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Create a Ubiquitous .NET Client Application Development Model

This vote is for developers who wish to see the idea of a ubiquitous .NET client application development model created by Microsoft and the Visual Studio team.

A ubiquitous .NET client application development model is a model that is defined in .NET-based technologies and is able to run in a multitude of runtime environments -- both native-compiled (store-hosted) and web-hosted.

A *very* rough image of the vision can be found here:
http://i0.wp.com/blog.developers.win/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Vision.png

The goal is to enable *one* .NET Client Application Project to build deliverables for the following platforms:
1) Windows 10
2) Legacy Windows
3) *nix (Unix/Linux)
4) Droid
5) iOS
6) Macintosh
7) HTML5
8) ??? (Extendible to different, future platforms)

In order to achieve the above, a ubiquitous .NET client application development model should strive to possess the following qualities:
1) Native Cross-Platform Capable - For native-compiled/store-hosted scenarios (iOS/Droid/Windows Store)
2) HTML5-Compliant - For web-hosted scenarios, via .NET-to-JavaScript transpilation
3) Consistent User Experience - For brand recognition, reinforcement, and optimal usability across all known scenarios
4) Cross-Boundary Accessibility - For shared code/assemblies between server and client boundaries
5) Xaml-Powered - Harnessing one of the greatest inventions in Microsoft's great history
6) Object Serialization Congruence - Markup used to describe serialized objects is what is created in memory
7) Holistic Development Consistency - The same guidelines and conventions are used in both client and server scenarios

For more information around this idea and the qualities above, a series of articles has been created to discuss the notion of a ubiquitous .NET client application development model at length. You can view that series here:
http://blog.developers.win/series/bridge-to-dotnet-ubiquity/

Finally, this is intended to be a starting point for discussion, and not a final solution. THAT is meant for the experts there at Microsoft. :) Thank you for any support, dialogue, and feedback around this idea!

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    Developers Win!Developers Win! shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    324 comments

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      • JulianJulian commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I always liked the concept and promise shown by the Fayde project (created by Brad Sickles) - "Inspired by Silverlight; XAML engine using Javascript and rendering to the HTML5 Canvas." A

        A lot of it is written in Typescript, so would lend itself to a C#/Typescript transpiler. Importantly, you get XAML vector-based graphics running plug-in free in the browser.

        Repo here --> https://github.com/wsick/Fayde
        Blog here --> http://faydeproject.blogspot.com.au/?view=magazine

        Now if only MS would put their weight behind a project like that. Until then its C# on server, Typescript on web for me.

      • Mike-EEEMike-EEE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Exactly Scott... this definitely bodes well for our cause here. However, if only iOS and Droid are accounted for, and not browser-hosted scenarios, then NodeJS will still have a competitive, cost-effective advantage. It would be great to see the new Xamarin integration yield a new client application model that is based on a stronger Xaml offering (like WPF, NOT like UWP) and can compile/transpile for the big four: iOS/Droid/Windows and Web. :)

      • Developers Win!Developers Win! commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It seems as if this idea/suggestion has been marked as Under Review. First off, an INCREDIBLE amount of appreciation and respect -- and, well, LOVE -- goes out to the Visual Studio team for recognizing this issue and for their willingness to take a deeper look into it. It really means a lot to your developers who have struggled for so long without a viable .NET client model since the days of Silverlight, and are looking to leverage their countless hours and dollars of investment into .NET by way of a powerful, cross-platform, and ubiquitous solution.

        It is also great to see that you will review a possible counter to combat the market/business/existential threat posed by NodeJS. As you know, NodeJS has started to pull organizations and developers away from .NET, as it can be utilized in a cross-platform fashion, enabling solutions for browser-hosted, native/store-hosted (via Cordova), and server-hosted scenarios.

        Additionally, if anyone is interested, more thoughts around this update have been chronicled here:
        http://blog.developers.win/2016/02/for-your-review-we-are-under-review/

        Although this is simply a status change to "Under Review," this has surpassed any expectation held when this vote was created a little over four months ago. Thank you again SO MUCH for your consideration and support to everyone involved!

      • Aaron HuangAaron Huang commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It's time for Microsoft to give us an official and clear answer for all similar topics and open the roadmap so that we can decide to stay with .Net or jump to other boats.

