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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:

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:

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!

8,057 votes
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      • Philippe Monteil commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Mike-EEE: as explained here: http://moduscreate.com/webassembly-explained/
        You will be able to initially compile source code in C/C++ into a binary representation of an AST tree. The binary version is what’s sent to the browser. No translation of source to binary is required on the browser side, saving a lot of start up time. The AST tree can be directly compiled into optimal machine code, be it x86 for computers or ARM for mobile devices. The implementation of this translator is much more straightforward than for an interpreted language like JavaScript and the resulting code will run quite a bit faster in practice.

        While C/C++ is the initial target language for WebAssembly, there is nothing that precludes implementation of virtually any language that compiles into the AST format.

        One of the clever things about WebAssembly is that it allows for the late binding (or linking) of several WebAssembly modules once downloaded into the browser. This means there can (and will) be an ecosystem of modules that you can mash together to create applications. The late binding functionality allows a C++ module to link with and call functions in a different C module. Or a C++ module can provide a function that can be called from a Java module (assuming a Java to AST compiler).

        JavaScript won’t be going away. Initially, shims will compile the AST modules into ASM.JS or plain old JavaScript. Even once WebAssembly is fully implemented in all the modern browsers, JavaScript will be required to support the countless existing websites that are written in, or depend on, JavaScript. The future will still be writing lots of websites in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

        From what one might glean from the WebAssembly documentation and my experience writing C++ around V8, the WebAssembly modules may or may not be running within the engine JavaScript context. Initially the only choice will be within the JavaScript environment, but the ultimate goal is to run alongside the JavaScript environment with ABI interfaces to call JavaScript from the WebAssembly context and to expose WebAssembly variables and methods to the JavaScript context.

        In fact, not only will the JavaScript engine be exposed to WebAssembly modules, but so will the DOM. This means you could, in theory, write whole web applications in C and/or C++ and/or other languages that compile into WebAssembly. Any module in one of the languages can trivially call a module in a different language.

      • Mike-EEE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Well @Philippe Monteil now you have me confused. :P I thought WASM was interfaced via JavaScript?

        What is adding to my confusion here is that the creator of JSIL (http://jsil.org) is working on the CIL component for that project here:

        This is something I have known about for a while now, but my impression was/is that WASM is all JavaScript, and therefore a transpilation strategy would be the best way to interface with it.

        Please educate us, good sir. :)

      • Philippe Monteil commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        @Mike-EEE: a brilliant article explaining the potentially huge impact WebAssembly might have on the web, and in our case on the appearance of a 'ubiquitous .Net client application model.
        BTW, with a technology like WASM in development by the major web browser providers, I am not sure that developing C# -> JS transpilers is still worth the effort, all the more since WASM
        will offer functionalities not available to JS, like a low level support for threading: https://github.com/WebAssembly/design/blob/master/PostMVP.md#threads, among others.

      • Daniil commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi Marc Roussel,

        Thank you very much for the feedback on Bridge! Any feedback is important to us.

        > I tried this simple thing and it doesn't even work.

        Is the test case valid? This piece looks wrong and throws a compilation error "Type expected" in a non-Bridge .NET environment:

        Person p = new () { Name = "Joe Blow"};

        If change to

        Person p = new Person() { Name = "Joe Blow"};

        the test case starts compiling and actually working. I added a "Window.Alert()" call for the sake of demonstration and here is a live working test case:

        > I looked at examples and I dislike the syntax not being like C#

        You might mean chaining in the jQuery demo? If so, then it is just the support of the jQuery library. Anyways, we would be happy to hear more detailed feedback what exactly you consider in Bridge demos not being C# syntax. Just to clarify - all the Bridge demos are written in C#.

        > LOL ... When a UserVoice thread becomes a product's tech support. ;)
        Agree. Mark, you are very welcome to the Bridge forums if you'd like to continue the discussion. Then we could just share forum thread links here for anybody who is interested.

      • Marc Roussel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        All we need is ONE language and the real .NET one please and ONE WEB APP running everywhere. This is what Silverlight was doing so well. We also need something else along that line. We dislike writing HTML by hand for UI thus a need for a great Blend tool to design our interface and having this nice double click action to go right in the C# event code and write the code. I think you see what I mean!

      • Mike-EEE commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        LOL @Marc Roussel! When a UserVoice thread becomes a product's tech support. ;) Marc, that looks like C# to me, albeit terribly formatted. Are you concerned about the [Ready] attribute?

        In any case, I am very appreciative of Bridge.NET supporting this cause and for sharing their project here and for the dialogue that has transpired here. @Philippe Monteil, that link is fantastic. Thank you. Easily the best article I have seen on WebAssembly to date.

        In any case, as the Developers Win! link below outlines, the Xamarin deal should take care of everything but the web. There indeed needs to be a solid pathway or, well, Bridge :) to get .NET into HTML5 browser-hosted scenarios via clever transpilation of JavaScript-to-.NET. It's a complex problem. JSIL.org has been at it for about 4 years now. It might involve multiple teams and technologies (like WebAssembly) to do it.

        The important and key part is to nicely integrate it with all the new stuff that MSFT/Xamarin are doing so that we are all one, big, synchronous, happy .NET family again. :) :) :)

        Once we have this solved it is going to be a golden -- nay, DIAMOND! -- era in Microsoft and .NET history, I dare do say!

      • Marc Roussel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Bridge ? I just tried this and it's not even close to C# at all. I tried this simple thing and it doesn't even work. I looked at examples and I dislike the syntax not being like C#

        public class App
        public static void Main()
        Person p = new () { Name = "Joe Blow"};

        public class Person
        public string Name {get; set;}
        public List<string> Compagnies {get; set;}

      • Daniil commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Bridge.NET team is working on the .NET-to-JavaScript transpilation and other parts which is going to help a lot with the ultimate goal. The goal that we absolutely support. Being open source Bridge.NET is initially meant to help the .NET Community in those ways. Your feedback on our project is greatly appreciated.

      • Philippe Monteil commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        The WebAssembly project:
        will make possible one day or another to run .Net code in a browser, give it access to the same API as JS, including WebGL.

        The combination of WASM and WebGL will then offer the resources to implement an XAML like vector-based UI engine able to inject UI blocks in a web page...

      • Julian 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-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! 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:

        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 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.

      • RWalrond 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. 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 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.

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