Xamarin Is Being Discontinued: What Does It Mean for Developers? 

By: Tanya Kobzar

mobile development / IT news


Xamarin Is Being Discontinued: What Does It Mean for Developers?


The world of cross-platform app development is constantly evolving, and one recent change has sent shockwaves through the community. Microsoft has announced the end of support for Xamarin on May 1, 2024.


This statement has significant implications for developers who are using Xamarin for their projects. Without continued support for Xamarin, companies now have to start looking for alternative platforms to migrate their app to.


Why Microsoft Discontinued Xamarin


So what exactly is Xamarin, and why are people saying Xamarin is dead? Xamarin is a powerful cross-platform app development tool. It allows coders to create applications using a shared C# codebase that can be adjusted to fit multiple platforms iOS, Android, or Windows.


The decision to cease support for Xamarin development was not made on a whim. There were various reasons for Microsoft to have made this call.


First of all, due to differences in architecture between Xamarin and .NET Core, Microsoft is no longer focusing on Xamarin support and development. They’ll instead be leading the charge with their new platform incorporated using .NET, called MAUI (Multi-platform App UI). This will promote unification within the .NET ecosystem and ensure a higher level of compatibility within different Microsoft frameworks.


Moreover, Microsoft already has its hands full with managing competition against other frameworks. Now, they can shift their attention and resources towards MAUI as a competitor to these frameworks. It will help them streamline the app-development process and maintain a competitive edge. In this regard, they’ve also recently updated their documentation to describe how to migrate apps from Xamarin to .NET.


Still, the death of Xamarin cross-platform app development will profoundly affect the Microsoft developer community. Developers who once relied on Xamarin and Xamarin.Forms, no matter how imperfect they were, to make their apps will have to soon shift towards other platforms if they want to continue developing and maintaining their projects.


For some, it could be a problem, but for others, it could represent a new beginning in app development. MAUI could be the fresh start, as it represents a new generation of consolidated efforts from Microsoft in creating a framework that is a cut above the rest. At the same time, MAUI still has a lot of similarities with Xamarin, so it should be relatively easy for Xamarin developers to switch to the new framework.


The End of Xamarin & The Launch of .NET MAUI


Microsoft has been hard at work in the creation of a new cross-platform app development tool called .NET MAUI. This platform is expected to take the industry by storm and rival competition such as Flutter and React Native. It’s anticipated to become the new way to create rich, beautiful applications for any platform.


After its release was pushed back and many previews had passed, Microsoft finally made .NET MAUI available for Windows in August 2022 (November 2022 for macOS). Now, one year after its release, the way developers make apps has become a much smoother experience. With a single base class, they can now create scalable applications for iOS, Android, and Windows.


What Is .NET MAUI?


.NET MAUI is a framework for developing cross-platform applications, much like Flutter and React Native. It lets developers write code in a single language to run their applications across all platforms. To understand the need for it and how it works, let’s dive into its history and discover its origins.


Xamarin.Forms and Xamarin development was a difficult dance for .NET developers to handle, which is why its use wasn’t popular as far as frameworks go. The bigger the app, the higher the complexity, but for Xamarin app development this was especially true. Developers had to cross several hurdles and generate platform-specific code to run their apps.


It is why .NET MAUI was created, to solve the problems that Xamarin development had and to innovate and improve upon the old ways. However, .NET MAUI is not compatible with Xamarin — it is more of a new direction Microsoft is taking. While .NET MAUI hasn’t yet had the time to leave a large impact on developers, it still has a strong foundation in app development. Backed by Microsoft, it will certainly become a viable alternative to other frameworks.


What Is .NET MAUI’s Functionality in Comparison to Xamarin?