      • RWalrondRWalrond commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        There has been a lot of talk about the new Microsoft. As a developer all I see is the new Microsoft trying to court App developers that don't give 2 sht's about Microsoft. What about your loyal developer who wants to use your tools and develop for your platform. Shouldn't we also have the chance to put our apps on other platforms? I support this movement 1000% and encourage other developers to stop making excuses for the largest software company in the world and call them out on this.

      • Roger J. WilcoRoger J. Wilco commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Too big and far away? Cooments like that are exactly why we are in the mess we are in today. Did they say that with WPF? Or Azure? How about VS online? That took FOREVER to turn around but they have a great product now. Passion and vision is sorely lacking from MS it's probably dissenters are former employees trying to knock down the confidence of the giant trying to get back on its feet.

        Also, Xamarin is good, but as the links below show it doesn't support web like NodeJS. Very important or we all going to be Node developers in a few years and C# will be nothing but a relic.

      • Aaron HuangAaron Huang commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This plan is too big and too far away.
        Build a cross-platform .net CLR for android and iOS firstly, just like what Xamarin did, It looks MS's .Net Core is on the way, but sadly the UI components (WPF) did not listed in their roadmap till now.

      • Mike-EEEMike-EEE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Excuse me, I used the wrong page in regards to NetMarketshare below. That was for the year of 2015. Here is the latest from last month. Google is actually @ 57%+:
        http://www.netmarketshare.com/report.aspx?qprid=8&qptimeframe=M&qpsp=203&qpch=350&qpmr=100&qpdt=1&qpct=3&qpcustomd=1&qpcid=fw823129&qpf=1

        Additionally, Apple announced 1B active devices today:
        http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/26/10835748/apple-devices-active-1-billion-iphone-ipad-ios

        They include Macs in this 1B active, which are technically desktops/workstations, another report provided by Netmarketshare. According to a graph found in this article, Macs comprise about 5% of sales:
        http://www.theverge.com/2016/1/26/10828134/apple-earnings-report-first-quarter-q1-2016-record-profit

        So with some extrapolation (I really should make this a blog post, LOL), we can figure the entire device market at present with the given statistics: 1B (total active devices) - 5% (Macs) / 35.43% (share as of Netmarketshare report December 2015 above).

        That brings the device market (based on my calculations) to 2.6B at present. Again, that does not include desktop/workstation which is its own ball of wax.

        I like to talk about this as it really underscores the market we as developers are living in, and gives us more facts/details about the business problem at hand. Hopefully it helps someone out there and provides a little more context around this problem space. Please also feel free to correct my understanding, as always. :)

      • Mike-EEEMike-EEE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Johann, thanks for your input. You are correct that Android/iOS has a great deal of marketshare.

        In total, based off Xamarin's 2014 keynote, there are about 3 billion total devices in the marketplace, half of which are devices (phones/tablets). That is about 1.5B iOS/Droid devices. This might be escaping a lot of people, but Google does appear to be winning the device market overall, currently with 51%+ of the total device market:
        http://www.netmarketshare.com/report.aspx?qprid=8&qptimeframe=M&qpsp=192&qpnp=12&qpch=350&qpmr=100&qpdt=1&qpct=3&qpcustomd=1&qpcid=fw8718&qpf=1

        Even if Windows 10 reaches 1B installs by 2018 (and it should, Windows 10 is pretty awesome), that still leaves 2-2.5B devices outstanding that a UWP-based application simply will not be able to reach, meaning a developer/organization will have to create additional code bases to reach the remaining market. Here is a graph that really illustrates what this will conceivably look like in 2018:
        http://i0.wp.com/blog.developers.win/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/20150923021143.png

        Hopefully what stands out in this graphic is that HTML5 reaches everything (all 3-3.5B devices), so its importance is truly critical in this effort. For full market reach that truly, effectively, and efficiently reaches all known, modern devices (or rather, to be truly ubiquitous), an application will need (at least) four code bases for the Big Four platforms: iOS, Droid, Windows, and web.

        Thanks again for your input and support. Please share the news/idea. :)

      • Johann DirryJohann Dirry commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This one is really important for devs and also for Microsoft.

