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Scott Kuhl Warning: I may have no idea what I am talking about!

Most of this post is in response to Mary Jo Foley's recent article Microsoft to Developers: .NET Support Isn't Going Away.  In particular the following statement: "The not-so-secret fact is most of the Windows Store apps that have been built to date were built with C#."

I spoke with Paul Gusmorino at the Build Conference this year.  He is the principal program manager for both WinJS and XAML.  He was with one of the developers who built the new mail application in Windows 8, but I can't remember his name.  (sorry)

They told us that most of the Microsoft applications in the Windows Store were build on WinJS and I took that at face value.  Mary Jo has heard that most of them are build in XAML.  So I'm not sure what the real story is there.

The other thing I was told was the direction of the two groups, WinJS and XAML, is starting to split.  The WinJS guys are trying to target developers who want to build unique, branded experiences and the XAML guys are targeting businesses and developers trying to build more standard applications that follow the Microsoft guidance and development templates.

I can understand the WinJS logic having worked in both corporate environments and on public web sites and apps.  JavaScript designers for consumer facing is a much larger group than XAML.  But I have met a lot more Microsoft corporate developers doing ASP.NET than XAML, so I can also understand why Microsoft was pushing the WinJS side hard.  Not to mention just trying to win over all the other JavaScript people out these who don't want to learn Objective C, Java or C# that use things like PhoneGap.  Imagine getting them to create fully native solutions for Windows that outshine the generic solutions for other platforms.  At least that was the hope.

Personally, I have found that XAML is not difficult but the XAML templates and guidance for Windows 8 was not good enough.  The XAML guidance and template in Windows 8.1 has gotten much better and easier to follow.  For someone starting from scratch, learning the XAML road is easier.   

As an ASP.NET guy, I wish there was a better developer story to build the front end in JavaScript and business logic in C#, because to do so you need to create WinRT Components.  Right now you run into an interesting problem.  JavaScript apps do not support Portable Class Libraries and Windows Phone Apps don't support WinRT Components.

Microsoft still has some work to do bringing these two platforms into parity for developers and we need to get to the point where the WinJS and XAML groups are in sync, and both can be used on both platforms.  But today targeting Microsoft platforms, you will write the least amount of code going XAML.  And targeting all platforms, Xamarin is an excellent choice to natively extend your reach.

Posted on Thursday, August 8, 2013 6:44 AM | Back to top

Comments on this post: The Future of WinJS and XAML

# re: The Future of WinJS and XAML
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I know this is a rater old post but I happen across in during a search. In the case of sharing logic written in C# you could write it as a full C# class or a PCL, either way and then write a shim as a C# WinRT component. You can now access that compiled C# code in WP8, WinJS and C#/XAML. This is how I am sharing logic on a project today.
Left by Jason Agostoni on Mar 05, 2014 1:30 PM

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