Today is an exciting day – the release of Project Reunion 0.5 is the starting point for your ability to build and ship Windows apps at a much faster pace without waiting for the Windows OS to update with new features. In 0.5, our focus is very much on what we’ve heard from our developer community around making Desktop apps easy to build again. That’s why you’ll find down–level support to Windows 10 version 1809, the ability to use Project Reunion with a .NET 5 app, as well as WinUI 3 and WebView2 for modern, compatible UI development – all with production level support when using packaged apps! Project Reunion 0.5 is one of many important steps we’ll have on our journey to 1.0 this year and we can’t wait to work with all of you.
What does it mean to ship with Project Reunion?
When you build an app that uses Project Reunion, you get access to modern Windows technologies and new features, plus the best of existing Desktop (aka Win32) features. You will also be able to incrementally adopt these technologies and at a much faster pace since they are decoupled from the OS – that’s a big deal! You’ve told us that typically you have to wait for your users to update to the latest Windows OS before you can consider adopting the latest features and integrating them into your app. For some of you that could mean a 1-2 year delay in a new feature being available, you being able to adopt it, and users seeing it in apps. Now, you can take the latest Project Reunion release whenever you want to get the latest features and can feel confident that they’ll work for all your users on Windows 10 version 1809 – which is the current Enterprise LTSC – and newer.
In the 0.5 release, these features include MRTCore and DWriteCore – first shipped in our 0.1 preview release – but now with updates and full support. In addition, the 0.5 release brings the much–anticipated production version of WinUI 3 for Desktop apps, which also includes the WebView2 control.
The features we are releasing today ship as part of the Project Reunion framework package. You can think of this framework package as how we bring together all the parts of the Project Reunion family – like WinUI 3 for example, which is not directly in the Project Reunion GitHub repo – into one place for developers to use seamlessly.
When building an app with Project Reunion, you’ll start by downloading the Project Reunion Visual Studio Extension (VSIX). This provides WinUI 3 project and item templates and sets up your app to reference the Project Reunion package and any needed dependencies. Once you’ve created your new project, you‘re back in the Windows development zone you’re used to.
What’s supported in Project Reunion 0.5
Project Reunion 0.5 supports packaged apps, which uses MSIX as a deployment method. We know there is a lot of demand for unpackaged support as well, and we have that on the roadmap for preview releases that will be coming soon.
The most notable inclusion for the Project Reunion 0.5 release is WinUI 3, which is the dramatic expansion of the WinUI 2 controls library into a full-fledged, end-to-end, standalone UX framework. If you’re not already familiar with WinUI, you can learn all about it in our Overview documentation, along with our website.
The version of WinUI 3 that’s shipping with this release is the first version that’s suitable for production apps and is forward-compatible. With WinUI 3, you can now build Desktop apps that can be published to the Microsoft Store. There are currently two supported methods for creating a WinUI 3 app:
- Creating a brand new WinUI 3 Desktop app from scratch
- Migrating your existing Desktop apps to WinUI 3 by adding a new WinUI 3 project to your solution, and adjusting or refactoring your logic
Keep in mind that some of you may currently be using the WinUI 3 – Project Reunion 0.5 Preview, which has several additional features including support for building WinUI 3 UWP apps, and multi-window support in Desktop apps. You won’t be able to use these preview features or call any of their associated APIs in this new, stable version of WinUI 3. If you’d like to experiment with these features, you can still continue to use that preview release by staying with the preview VSIX. And, coming soon, you can use our 0.8 preview release as we’ll have release and preview builds side by side.
The team aims to put out regular previews (in between and alongside stable releases) for those of you who would like to be on the very cutting edge of our progress. Preview features will continuously be stabilized to ship as a part of future stable releases.
How to use Project Reunion 0.5
To start using Project Reunion, see Get started with Project Reunion to set up your development environment and learn more about the components included in this release. If you’re just looking for info on building a WinUI 3 app, start with the WinUI Overview and release notes article. Once you’re set up to start building your WinUI 3 app, take a look at our docs on Get started for WinUI 3 with Desktop apps and Building a basic WinUI 3 Desktop app.
If you find issues specific to developing with WinUI 3, please file an issue on the WinUI repo – and if you find any issues with other parts of Project Reunion 0.5, please file an issue on the Project Reunion repo – your feedback is incredibly valuable to us.
A growing ecosystem
We’re excited that the following ecosystem technologies are either already supporting or working on supporting Project Reunion 0.5. These technologies provide unique features and controls to supplement WinUI 3, and you can read more about each of them below.
- Actipro Software is migrating their vast UI control offerings over to WinUI 3, including their SyntaxEditor code editor, propertygrid, native type edit boxes, docking/MDI, charts, and more.
- DevExpress: DevExpress has released 20 new WinUI controls with Project Reunion 0.5 support, including the Data Grid, Scheduler, Charts, Ribbon Toolbar, and more. All 20 UI components are available free-of-charge.
- GrapeCity plans to bring their popular desktop UI controls to WinUI later this year! Learn more about their data connection service components for WinUI.
- Infragistics: Ultimate UI for WinUI brings business critical, high performing, and feature rich line of business controls to your apps that target any platform that runs Windows (including Windows on ARM64).
- Syncfusion: Updated their projects to Microsoft.ProjectReunion from Microsoft.WinUI following upgrade instructions. All their controls are working fine.
- Telerik UI for WinUI: the market first UI controls suite for crafting Win32 and UWP apps with WinUI 3, comes with feature-rich controls like Ribbon, DataGrid, Charts, Gauges, Barcode, and more.
- Uno Platform: Use WinUI 3 – Reunion 0.5, XAML and C# to build pixel-perfect, single-codebase, native applications that can run on Web, Desktop and Mobile. It is free, open-source and available today.
- Windows Community Toolkit (Microsoft): The WCT is currently working on supporting Project Reunion 0.5 in the near future. It provides tons of new controls and capabilities for use in your WinUI app. Check out their open source repo here.
Throughout the rest of this calendar year, more technologies will be coming to Project Reunion, such as: App Lifecycle for improved system performance and battery life, a modern Windowing system that combines the power of Win32 windowing with the ease of UWP, notifications support for both local and push scenarios, unpackaged app support and much more.
In the near term, we plan to release Project Reunion 0.8 in the next few months and Project Reunion 1.0 later this year, with a series of preview releases that will ship alongside these stable releases. WinUI 3 and other highly requested features – so get your issues and specs filed on the repo! – will be updated in each of these releases. For more details, check out the Project Reunion feature roadmap.
Staying in the loop
You can stay up to date with the team on the WinUI GitHub repo and the Project Reunion GitHub repo, and through our monthly WinUI Community Calls, and coming soon our Project Reunion community calls, where we often share roadmap updates and other exciting news.
We look forward to seeing the beautiful apps you create with Project Reunion 0.5 & WinUI 3!
Andrew Clinick on behalf of the Project Reunion Team