        Currently, Android and iOS has ss much market share, that project managers and developers target only them and skip Windows completely.

        What Microsoft needs is to offer devs a solution that enables developers to develop for Windows first and still be able to sell their stuff to the Android and iOS users.

      • Developers Win!Developers Win! commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Thank you for your support, Phil. Please feel free to share this vote with as many of your friends as you can. This vote has recently passed 1,500 votes after 16 weeks of existence, and there is nothing but appreciation and respect for the support it has fostered so far. It is tied closely to another hot vote on Visual Studio's board and you are encouraged to support that as well:
        http://visualstudio.uservoice.com/forums/121579-visual-studio-2015/suggestions/8912350-bring-windows-10-universal-apps-to-android-and-ios

        These two votes along with five others currently account for over 22,600 votes which you can see in detail via a weekly report, the latest of which you can see here:
        http://blog.developers.win/2016/01/weekly-vote-report-for-friday-january-22-2016/

        You can indeed see (the now defunct) Silverlight 6 vote counted among the totals. Silverlight is considered to be an unsuccessful attempt at a ubiquitous .NET client application development model offering. To be more exact, it was an attempt to bring WPF into a browser window. The problem with the approach that was taken was that it required a plugin/install on the user's machine to successfully load and view it. This is considered unoptimal is users consider it invasive and cumbersome to have to install yet another program on their machine to do a simple task as viewing a web page. Correspondingly, you see this shift and expectation with the HTML5 web standards, where everything is done via JavaScript and HTML5.

        What separates this idea from Silverlight is that although they both allow a MSFT-designed (and therefore superior) client model to be rendered within a web browser, this approach suggests to *transpile* the client model and supporting artifacts into JavaScript and HTML5-compliant deliverables at the project's compile time, rather than requiring an inconvenient required plugin and/or install at load time when the page is initially loaded on the user's machine.

        By using this strategy, the model is the preserved as designed, and is output as 100% HTML5-compliant packaging that can be hosted on any web-accessible server. Consequently, since the client model is preserved as such (before any transpilation, that is), it can also be then compiled and packaged for other platforms, such as iOS, Droid, and of course Windows Store.

        That enables developers and organizations to use one code base to deploy to four (or more) platforms instead of these same organizations having to develop and maintain four code bases for four platforms (iOS, Droid, Windows, and web) as they are having to do now -- which is obviously incredibly expensive and prohibitive to do so.

        Hopefully that explains the difference to you and others who are engaged in this incredible dialogue that has been going on for about a quarter of a year now.

        Along such note, a moment should be taken here to give appreciation and respect to the Visual Studio team for its diligence and willingness towards enabling open dialogue here on this UserVoice forum. Even when there are critical comments towards Visual Studio and/or MSFT in posts or comments, they allow these comments to sit and exist as critical feedback. Unfortunately, this has not been the case in other MSFT UserVoice forums and has been greatly disappointing and obviously a hindrance towards any meaningful change/progress towards important ideals.

        This really goes to show the difference in management and philosophies between groups, and showcases why the Visual Studio group along with the Azure group represent the best that MSFT has to offer, and should be recognized as such.

        Thank you for your dedication to excellence and developer engagement, Visual Studio team!

      • Phil KoayPhil Koay commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I am a big supporter of this idea. I so hope this is the highest thing on Microsoft's agenda.

        However,Is this similar to what Silverlight was mean to achieve? If it is similar, are the reasons they killed silverlight the same reasons that they might not tackle this idea?

      • RodRod commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I agree - is time to start pushing MS tech to the rest of the boys

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        i dont care about all the web technology stuff.

        but i would love an updated silverlight runtime that allows me to run uwp apps on a mac and under ios!!

      • Developers Win!Developers Win! commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Erich, thank you for the link. As you probably know, Xamarin doesn't allow for transpilation to HTML5/JavaScript/web artifacts, which is a fundamental ask for this idea/suggestion. As it stands, JavaScript and .NET are two incompatible languages, and developers/organizations are switching to nodejs as they can share code (saving money and time) between server and client for both web-hosted and native (via Cordova) development.

        This simply is not possible with .NET at the moment, which is what this idea/suggestion is precisely about. Your support around this idea is greatly appreciated! Thank you for the continued dialogue and thoughts.

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