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November 17, 2020

Announcing WinUI 3: Preview 3

If you tuned in to this morning’s App Development Community Standup, you know that today we released WinUI 3 Preview 3. If you want to skip the summary and head straight to the release notes and installation instructions, you can find those here.

New Features

The team has been hard at work on Preview 3 since the release of Preview 2 back in July. Countless bug fixes, exciting new capabilities, and improvements on existing capabilities will hopefully make this a great Preview for you all to try out. Here are some highlights from Preview 3 that are new since Preview 2:

  • ARM64 Support
  • Drag and drop inside and outside of apps
  • RenderTargetBitmap (only XAML content for now – SwapChainPanel content will be captured later)
  • Improvements to our tooling/developer experience:
    • Live Visual Tree, Hot Reload, Live Property Explorer and similar tools
    • Intellisense now working for WinUI 3
  • MRT Core Integration – making apps faster and lighter on startup and providing quicker resource lookup
  • Custom cursor support
  • Off-thread input APIs

These changes continue to advance the capabilities of WinUI 3 for supporting heavy-duty, complex apps.  Your feedback has been vital to the advancement of this platform, so please keep that coming!  Let us know if you encounter bugs, what you wish worked differently, and what you’d like to see in the future by opening an issue on our GitHub repo. I’m also looking forward to hearing all of your questions about Preview 3 on our upcoming December Community Call, which will be held on 12/16.

Since this is a preview release, the usual caveats apply: you may still encounter some bumps in the road while using it. Please refer to the list of known issues and limitations for tips.

Using WinUI 3 Preview 3

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. There are also a few sample apps you can look through: the WinUI 3 version of the XAML Controls Gallery where you can interact directly with all of the included controls, as well as the sample apps that you may have seen demo’ed at Build or Ignite – they’ve been updated to use Preview 3, and you can find them here.

We recommend creating new projects when using WinUI 3 Preview 3. The process of upgrading an app from Preview 2 to Preview 3 can quickly become tricky and complicated. However, if you’ve been working hard on a large-scale app with Preview 2 and don’t want to create new project files, we do have a list of upgrade steps that you can use as guidance.

What’s Next

Updates on post-Preview 3 planning and features will be posted on our WinUI 3 feature roadmap. Until then, you can always stay up-to-date with the WinUI team on Twitter and GitHub. Thanks for trying out Preview 3 and supporting WinUI – can’t wait to hear what you all think!

Ana Wishnoff
Program Manager for WinUI

You can find me on…
Github: @anawishnoff
Twitter: @ana_wishnoff