Xamarin.Forms ... for Desktops?

MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭

OK, I realize that I am opening up pandora's box here, but really, Xamarin.Forms is such a spectacular achievement, I can't help but to wonder its possibilities.

I am wondering if thought has been given to perhaps extending Xamarin.Forms' reach out into the Desktop in addition to the current mobile devices. Specifically, I am wondering if it's been considered to enable Xamarin Forms for WPF. The idea, of course, is to be able to reach the workstation/desktop market in addition to the mobile devices. For reference, here are two incredibly useful links that show the break down of the two marketplaces:

Mobile: http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=8&qpcustomd=1

Desktop: http://www.netmarketshare.com/operating-system-market-share.aspx?qprid=10&qpcustomd=0

Currently (from what I understand), Xamarin.Forms is not able to reach the desktop environment (please let me know if I have this wrong!), so at the end of the day, a development team would have to create yet another application to reach this market (defeating the whole vision/purpose of Xamarin.Forms).

It is also worth noting how little marketshare Windows 8.x has in the desktop market. I know that Xamarin is aware of extending support for Xamarin.Forms to "Universal Apps", but that will only reach a small % of the market. On the other hand, if they attempted to extend support to WPF (or XBAP), they would be able to reach ~90% of that pie.

Just some thoughts I had to throw out there and wanted to get some discussion around. :) Thanks in advance for any participation!

Posts

  • JasonAwbreyJasonAwbrey USInsider, University, Developer Group Leader mod

    Not to say there isn't some merit in this idea, but taking a UI designed for a mobile touch-enabled device and slapping it on a desktop app doesn't sound like a great idea. One of the first things you learn (or un-learn) when doing mobile development is that some of the concepts and standards from the desktop and web world don't translate well onto a small form-factor.

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭

    You don't have to tell me about this conundrum, Jason... I have Windows 8. ;)

    There is definitely a difference between workstation and devices. However, I am pretty sure that if designed properly, it should be possible to create different views/experiences based on the detected form factor. It is a challenge, but possible.... just like Xamarin.Forms. :D

    At the end of the day, what is important here is having a truly singular codebase/paradigm that the development team is working from.

  • KevinFordKevinFord USUniversity, Certified XTC Partners ✭✭✭

    It would seem the natural extension of Xamarin.Forms would be Windows Store Applications. They are the Windows equivalent of a iPad or Android Tablet app.

  • MitchMilamMitchMilam USMember ✭✭✭

    I agree with Kevin. Having a Surface version of an iPad app would be great in some cases. But only for tables versions. You probably would not want to scale a phone-layout app to the tablet size.

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭

    I am in accordance with what both of you have to say, actually. I would like to take it a step further and suggest that there is a "view profile" system to be built around this. Essentially, screens and elements are designed and created in a particular fashion, and then when Xamarin.Forms loads, it detects the form factor it is presenting on, and then displays the appropriate view profile.

    This is essentially how HTML5 applications are built these days, particularly with Bootstrap. I am suggesting that Xamarin.Forms incorporates the same sexy magic. :) This way, you could have Xamarin.Forms view profiles for:

    • Phones
    • Tablets
    • Desktops

    And each would load/display automagically. That way, all form factors win. Hope this makes sense!

  • MitchMilamMitchMilam USMember ✭✭✭

    For the moment you can use Device.Idiom to make the determination to what 'app' to show.

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭
    edited July 2014

    Well, correct. I am thinking more long-term, or next version. I hope someone from the Xamarin team sees this insert halo here.

    I have made a UserVoice vote for this as well. Please vote. :D

    http://xamarin.uservoice.com/forums/144858-xamarin-product-suggestions/suggestions/6128215-extend-xamarin-forms-to-other-form-factors-and-pla

  • rmarinhormarinho PTMember, Insider, Beta Xamurai

    hey guys how about the community helping make it possible, take a look here :

    https://github.com/jvlppm/xamarin-forms-wpf

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭
    edited July 2014

    WHAT!!!!!!!! Wow, haha. Well, that's encouraging.

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭
    edited July 2014

    Actually, this is pretty incredible. This means you can reach the desktop market in some fashion today using Xamarin.Forms. From what I understand, WPF can still run on Surface Pro tablets. It would be great to confirmation on this. If that is the case, then you can hit the following devices with Xamarin.Forms today:

    • Windows Phone 8.0+
    • Windows Desktop (XP/Windows 7/8+)
    • Windows Surface Pro Tablets
    • iOS
    • Android

    I'm in heaven. :D

    I do have one question, however, and part of my confusion is with this thread. The posts in this thread make it seem that Xamarin.Forms does not work on iPad or Android tablets... is that the case? The Xamarin.Forms webpage clearly says "Build native UIs for iOS, Android" ... but the form factors shown on the page are not tablets/iPads. Some clarification around this would be most appreciated for this newb. :) Thanks in advance!

