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The new release adds MAUI, Apple Silicon but no visual designer for WinUI 3.0

The second preview of Microsoft’s .NET 6 release is out this week. This new release adds support for Apple Silicon chips, and includes an implementation of .NET MAUI. This is an evolution of the Xamarin.Forms mobile-centric framework, and adds desktop app support.

But Microsoft also confirmed there will be no visual designer for WinUI 3.0 when it comes out in November this year. WinUI 3.0 is intended to be the primary official framework for Windows desktop applications.

Creating a single framework for multiple discrete platforms

Microsoft hopes that .NET 6 will complete their campaign to combine various different elements into one overriding framework. To this end, the company has used Xamarin.Forms/.NET MAUI code to combine iOS, Android and macOS support into the platform mix. They are also using Mac Catalyst to provide support for x64 and Apple Silicon M1 processors. The new .NET 6 will also support Windows Arm64.

Richard Lander, Program Manager of the .NET Team, detailed the new release preview in a blog post. “We’re now back to regularly scheduled monthly previews until the final release in November,” he stated.

“You will see new features included in each preview that deliver on .NET 6 themes, epics and user stories. These themes offer improvements to every .NET application, including for server/cloud, desktop, IoT and mobile.”

Wither WinUI 3?

Another Microsoft developer added a comment to Lander’s blog post, explaining that “adding Windows depends on WinUI 3 which is in its own preview now, and we will add it to .NET MAUI in a future preview. Those interested can consult the roadmap on GitHub, he said.

Lander appealed for feedback to help speed the .NET 6 release. “Please give .NET 6 Preview 2 a spin in your environment, in a container, a virtual machine or on a test machine,” he writes. “We want your feedback to help us improve these new features before we release the final version in November.”