even, to be brutally honest, whether it will be advantageous for us to do so. Remember that the Desktop packs will only work on Windows, this is not a universal panacea to create, say, Mac apps using WinForms.

Third: another part of the announcement was adding the ability for UWP controls to work in a WinForms or WPF app. Again, we can’t profitably promise anything about this until we have the beta.

So, in summary, we’re intrigued, we’ll wait until we have a workable beta, and then experiment and make our decisions. Stay tuned!

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