  • JasonAwbreyJasonAwbrey USInsider, University, Developer Group Leader mod

    Yes, XF does work on tablets.

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭

    I don't say this often, but it is indeed very much the case here... my mind is blown. It is time to build some serious product!!!

  • Awesome, I was coming to suggest a project like this!

    Anyone know the status or played with this yet?

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭

    NO WAY!!! Is this for real??? :) And is this related to https://github.com/jvlppm/xamarin-forms-wpf or completely different? Looks like the pages are to unpublished CodePlex projects ATM.

  • DaanDaan NLMember, Beta

    it's an early beta. But it's for real.

    jvlppm had the same idea. Funny how that works.

    Have a look at: https://github.com/jonkeda/xamarin-forms-samples.git

    The TipCalc sample has a WPF project added to it.

    I'll do some of the others soon.

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭

    That is pretty awesome my man. Great work. Your tree looks superimpressive. And you got WinRT as well? Even more impressive. I am currently going through my framework refresh which is going through the services now. Once I am in the client tier I will definitely check out your tree, which should be even better by then. :D

    Xamarin should really get behind this, IMO. :) :) :) Thank you for doing this, @Daan‌!!!

  • DavidCarawayDavidCaraway USBeta ✭✭

    Have any of you looked at Mono.XWT? It is a cross-platfrom desktop UI that Xamarin created in the making of Xamarin Studio. I've begun using it to create desktop versions of my best selling iPad apps. It appears as if XWT might have been the inspiration for Xamarin.Forms. Prior to XF being announced I was planning on modifying XWT to add mobile platforms. This thread has me wondering if extending XF to the desktop might be easier accomplished by forking XWT and modifying the API to look more like XF? You could just add XF flavored backends to XWT. You see how casually I used the word "just" LOL. You basically have a fully functioning UI toolkit for Mac and Windows as your starting point.

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭

    Yeah that's a good thought, but it appears we already have movement that accounts for WPF and WinRT, which I believe accounts for all known desktop form factors (Windows Vista through Windows 8.1), not just a subset (Windows Vista-Windows 7). But don't let that stop you. :)

    Honestly (and personally) I think WinRT is a lost cause. I would rather develop a WPF solution and use ClickOnce to deploy on a WinRT machine. That way, I am still only having to account for one platform... but that's just my opinion before digging into the wonderful work that @Daan and co have done. :D

  • DavidCarawayDavidCaraway USBeta ✭✭

    Timing is everything in software development. If only XF came out a year earlier than it did. I just completed a real nice study guide app for both Windows and Mac using Mono.XWT. At some point I'll port over to XF....

  • MikeEEEMikeEEE USMember ✭✭✭

    Tell me about it. But at least it's here NOW... and it's only getting better... WAY better! Just think of where it will be in another year w/ Windows 10 and all. It will be awesome to see what announcements are made in //build, too. :)

    But yeah... I'm stoked. Xaml development is in suuuuuuuuch a better place than the years following Silverlight (it will be four years next month... WOW). We finally have direction again and that is really the greatest aspect here, even though we are working with the v1 technology. I also think with the advent of Windows 10 (and in general the cross-platform movement) that investments made into technologies now won't be so risky (especially with Xamarin.Forms with its incredible rendering system). So, there is always that.

  • FeiXuFeiXu USMember

    @Daan said:
    it's an early beta. But it's for real.

    jvlppm had the same idea. Funny how that works.

    Have a look at: https://github.com/jonkeda/xamarin-forms-samples.git

    The TipCalc sample has a WPF project added to it.

    I'll do some of the others soon.

    too bad that both projects seem abandoned, but I still think there is a need for xamarin.platform.wpf and xamarin.platform.gtk#3
    I'm evaluating eto.forms and xwt for win7 and linux, which is the only gap xamarin will not do. So if I need to choose one from either eto.forms or xwt, I would rather learn xamarin.forms.
    I head that xamarin will go open source after the acquisition by MS, it will be even easier to port to wpf or gtk#3

  • DaanDaan NLMember, Beta

    @Feixu

    I am planning to start up again when Xamarin opens .

    Trying to stay up to date with the Xamarin sources just wasn't doable.

  • tofutimtofutim USUniversity ✭✭

    any updates on this? hoping to see xf on wpf and osx

  • zezba9000zezba9000 USMember ✭✭

    Me too, I would be using this if it supported Windows (WPF), OSX (Cocoa) and Linux (GTK / QT ??).
    Although I think using pure D2D and GL for rendering is much more portable. Its odd MS doesn't pay the Xamarin team to make something like this.

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