There are notable differences between the functionality of MAUI and Xamarin, which we’ll tackle below:

  1. Project architecture: Before, Xamarin kept and maintained many projects for each platform. It was done with individual files for each platform being under those projects. With .NET MAUI, there is a unified structure that uses a single codebase to run code on each platform. There is no need to keep platform-specific files (images, fonts, sounds), which are now put in one place.
  2. Code limitations: Xamarin uses Mono BCL (Base Class Library), which is slightly different than the .NET Framework BCL. This generates many limitations, as the code cannot be shared between the frameworks. .NET MAUI, on the other hand, makes it possible to create apps based on a single .NET BCL.
  3. Advanced features: As MAUI is now a part of .NET 6, you can now use several features that weren’t easily available. The most significant of these are nullable types, hot reloads, and image optimization. Xamarin did not have full support for hot reloading. It also didn’t have nullable types and needed separate images for different resolutions across platforms.
  4. Control customization. .NET MAUI makes control customization more convenient through the use of handlers. Handlers are easy to implement and allow to improve app performance.


What Are the Community & Businesses’ First Reactions to MAUI’s Release?


The release of MAUI was anticipated with curiosity and some level of reservation. The developers that used Xamarin were not satisfied by this announcement. And who can blame them? No one would be happy to have to re-learn and re-familiarize themselves with new tools that should’ve been provided ages ago.


However, a part of the community was excited. They felt they’d be getting a much-needed overhaul for Xamarin and a new tool for efficient cross-platform development. The biggest concerns people have are the presence of bugs and the performance level of the new platform.


The release was particularly good news for businesses as they can now leverage the unified .NET ecosystem within the development of their app. Additionally, a Xamarin app can still be migrated to MAUI, and businesses can even get a desktop app along with it. It ends up saving development time if you already did have an application in Xamarin. Moreover, MAUI is easily scalable in comparison to Xamarin.


Where Else Can You Migrate Your Xamarin App? Other Cross-Platform Tools for Mobile Development


A great number of frameworks exist to rival Xamarin, the most prominent of which are Flutter and React Native. Flutter, owned by Google, lets developers make lightweight and efficient applications quickly. Flutter uses widgets, which are intuitive and easy to use, to create attractive and user-friendly apps. Flutter also allows seamless integration with a wide variety of backend services.


React Native also provides similar features, but instead uses JavaScript and the React framework to achieve them. It is preferred by those already proficient in JS since there is no language barrier to cross and development can begin immediately. It has thus seen a huge rise in popularity and was even used to create Facebook and Instagram.


The competition is tough for Xamarin, or rather MAUI, to overcome. However, Microsoft has always managed to excel whenever they’ve been serious and could rival these frameworks given time and effort.




If there’s still some confusion, here are some frequently asked questions to help you get a better understanding of both Xamarin and MAUI.


What If My App Is on Xamarin?


If your app is still on Xamarin, it should continue to run till Microsoft ends its support, which will be on May 1, 2024. After that date, your app, much like any other project built using Xamarin, will no longer receive any bug fixes, revisions, or updates.


It’s also likely that your app will become obsolete and incompatible with current platforms as they move ahead. It will leave it open to security vulnerabilities and other issues. It is possible to upgrade from Xamarin to MAUI; the official Microsoft documentation mentions the entire procedure step-by-step.


What If I Don’t Move to MAUI?


You can instead look into other cross-platform development frameworks for your needs. However, you should know that MAUI’s designed to replace Xamarin in its entirety and is more of a complete overhaul rather than a brand-new framework. Nothing’s future-proof, but with Microsoft’s dedicated support, it should last a long time.


How to Move to MAUI, and How Much Will It Cost?


Migration to MAUI from Xamarin is described in its entirety within Microsoft’s official documentation. Essentially, you need to make sure your projects are SDK-style and update your dependencies to .NET 6+.


The cost depends on the size of your project and the team you’re working with. Some of the APIs that are currently used by your app may need additional configuration. MAUI’s usage itself is free, it’ll only cost time and effort to migrate to it.


Consider checking if your developers have the required expertise, talking to an expert like Diversido who has already completed such tasks, or hiring MAUI developers in-house.


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